When eaten in moderation, spinach helps in reducing the risks of high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and cancer.
Although it is safe for most people to eat a bowl of spinach per day, you should be careful to eat it in moderation.
Spinach is a dark leafy green crop with an impressive nutrient profile. Rich with a multitude of essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, spinach is a well-known low-calorie ingredient used in many different types of diets. Spinach is also loaded with antioxidants, iron, calcium, and more that make it essential for improving the body inside and out. Learn about the pros and cons of eating spinach every day.
What are the health benefits of spinach?
This vegetable helps in reducing the risks of high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and cancer. Spinach is also good for the skin, hair, and eyesight. Advantages of eating limited quantities of spinach every day include:
- Vitamins: Spinach is rich in vitamin B and other important vitamins such as A, E, K, and C that helps to improve the skin texture and treat numerous skin-related disorders. Spinach also helps to protect the skin from the harmful ultraviolet radiation of the sun. It promotes healing of the skin in case of sun damage and prevents premature aging, skin cancer, and other dermal disorders caused by the sun. Because of the presence of vitamin A in spinach, it boosts immunity by preventing infections and inflammations to a large extent. It strengthens the mucous membranes of the respiratory, urinary, and intestinal tracts. Vitamin A is also a major component of the lymphocytes (white blood cells) that combat diseases in the human body.
- Minerals: Spinach contains minerals such as potassium, magnesium, copper, zinc, and manganese. These help the body regulate body fluids, cell functions, heart rate, and blood pressure. Spinach is particularly beneficial in treating iron deficiency (anemia) because it is rich in this micronutrient. Besides correcting anemia, iron also helps in the activity of several enzymes. 100 grams of spinach contains around 25% of the daily requirement of iron.
- Antioxidants: Spinach is regarded as a superfood because of its abundance of healthy antioxidants (substances that prevent damage due to free radicals in the body). Its fresh leaves are a great source of vital antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin C, and antioxidant flavonoids such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and beta carotene. Vitamin C is great for the body’s immune system, helping to develop resistance against infections and fight off free radicals. 100 grams of fresh spinach has a whopping 47% of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin C. Vitamin A is also considered an antioxidant, fighting off toxins, bacteria, viruses, and any other nasty little invaders seeking to destroy your cells and cause illnesses and disease.
- Anti-inflammatory: Spinach helps in providing relief from several types of inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, osteoarthritis, asthma, and even migraine headaches.
- Prevents damage to the brain and nervous system: Spinach helps in maintaining brain functions, especially in patients of advanced age. The high content of vitamins C and K and folate helps keep the nervous system functioning properly. It also improves the processing abilities of the brain. Spinach helps in the synthesis of sphingolipids that is a crucial fact in the myelin sheath of the nerve cells.
- Gastrointestinal disorders: Spinach contains high quantities of beta carotene and vitamin C that maintain gastrointestinal health. It protects the colorectal cells from the cancerous growths caused by the effects of free radicals. The folate content in spinach prevents DNA damage and harmful mutations of the colon cells.
- Muscle growth: Spinach reduces stress on the muscles by strengthening the muscular tissues. Magnesium, zinc, and other nutrient content help to sleep better that helps the body to heal and recover faster.
- Bone health: Spinach is useful in maintaining and strengthening the bones because of its calcium content. It also has high levels of vitamin K and magnesium, which could reduce the risk of fracture and can work in tandem with vitamin D to increase your bone density and help the body’s calcium balance. Vitamin K is also needed for blood clotting. It helps to prevent the early onset of osteoporosis. Spinach helps in the building of muscle tissues and the growth of collagen.
- Hypertension: Spinach is an effective remedy for high blood pressure or hypertension. It also helps to reduce stress and anxiety. Spinach contains both high amounts of potassium and nitrates that work to lower blood pressure to healthy levels.
