I find it comforting to know that Americans now consume nearly 2.5 pounds of spinach per year per capita. This is four times the amount of spinach consumed 40 years ago. Fresh spinach from the garden can be used for salads, as lettuce on sandwiches, in healthy vegetable drinks and fruit smoothies, lightly sautéed as a delicious side dish, omelets, topping for pasta and added to soups and stir fried vegetable recipes. Best of all, the many health benefits of spinach easily qualifies it as a super green food.
Some of the health benefits of spinach include: high in niacin and zinc, as well as protein, vitamins A, C, E and K, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese. Spinach contains about 30% of soluble fiber, which can prevent your body from absorbing fat and cholesterol that come with food. With a glycemic index of 15, spinach can be considered a perfect vegetable to help boost weight loss and even eliminate cellulite
DID YOU KNOW? Studies also show that spinach helps maintain your dynamic brain function, memory and mental clarity.
Ample flavonoids in spinach act as antioxidants to keep cholesterol from oxidizing and shield your body from free radicals, especially in the colon. The folate in spinach is good for a cardiovascular system, and magnesium can help lower high blood pressure. Studies also show that spinach helps maintain your dynamic brain function, memory and mental clarity.
Because of the likely high incidence of DDT (Dichlorodiphenyltri-chloroethane) contamination, it’s best to buy organic varieties of spinach. A known cause of cancer, birth defects and reproductive damage, DDT, banned in U.S. in 1972, continues to be manufactured and exported to developing nations to fight mosquito-borne malaria. Significant amounts of DDT have been detected on crops imported to the USA. DDT can also stay in the soil for years. A fact that most people don’t know is that spinach grown in the U.S. and sprayed with DDT before 1972 has been found to contain traces of DDT!
DID YOU KNOW? Interesting Facts about Spinach
- Spinach is extensively used in cooking.
- To keep the rich iron content of spinach while cooking, lightly add lemon juice or vinegar.
- Colorants, especially green and rich green types, as well as various spices, are often made of spinach.
- Spinach boosts better digestion of protein.
- China produces the world’s largest amount of spinach producer and accounts for 85% of global production.
- Fresh spinach provides the most health benefits.
- In the United States, California is the largest producer of spinach and accounts for more than 74% of fresh spinach in the USA.
- Artists in the Middle Ages extracted green pigment from spinach to use as paint or ink.
- Popeye, a fictional cartoon character, promoted spinach for strength in television animated cartoons in 1956.
- Crystal City, Texas has a statue dedicated to Popeye.
- Chinese people refer to spinach as “the Persian Green.”
- English people referred to spinach as “the Spanish vegetable” because the Moors brought it through Spain.
- National Spinach Day is March 26.
20 Exciting Health Benefits of Spinach
- Rich in potassium
- Richest dietary source of magnesium
- Richest source of iron among other vegetables
- Contains a variety of antioxidants
- Rich in protein
- High in kaempferol (antioxidant), which lowers the risk of developing cancer and various chronic disease
- Lutein prevents degeneration of the retina. Beneficial to consume spinach regularly if you spend a lot of time in front of your PC or laptop
- Rich in Vitamin A which helps to maintains healthy skin
- Rich in Vitamin K which strengthens the bones, stimulates the bones’ osteotropic activity and good for brain health
- High in Vitamin B which can help boost energy levels
- High in Vitamin C which helps boost your immune system, helps your body fight off infections and cleanses it from free radicals
- Good source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids
- Boosts digestive tract health
- Helps to regulates blood sugar and cholesterol levels
- Rich in alpha-lipoic acid and may help diabetic peripheral neuropathy and/or autonomic neuropathy
- High content of chlorophyll which can help prevent cancer
- Lowers risk of developing asthma
- Good for pregnant women because of high folate content
- Prevents hair loss
- Rich in iodine and recommended for people with thyroid issues
- Contains properties to eliminate toxins from the body
- Helps to regulate metabolism
- Helps raise hemoglobin levels
- Helps boost energy levels
- May promote weight loss by curbing cravings and hunger
- High content of lutein and zea-xanthin can help reduce risk of cataracts
- Lowers risk of cardiovascular disease
Spinach-Apple-Orange Smoothie Recipe
½ organic pineapple
1 organic apple
1 organic orange
1 cup young organic spinach leaves
Purified Water as needed
Peel pineapple and cut into chunks. Slice apple into quarters and remove core. Peel orange.
