Malabar spinach leaf. Leafy green vegetable.

Spinach: 17 Health benefits of the versatile leafy food

Spinach is probably the most popular leafy green vegetable eaten by persons who grew up watching Popeye the Sailor Man. The assurance to become strong and muscular made every bitter bite worth it. Packed with vitamins and nutrients, it is one of the most versatile leafy green vegetables.

Consuming it raw is the best way to obtain its health benefits so people eat it as fresh salad or blended in a smoothie. They cook rice mixed with spinach, bake spinach and cheese crackers, and steam or sauté it with mixed vegetables.

Research shows that the nutritious contents of spinach is indeed beneficial to health. According to Healthline, it consists of water, calories, protein, carbs, sugar, fibre, fat, vitamins A, C, K1, B6, B9 and E, folic acid, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, lutein, kaempferol, nitrates, quercetin and zeaxanthin. These elements make spinach a super food that prevents and manages several ailments.

They should also be consumed in limited amounts to avoid side effects. Here are 17 health benefits of spinach that will make you add the useful leafy green vegetable to your daily diet.

17 health benefits of spinach

Malabar spinach leaves. Leafy green vegetable.
Malabar spinach offers the same benefits as regular spinach.

1. Reduces blood pressure levels

The high amounts of nitrates in spinach help to moderate blood pressure levels. People suffering from hypertension consume the leafy vegetable daily as part of their healthy diet plan. However, if people are using blood-thinning medication, it is advised that they seek medical advice from a doctor since the high amounts of vitamin K1 in the leaves can be a problem.

Malabar Spinach, Green Stem

Malabar Spinach, Green Stem

Fast-growing vine with ornamental and culinary qualities. Malabar Spinach or Basella alba is a vigorous climbing Asian vine, and will flourish in heat and humidity. The glossy, thick leaves look like spinach but with mild Swiss chard-like taste. Use the edible fresh leaves in salads or stir-fries. Malabar spinach is a fast-growing vine that has both ornamental and culinary qualities. A native of India, Malabar Spinach is a evergreen tender herb with densely twining, rambling stems will become thick and often require management to keep them in shape.

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2. Manages diabetes

Spinach is ideal for managing blood sugar levels because it is a rich source of fibre. A person with diabetes must have less carbohydrates on a plate to avoid spikes in their blood sugar levels. However, a small portion of rice, potato, pasta or bread can leave you hungrier than ever. Adding 8 to 10 leaves of the super food to meals will satisfy you because fibre takes a while to digest.

3. Boosts hydration

Spinach contains 91 percent water which contributes to keeping hydrated. Water is beneficial for aiding digestion, carrying nutrients and oxygen to your cells, flushing bacteria from your bladder, cushioning joints, protecting organs and tissues, stabilising the heartbeat and much more. Eating spinach daily will add to your water intake to keep you hydrated.

Malabar Spinach, Red Stem

Malabar Spinach, Red Stem

Climbing Asian vine that loves the summer and will flourish in heat and humidity.Malabar Spinach or Bassela alba is a vigorous climbing Asian vine, loves the summer and will flourish in heat and humidity. The glossy, thick leaves look like spinach but with mild Swiss chard-like taste. Use the edible fresh leaves in salads or stir-fries. Red vine Malabar spinach is a fast-growing vine that has both ornamental and culinary qualities.

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4. Prevents constipation

The water, fibre and magnesium in spinach assist in helping things move along in your colon. Constipation is caused by dehydration, stress, lack of fibre in your diet and consuming too much dairy. This leafy food helps to hydrate your body, prevent anxiety and increase the weight, size and softness of your stool to make it easier to pass through your colon.

5. Supports pregnancy

Folate, folic acid or vitamin B9 which is contained in spinach plays a vital role in the development of a fetus within the first 3 to 4 weeks in the womb. Women are advised to consume foods or supplements that contain folic acid long before they get pregnant. This element can help prevent birth defects known as neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. Women who consume the super food daily have nothing to worry about by the time they find out they are pregnant.

Spinach, Space Hybrid

Spinach, Space Hybrid

Smooth Leaved Three Season Spinach Vigorous, fine tasting salad and boiling spinachCooks Garden Favorite. Hybrid. This is a true three season spinach: heat tolerant and slow bolting, yet also resistant to the mildew that makes fall spinach so chancy. Quick growing — ready in 40 days or less. Upright habit with smooth, rounded dark green leaves. High nutrition crop that freezes well, blanched and packed in airtight bags.

