If you are familiar with Popeye the sailor man, then you are also familiar with his love for spinach. At first, he is just another ordinary sailor. However, once he downs a can of spinach, he gains almost super human strength. Although eating a can of spinach (Spinacia oleracea) will not give you extraordinary powers, it does have several nutritional benefits.
Source of Iron
Spinach is a low calorie source of iron. Iron is a mineral that the body needs. It helps the red blood cells transport oxygen to the rest of the body’s cells. Iron aids in energy production, immune health, and cell diffusion. It is especially important for menstruating women, growing children, and adolescents to get enough iron. Spinach contains 2.7 milligrams of iron per 100 grams.
Spinach contains vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin C, beta-carotene, manganese, and selenium. These antioxidants help to reduce free radical in the body. Free radicals have been shown to cause damage to cells that can lead to cancer. Antioxidants interact with these free radicals and help to stabilize them. Foods like spinach, which are high in antioxidants, can help to prevent conditions like osteoporosis, atherosclerosis, and heart disease.
Because spinach is loaded with antioxidants, it can also help to prevent certain cancers. It contains a carotenoid that works to protect the body against prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, stomach cancer, and skin cancer.
Improved Brain Function
You can fight the effects of aging with spinach. The beta-carotene found in spinach helps to fight age related macular degeneration, improve memory, and it helps to keep the nervous system healthy.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Spinach contains magnesium which works to lower blood pressure and regulate blood sugar levels. Cooked spinach contains about 157 mg of magnesium, and raw spinach contains 24 mg. Spinach also contains 167 mg of potassium. Potassium is an electrolyte that helps to balance the sodium in a person’s system.
Excessive inflammation in the body can lead to cancer, arthritis,osteoporosis,asthma, and migraine headaches. Spinach is also packed full of anti-inflammatory agents. Those anti-inflammatory agents are beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin K.
Spinach is loaded full of fiber. Fiber helps to keep the digestive system healthy. Because it takes longer to digest, fiber rich foods like spinach can help one feel fuller longer and help to regulate blood sugar levels. The fiber found in spinach gives bulk to stool. This makes it softer and easier to pass.
Spinach may not be able to give you the strength of Popeye, but it is a super food. It is packed full of vitamins and minerals. Best of all, spinach is affordable, available all year, and low in calories.