Spinach: Why You’ll Never Let That Bag Go Bad in The Fridge Again

Healthy Living

Kale is a superfood. The health benefits of kale. Kale: the world’s healthiest food. Kale, kale, kale.  And not only that, we’ve also all been guilty of forgetting that bag of spinach in the back of the fridge. Poor spinach.

Well, now it’s time to bring back one your parents’ favorite childhood phrases, “Eat your spinach.”

Because once you discover just how insanely healthy spinach is, you’ll never forget that bag of green superfood in the fridge again.

The health benefits of espinacas

Full of nutrients and delicious taste, spinach is an affordable superfood chocked full of health benefits that should never be overlooked.

Here are five health benefits you can get by adding spinach to your daily diet, and approved by Marina Chaparro, RDN, CDE, MPH, clinical dietician and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Better mental stamina

According to research presented at the American Society for Nutrition conference in 2015, people who ate 1-2 servings of dark leafy greens a day had the mental endurance of those over a decade younger.

Why? Researchers believe vitamin K plays a main role by helping to create sphingolipids—special fats that are critical to brain function. The lutein, folate, and beta-carotene in the greens also may help.

Stronger bones

I think anyone who’s familiar with Popeye may know that the dairy aisle isn’t the only place to find bone-building foods.

Dark leafy greens such as spinach contain almost all of the powerful nutrients important to keep bones strong and healthy.

Calcium is needed to build bones and teeth, as well as keep your muscles and nerves working.

“And spinach is full of all of the key nutrients for bone health– calcium, vitamin K, potassium, vitamin D, magnesium, and vitamin C,” says Chaparro.

Healthy blood pressure support

Spinach has a very high content of potassium, which lowers blood pressure, and a low content of sodium, which raises it. This makes its composition very beneficial for people with high blood pressure.

The folate present in spinach also contributes to the reduction of hypertension ,and relaxes blood vessels, while maintaining proper blood flow.

“But because spinach is high in vitamin K, it acts as a natural anticoagulant. Word of caution though, if you are on blood thinners, it’s important not to suddenly consume large amounts of foods high in vitamin K, like spinach,” advises Chaparro.

Good eyesight

Spinach is a rich source of beta-carotene, lutein, and xanthene, all of which are beneficial for good vision.

In fact, “One cup of cooked spinach contains 150% of the daily target of vitamin A along with high levels of chlorophyll and beta-carotenes. These phytochemicals are important for tissue growth especially skin and eyesight,” says Chaparro.

Eating cooked spinach regularly can prevent people from suffering from itching eyes, eye ulcers, dry eyes, or a vitamin A deficiency.

The anti-inflammatory properties of spinach also add to this health benefit, which can reduce the puffiness or irritation in eyes.

Helps fight arthritis

According to the National Institutes of Health, arthritis, which is joint inflammation, affects about 1 in every 5 people in the United States.

Luckily, research suggests eating vitamin K-rich veggies, such as spinach, can dramatically reduce inflammation. In fact, spinach has more than a dozen anti-inflammatory compounds.

This makes spinach is one of the most powerful vegetables when it comes to reducing inflammation throughout the body.

Chaparro recommends trying to get in nine or more servings daily of colorful fruits or veggies like spinach daily to maximize benefits. One serving is equal to 2 cups of raw greens, or 1 cup cooked.

Spinach is a superfood

Dark leafy greens like spinach are some of the most nutritious foods on the planet. They’re packed with fiber and vitamins A, C, and K, and have countless benefits beyond the five mentioned here.

Spinach is a food that is easy to incorporate into your meals everyday because it is versatile, easy to prepare, and affordable.

4 easy ways to prepare spinach to reap those health benefits

Here are four quick nutritionist-approved ways to prepare spinach that are fast and simple, and work well for any meal, at any time of the day.

  1. Scrambled spinach eggs:  Mix eggs in a bowl in the usual way.  Pour the eggs into the pan. As they start to lose their transparency, throw in some raw baby spinach and fold into the eggs.
  2. Sauteed spinach:  For this one, you can use either a bag of spinach or fresh spinach that you clean and cut yourself. Cook it down on the stove with a little olive oil and a pinch of salt.  It’s great as a side dish or even as a meal by itself.
  3. Green nachos: Microwave spinach along with a thin layer of cheese on top.  It’s great for a snack, or even after a workout.
  4. Green juices and smoothies:If you prefer to drink your spinach, you can always throw a bunch into your favorite fruit smoothie.  In a mixed berry smoothie, it’s easily disguised, and a great way to get some spinach into your kids (without them knowing)!

And, because spinach is on the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list, which means it is considered to be high in pesticide residue,  it’s advisable to buy organic spinach when you can.

Respect for Popeye

You might not be at the point yet where you see yourself eating spinach everyday like Popeye, but maybe reading this has, at least, given you a new-found appreciation for the famous cartoon sailor’s legendary love of spinach.

It may even ignite your own love affair with another green superfood, or prevent you from forgetting that bag of spinach in the fridge again.

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