Ingredients and Uses
Stylecraze

Spinach Nutrition: 10 Powerful Benefits Of This Green Veggie

by
Spinach Nutrition: 10 Powerful Benefits Of This Green Veggie Hyderabd040-395603080 September 24, 2019

Spinach is a superfood. The leaves are replete with essential vitamins and minerals and other powerful antioxidants. The leafy green vegetable fights oxidative damage and associated ailments. It also helps combat cancer and may lower blood sugar levels (1).

In this post, we will explore the varied nutritional profile of spinach and its incredible benefits.

What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Spinach?

The most abundant nutrients in spinach include vitamins A, C, K1, and iron, folic acid, and calcium. It also contains potent antioxidants, including lutein, zeaxanthin, and quercetin.

The following table will give you more insight into the nutrition profile of the leafy veggie.

Source: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference 1 April 2018 Software v.3.9.5.3_2019-06-13
Nutrient data for: Spinach, raw
NutrientUnit1Value per 100 g1 cup = 30.0g1 bunch = 340.0g1 leaf = 10.0g1 package (10 oz) = 284.0g
Waterg91.427.42310.769.14259.58
Energykcal23778265
Proteing2.860.869.720.298.12
Total lipid (fat)g0.390.121.330.041.11
Carbohydrate, by differenceg3.631.0912.340.3610.31
Fiber, total dietaryg2.20.77.50.26.2
Sugars, totalg0.420.131.430.041.19
Minerals
Calcium, Camg993033710281
Iron, Femg2.710.819.210.277.7
Magnesium, Mgmg79242698224
Phosphorus, Pmg49151675139
Potassium, Kmg5581671897561585
Sodium, Namg79242698224
Zinc, Znmg0.530.161.80.051.51
Vitamins
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acidmg28.18.495.52.879.8
Thiaminmg0.0780.0230.2650.0080.222
Riboflavinmg0.1890.0570.6430.0190.537
Niacinmg0.7240.2172.4620.0722.056
Vitamin B-6mg0.1950.0590.6630.020.554
Folate, DFEµg1945866019551
Vitamin B-12µg00000
Vitamin A, RAEµg4691411595471332
Vitamin A, IUIU937728133188293826631
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)mg2.030.616.90.25.77
Vitamin D (D2 + D3)µg00000
Vitamin DIU00000
Vitamin K (phylloquinone)µg482.9144.91641.948.31371.4
Lipids
Fatty acids, total saturatedg0.0630.0190.2140.0060.179
Fatty acids, total monounsaturatedg0.010.0030.0340.0010.028
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturatedg0.1650.050.5610.0170.469

Source: United States Department of Agriculture, National Nutrient Database, spinach, raw

These potent nutrients work in synergy to offer the many benefits of spinach. We will discuss them at length in the following section.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Spinach?

Spinach is full of carotenoids that fight oxidative stress and cancer. The fiber it contains also promotes satiety and may help manage diabetes. Calcium promotes bone health, and lutein and zeaxanthin improve vision.

1. May Help Fight Cancer

May Help Fight Cancer Pinit

Shutterstock

The glycoglycerolipids in spinach have been found to help prevent cancer. They can achieve this by inhibiting tumor growth (2).

The vitamin A in spinach can also cut the risk of breast cancer. Eating spinach (or carrots, which are also rich in vitamin A) more than twice a week has been linked to a modest decrease in breast cancer risk (3).

Spinach is a cruciferous vegetable. Studies show that cruciferous veggies can play an important role in cancer prevention. These veggies are rich in carotenoids (like lutein and zeaxanthin) that may aid cancer treatment (4).

Cruciferous veggies also release indoles (upon preparation), which inactivate carcinogens and fight inflammation (4).

2. May Aid Diabetes Treatment

Spinach promotes satiety, thereby reducing postprandial glucose responses. This was attributed to the high fiber and water content in the vegetable (5).

Spinach also contains nitrates. These compounds were found to help prevent insulin resistance. They can also relieve inflammation, a primary risk factor for diabetes (6).

Another reason spinach can be a part of an anti-diabetic diet is its low carb count. Compared to starchy veggies, spinach is a non-starchy vegetable with a low carb count (7).

3. Helps Regulate Blood Pressure Levels

The nitrates in spinach deserve the credit. These compounds improve endothelial function, thereby lowering blood pressure levels (8).

Spinach nitrates can also relieve arterial stiffness, which can lead to high blood pressure levels (9).

Spinach leaf proteins were found to relieve hypertension (10).

The magnesium in the vegetable also regulates blood pressure levels. This mineral relaxes and widens the blood vessels, thereby allowing the blood to flow easily (11).

