Popeye ate spinach for a reason – because it is absolutely great for the body. Spinach packs the healthy punch of several top-notch “superfoods” all rolled into one. It tastes good on anything from salads to soups, and there are ways to prepare it so that even the pickiest eaters will appreciate its beauty. Below we take a look at a few of the amazing health benefits of spinach and why it is a good choice as a mainstay in your diet.
The main reason to include spinach in your diet is that it is one of the most nutrient-dense foods available. It is a good source of protein, calcium, and dietary fiber. However, the fermentation potential of the fiber is low, so it’s a great choice for people with SIBO. One cup of spinach contains almost all of the manganese and folate that your body needs daily, and about half of the magnesium that is recommended. In addition, much more than the minimum daily amounts of vitamin K and vitamin A are packed into a single cup. It’s also fairly rich in iron, copper, B2, B6, vitamin E, vitamin C, phosphorus, B1, zinc, choline, and potassium.
Spinach is packed full of antioxidants that prevent free radicals and fight the negative effects of aging. The antioxidants it contains the most of are flavonoids.
Low in Calories & Carbs
It makes sense that a food with as many health benefits as spinach would be easy on the body. Spinach is so low in calories that it won’t add any weight to your form no matter how much of it you eat. In addition, it is low in carbohydrates so it is a smart choice for people struggling to lose weight and for those with insulin resistance, diabetes, yeast issues, blood sugar problems, SIBO, adrenal fatigue, sugar, and carb addiction.
Spinach is great for your cardiovascular health. The antioxidants found in the vegetable take center stage once again by preventing the oxidization of cholesterol and keeping your blood pumping smoothly. In addition, the magnesium and folate contained in spinach reduce high blood pressure and lower your risk for heart attack, heart disease, and stroke.
Compounds in spinach fight off premature aging in your brain and keep it working smoothly. They do this by preventing oxidization from occurring and supplying nutrients needed for neurotransmitter production and function. A diet rich in spinach has also been shown to increase the learning capacity and memory in young children.
However, there are two groups of people that could potentially have some problems with spinach, which includes anyone with an oxalate issue or elevated histamine levels, as it does contain a significant amount of each of these substances. Even if you have one of these issues, it doesn’t mean you will automatically have a problem with spinach. I have elevated histamine and must avoid many high histamine foods, but I can eat spinach with no problem. I also get pain in my eyes from oxalates if I eat spinach too many days in a row, but a couple of times a week it is okay. But, do be aware of this issue, monitor how you respond, and then adjust accordingly. Most of the time, these issues can be addressed adequately with moderation, rather than complete elimination.
To make the health benefits of spinach even more appealing, this is a very affordable and versatile food that is easy to add to the menu. It goes well with just about anything including, steak, chops, burgers, eggs, fish, chicken, and turkey. Serve it fresh, steamed, or as part of a baked dish or stir-fry. Just chop it up and add it to your favorite dish.