Place pineapple chunks, apple slices and orange in a blender. Add spinach leaves. Add a bit of water and blend until smooth. If your smoothie is too thick, add more water as needed and pulse to combine. Pour smoothie into tall glasses. Enjoy!
Precautions about Spinach
Because spinach is very rich in vitamin K1, which is important in blood clotting, consult with your healthcare practitioner if you are taking blood thinners.
Spinach is high in oxalic acid. If you have any concerns with your kidneys or urinary tract, consult with your healthcare professional.
Don’t eat spinach (or eat in very moderate amounts) if you have any of the following: nephritis, kidney stone disease, gout, rheumatism, duodenum disease, and liver disease or bile passage disease.
To Wrap It Up…Health Benefits of Spinach
Spinach is a delicious, nutritious, and low-calorie vegetable that offers a great number of health benefits, including prevention of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and anemia.
Fresh spinach is considered a powerhouse vegetable to add to your diet protocol. Remember that it’s always important to store spinach properly and purchase only fresh leaves to avoid harmful effects from spoiled spinach. Better yet, how about growing your own spinach either in a backyard garden or in pots on your patio or deck.
Research and Resources
Chef Boy Ari, “Eats Yer Spinach,” ewg.org, June 2012.
Juanola-Falgarona M, Salas-Salvadó J, Ibarrola-Jurado N, Rabassa-Soler A, Díaz-López A, Guasch-Ferré M, Hernández-Alonso P, Balanza R, Bulló M.
Effect of the glycemic index of the diet on weight loss, modulation of satiety, inflammation, and other metabolic risk factors: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Jul;100(1):27-35. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.081216. Epub 2014 Apr 30.
A review of the dietary flavonoid, kaempferol on human health and cancer chemoprevention. Food Chem. 2013 Jun 15;138(4):2099-107. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2012.11.139. Epub 2012 Dec 28.
Bone health and osteoporosis: the role of vitamin K and potential antagonism by anticoagulants. Nutr Clin Pract. 2007 Oct;22(5):517-44.
Immune-enhancing role of vitamin C and zinc and effect on clinical conditions. Ann Nutr Metab. 2006;50(2):85-94. Epub 2005 Dec 21.
Alpha-lipoic acid in the treatment of diabetic peripheral and cardiac autonomic neuropathy. Diabetes. 1997 Sep;46 Suppl 2:S62-6.
Serum vitamin A and beta-carotene levels in children with asthma. J Asthma. 2009 Sep;46(7):699-702. doi: 10.1080/02770900903056195.
Iodine and thyroid disease. Med Clin North Am. 1991 Jan;75(1):169-78.
Overexpression of spinach non-symbiotic hemoglobin in Arabidopsis resulted in decreased NO content and lowered nitrate and other abiotic stresses tolerance. Sci Rep. 2016 May 23;6:26400. doi: 10.1038/srep26400.
Lutein/zeaxanthin for the treatment of age-related cataract: AREDS2 randomized trial report no. 4. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2013 Jul;131(7):843-50. doi: 10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2013.4412.
Consumption of thylakoid-rich spinach extract reduces hunger, increases satiety and reduces cravings for palatable food in overweight women. Appetite. 2015 Aug;91:209-19. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2015.04.051. Epub 2015 Apr 17.
High serum level of lutein may be protective against early atherosclerosis: the Beijing atherosclerosis study. Atherosclerosis. 2011 Dec;219(2):789-93. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2011.08.006. Epub 2011 Aug 10