4. Boosts Vision Health

Boosts Vision Health Pinit

Shutterstock

Spinach contains two important antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin, which have been extensively studied for their vision-promoting effects. These compounds fight reactive oxygen species and cut the risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (12).

In another study, regular intake of spinach increased macular pigment optical density (13).

5. Can Strengthen Bones 

Spinach can maximize bone health. It is rich in vitamin K and calcium, two nutrients important for bone strength (14).

Low calcium intake over a lifetime also leads to osteoporosis. It is linked to low bone mass, rapid bone loss, and high fracture rates. Spinach contains calcium and can help counter this (15).

6. May Promote Digestion

The fiber in spinach aids digestion and keeps you feeling fuller for long (16). Fiber also helps promote regularity as it helps the food move through the digestive system (17).

7. May Help Treat Asthma

May Help Treat Asthma Pinit

Shutterstock

Oxidative stress plays a role in asthma. Spinach contains vitamin C, a potent antioxidant that can combat oxidative stress. This way, the veggie may aid asthma treatment (18).

The lutein and zeaxanthin in the leafy green can also help treat asthma (18).

8. May Promote Fetal Development

Spinach contains folic acid, a nutrient essential for fetal development. This nutrient reduces the risk of defects in the unborn child’s nervous system (19).

The iron in spinach helps prevent pre-term deliveries and low birth-weight babies (19).

9. May Boost Brain Health

Spinach is rich in brain nutrients, namely vitamin K, folate, lutein, and beta-carotene (vitamin A). These nutrients help slow down cognitive decline (20).

Spinach also may have anti-stress and anti-depressive effects. These effects can be attributed to the ability of spinach to reduce blood levels of corticosterone (a hormone involved in stress responses) (21).

10. May Keep Your Skin, Hair, And Nails Healthy

The vitamin A in spinach can protect the skin from UV radiation. It fights oxidative stress occurring on the dermal layers and promotes skin health (22).

The vitamin C in spinach promotes collagen synthesis, thereby keeping hair and skin structures intact (23). The magnesium and iron in the vegetable can also help promote hair health (24).

Spinach also contains biotin, a mineral that helps treat brittle nails (25).

Spinach indeed is a superfood. Eating raw spinach as part of a salad can be a good idea. But then, there are other ways.

How To Include Spinach In Your Diet

Including spinach in your diet is easy.

  • You can make it a part of your hummus.
  • Make spinach the primary ingredient in your cupcakes.
  • Add spinach to your morning smoothie. You can also grind spinach leaves and prepare a green smoothie.
  • Spinach can also be added in curries.

How To Select And Store Spinach Leaves

Picking locally grown spinach works best. Also, look for the best-before date. You should pick the freshest spinach.

Go for bright green leaves. Avoid leaves that are brown or yellow or wilted.

Choosing spinach stored in a cooler is better (than that stored on a shelf).

Remember to keep spinach in the original bag or container and wash only prior to use. Store the remaining spinach in the same bag in the refrigerator, ensuring there is no moisture.

Wrapping the bag in a clean towel can offer extra protection.

Though spinach is a powerhouse of nutrients, it still comes with certain warnings.

What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Spinach?

  • May Aggravate Kidney Stones

This is the most common concern with spinach. Spinach contains large amounts of oxalates (just like beets and rhubarb). These may bind with calcium in the urinary tract and can lead to calcium oxalate stones (26).  Hence,

individuals with kidney disease/stones must stay away from spinach.

  • May Interfere With Blood-Thinning Medications

The vitamin K in spinach plays a role in forming blood clots. Hence, it may interfere with medications that help in blood thinning (including Warfarin) (27). You may need to reduce your consumption of spinach if you are on Warfarin.

Conclusion

Spinach is among the most important foods you can eat on a regular basis. It is chock-full of vital nutrients and keeps most diseases at bay. However, you may want to limit its intake if you have kidney disease.

Though research is less, some sources suggest that spinach may also interfere with thyroid medication. Hence, please check with your doctor.

Do you eat spinach every day? How do you consume it? Share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment in the box below.

Expert’s Answers for Readers Questions

Should you eat spinach raw or cooked?

Raw spinach may have a slightly higher amount of nutrients, though the difference is not a lot. But raw spinach may cause gas. It boils down to your preference and experiences.

Is spinach good for weight loss?

Spinach is low in calories and high in fiber. Though it may not directly aid weight loss, it sure can be part of a weight loss diet.

How is regular spinach different from baby spinach?

Baby spinach is typically harvested in the early stages of plant growth. The leaves are smaller, and the texture is more tender. Regular spinach has large leaves.

27 sources

Stylecraze has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.
The following two tabs change content below.