Spinach is a leafy green vegetable that originated in Persia. It is loaded with nutrients and antioxidants that are associated with eye health, healthy blood pressure, and preventing chronic conditions.
1. Spinach is a leafy green vegetable rich in vitamin A, C, B9, K1, iron and calcium.
2. Thanks to its amazing antioxidant content, its consumption has been linked to improved eye health with a reduced risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
3. Researchers also found that spinach reduces the risk of chronic conditions (heart disease, diabetes) and effectively lowers blood pressure.
Spinach is particularly concentrated in important nutrients and antioxidants. 100g of raw spinach is 91% water and contains 23 calories, 2.9g of protein, 0.4g of sugar and 2.2g of fibre. It is also an excellent source of a number of minerals and vitamins including vitamin A, C, B9 and K1, as well as iron and calcium. These have vital roles inside our body such as blood clotting, tissue growth, immunity, oxygen transport and bone health. Finally, spinach also is a rich source of several plant compounds, including lutein, kaempferol, nitrates, quercetin and zeaxanthin. Lutein and zeaxanthin are involved in eye health, kaempferol in chronic diseases, nitrates in heart health and quercetin in immunity.
Numerous studies have linked the consumption of spinach to major health benefits. To start with, spinach contains many antioxidants (such as kaempferol and quercetin) that are required to neutralise free radicals. The accumulation of free radicals can cause oxidative stress, which has been associated with accelerated aging and increased risk of chronic diseases including heart disease and diabetes. What’s more, spinach is rich in both lutein and zeaxanthin, which are the carotenoids responsible for the colour of some vegetables. Our eyes contain high amounts of these pigments, which protects them against damage from sunlight. Studies also found that they help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts. Finally, spinach may also effectively lower blood pressure levels, ultimately boosting heart health. This is believed to be due to the high quantities of nitrates.
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Bondonno C., Yang X., Croft K. et al. (2012). Flavonoid-rich apples and nitrate-rich spinach augment nitric oxide status and improve endothelial function in healthy men and women: a randomized controlled trial. Free Radical Biology & Medicine, 52(1), pp.95-102.
Moser B., Szekeres T., Bieglmayer C. et al. (2011). Impact of spinach consumption on DNA stability in peripheral lymphocytes and on biochemical blood parameters: results of a human intervention trial. European Journal of Nutrition, 50(7), pp.587-594.
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Vu H., Robman L., Hodge A. et al. (2006). Lutein and zeaxanthin and the risk of cataract: the Melbourne visual impairment project. Investigative Ophtalmology & Visual Science, 47(9), pp.3783-3786.
Jovanovski E., Bosco L., Khan K. et al. (2015). Effect of spinach, a high dietary nitrate source, on arterial stiffness and related hemodynamic measures: a randomized, controlled trial in healthy adults. Clinical Nutrition Research, 4(3), pp.160-167.