- Blood sugar: Spinach contains protective steroids called phytoecdysteroids. This steroid increases glucose (sugar) metabolism and helps to keep blood sugar levels stable. This is extremely beneficial for people with pre-diabetes, diabetes, or other forms of the metabolic syndrome because it minimizes the requirement for the critical metabolism-regulating hormone, which is insulin. Spinach nutrition also contains a good amount of fiber in each serving, which can help slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream to keep blood sugar levels steady. Several other specific compounds found in spinach have also been found to reduce the risk for complications that can arise as a result of diabetes.
- Vision: Spinach nutrition contains vitamin A in the form of carotenoids, which benefit eyesight by preserving the health of the retina (the light-sensitive layer in the eye), macula (an oval area near the center of the retina), and cornea (the transparent layer in the front of the eye). Spinach’s carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin are some of the primary antioxidants needed for eye health, especially with advanced age. Some research suggests that upping the intake of spinach could help reduce the risk of age-related eye disorders such as macular degeneration thanks to the presence of these important carotenoids. These carotenoids help filter out harmful light rays from entering the cornea and protect vulnerable tissues of the retinal area from oxidative stress that can result in blindness, cataracts, and other complications.
- Skin health: Vitamins C and A found in spinach nutrition can help to fight off ultraviolet (UV) light damage that may lead to skin cancer. Frequently eating foods such as spinach that contain antioxidants can help foster new skin cell growth and support the production of collagen, one of the main building blocks of the skin that is responsible for its elasticity and youthful appearance.
- Cancer risk: Spinach is rich in antioxidants, flavonoids, and other nutrients that promote healthy cell division, preventing malignant growths and tumors.
- Illness recovery: Spinach is rich in iron content and many other essential nutrients. It helps in recovering and recuperating after a long spell of illness. Spinach juice can be given to patients who have been weakened by anemia or hemorrhage (bleeding).
What are the side effects of eating too much spinach?
Although it is safe for most people to eat a bowl of spinach per day, people should be careful while eating excessive spinach every day. Disadvantages of eating spinach in excess on a daily basis are as follows:
- Oxalic acid and purines: Eating too much spinach can interfere with the ability of the body to absorb minerals. Oxalic acid present in spinach binds with zinc, magnesium, and calcium because of which the body does not absorb enough nutrients, which may lead to a mineral deficiency. High amounts of purines and oxalates can trigger conditions such as kidney stones and gout (a type of arthritis). High amounts of oxalic acid in spinach may form calcium oxalate stones in the kidney. A high purine content of spinach may also aggravate gout or gouty arthritis and lead to joint pain, swelling, and inflammation.
- Vitamin K: An individual must not consume spinach if they are taking anti-coagulating medicines (blood thinners) such as warfarin. Spinach is very high in vitamin K, and this nutrient may react with the anticoagulant drug and significantly affect its action and effect on other coagulating factors present in the blood.
- Digestive issues: Eating too much spinach may lead to an excessive buildup of gas, bloating, and cramps because our body needs some time to digest the excessive load of spinach and cannot metabolize it all at once. Spinach is high in fiber and takes time to get digested, which may further lead to diarrhea, abdominal pain, and sometimes fever. Spinach is a good source of iron, but sometimes, because of the high fiber content and its excessive consumption, the body is not able to absorb the plant-based iron we have ingested.
- Histamine: This leafy vegetable contains histamine that may trigger a minor pseudo allergic effect or an allergic reaction in some people.
- Drug interference: Patients on anti-coagulating medicines (blood thinners) such as warfarin must not take spinach because they are very high in vitamin K, and this nutrient may react with the anticoagulant drug and significantly affect its activities and other coagulating factors.
- Toxic reaction: This is a bit serious issue, and some people have complained about the toxic effect and poisoning of spinach when it gets contaminated with bacteria (such as E. coli) through pesticides, organic fertilizers, or irrigation water.
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Medically Reviewed on 3/9/2022
A basic guide to the benefits and drawbacks of spinach: https://www.yellowpages.ca/tips/a-basic-guide-to-the-benefits-and-drawbacks-of-spinach/