Health Benefits Of Spinach (Palak)
The bright green vibrant-looking spinach leaves are not only appealing to the eye but also very nutritious. Spinach occupies a special place among vegetables in terms of phyto nutrients. It is rich in iron content which is good to have it in its natural form specially for children and pregnant women. It improves vision; strengthens the bone, fights against certain cancers and heart diseases. No matter, how many vitamins you take you still won’t receive all the health benefits of spinach. That is because spinach contains more health-giving elements than just vitamins and minerals. In fact, there are at least 14 different flavonoids contained in the leafy green vegetables that can help the body in a number of ways. It is an excellent source of bone-supporting nutrients.
Below given are its health benefits
■ Spinach contains dietary fiber which helps in digestion, prevents constipation, controls blood pressure and curbs over eating.
■ Flavonoids with anti-cancer properties abundant in spinach slow down cell division in human stomach and skin cancer cells. It has also shown significant protection against the occurrence of aggressive prostate cancer.
■ The presence of Vitamin K in spinach gives and helps benefit from stronger bones to help maintain overall good health. It not only improves bone health but also helps proper brain function and healthy nervous system. Vitamin K can also prevent excess activation of osteoclasts (the cells that break down bones), as well as promote synthesis of osteocalcin, the protein that is essential for maintaining the strength and density of our bones.
■ Inclusion of spinach in your diet protects and strengthens all the entry points into the human body such as mucous membranes, respiratory, urinary and intestinal tracts. Vitamin A in spinach helps fight infections by protecting at these risk entry points. It is also a key component of lymphocytes (white blood cells) that fight infection.
■ Spinach is packed with anti-oxidants such as Vitamin C, Vitamin E beta carotene, manganese, zinc and selenium that combat the onset of osteoporosis and high blood pressure.
■ Phytonutrients with anti-cancer properties abundant in spinach are believed to slow down cell division in stomach and skin cancer cells. Amongst other vegetables only spinach has also shown significant protection against the occurrence of aggressive prostate cancer.
■ Vitamins A and C both these nutrients are anti-oxidants especially plentiful in spinach protect the body from free radicals and eyes from cataract and age related macular degeneration. Vitamin A is fat soluble anti-oxidant that helps the respiratory system and helps prevent cholesterol from building in the blood vessels. Vitamin C is water soluble anti-oxidant known for boosting the immune system and preventing clogged arteries among other things. The high amount of Vitamin A in spinach promotes healthy skin by allowing for proper moisture retention in the epidermis, this fighting psoriasis, keratinization, acne and even wrinkles.
■ It is an excellent source of folate and magnesium both good for the heart.
■ Spinach infusion is helpful in increasing dieresis in kidney or bladder diseases. This mixture can be prepared by pouring boiling water on one spoon of crushed spinach leaves. Keep the infusion covered for 15 minutes and then filter. The dosage is two cups per day.
■ The content of iron in spinach is essential for building strong red blood cells to carry throughout the entire body efficiently. Iron deficiency can lead to loss of energy and fatigue. In severe conditions it can even lead to anemia. So it is good to have foods such as spinach, beet root, apples, dates etc. that are rich in iron.
Healthy cooking tips of Spinach
Do not cover the pot while cooking spinach. This helps in the release of acids with the rising steam. With a little bit of garlic or lemon flavour you can enjoy the health benefits of spinach immediately.
By Nibhanapudi Suguna