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6. Boosts immune system

The leafy green vegetable is rich with compounds that help to boost your immune system. Vitamins A, C and E, antioxidants and beta carotene play a vital role in fighting off infections and replenishing your blood cells. To enjoy the benefits of these nutrients, it is best to consume the leaves as fresh salad, in a smoothie or with very little cooking.

7. Reduces inflammation

The anti-inflammatory effects of spinach make it the most popular super food for fighting infections. The compound lutein, a nutrient found in several highly coloured vegetables and fruits, can suppress inflammation, according to a new study. People who consume the leaves daily lower the risks of conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, heart diseases and skin.

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8. Manages asthma symptoms

Consuming spinach daily allows you to load up on anti-inflammatory properties, magnesium sulphate and vitamin A that help with better lung function. People with asthma experience wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and coughing. These symptoms may occur due to being allergic to triggers in the environment. Doctors recommend a diet that includes this leafy food for people with asthma.

9. Improves heart health

Since chronic inflammation increases the risk of a heart attack, eating spinach daily supports heart health. Lutein which is found in spinach suppresses inflammation so making changes to your diet and adding the leafy green food to meals lowers your risk of heart problems.

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10. Gives healthy skin

The water and vitamins in spinach are beneficial to skin health. Water is vital for preventing dry and flaky skin while reducing the cause of wrinkles. Vitamin A has an antioxidant activity that has anti-aging benefits. Vitamin C repairs skin cells and enhances radiance in skin. Vitamin K reduces skin inflammation and enhances blood circulation which prevents under-eye circles. However, consuming too much of this super food or using too much topically can cause breakouts on your skin.

11. Helps grow hair

Spinach has all the nutrients that promote hair growth. Folate, iron, and vitamins A and C nourish and moisturise the scalp to make hair grow stronger, longer and thicker. Consuming it as a salad, having it as a beverage and making recipes with it can help you to prevent hair loss or repair damaged hair.

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12. Promotes strong bones

The high contents of oxolate in spinach strengthen your bones and help to prevent osteoporosis which causes the bones to become weak and brittle. Having weak bones is caused by low calcium intake, being underweight and having surgery that makes you lose a lot of weight and at the same time the nutrients like calcium in your body. Consuming spinach contributes greatly to restoring bone health.

13. Strengthens eyes

Spinach contains the carotenoids that lower the risk of developing macular degeneration and cataracts that cause blindness. You can boost your eye health with spinach as it contains zeaxanthin and lutein. According to Dr Stephen Pratt, ophthalmologist and author of SuperFoods HealthStyle, these nutrients in spinach function like an internal pair of sunglasses, thereby increasing the SPF (sun protective factor) of the eye.”

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14. Cuts risk of iron deficiency

Spinach is a source of iron than can help cut the risk of iron deficiency in the body. The iron content in spinach is not as high as kale and other iron rich foods, but it can be eaten in combination with them to absorb more iron and to gain the benefits of the vitamins and nutrients in the green super food.

15. Prevents cancer

Spinach contains lutein, zeaxanthin and carotenoids which are properties that guard against cancer. According to WebMd, they remove unstable molecules called free radicals from your body before they damage it. Studies show that consuming the super food reduces risk of cervix and prostate cancer.

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16. Supports brain health

The antioxidants like vitamin A, lutein and carotene in spinach may delay aging-related brain damage according to a study. HealthHarvard states that spinach is rich in brain-healthy nutrients like vitamin K, lutein, folate, and beta carotene. Research suggests that it may help slow cognitive decline. Adding the leafy green vegetable to your diet can contribute to maintaining your intelligence.

17. Curbs appetite

Consuming spinach with meals helps to curb appetite and prevent weight gain that can worsen with underlying conditions. People with stress, diabetes, depression, a low self-esteem, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, Hypothyroidism and Crushing’s syndrome struggle with keeping off the pounds due to medical reasons that require drastic lifestyle changes for improvement. The high fibre content in spinach takes a while to digest and allows your stomach to feel full for a longer period. This helps to prevent overeating and excessive weight gain.

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