This leafy green is a super-versatile nutrient powerhouse, a fairly good source of iron. It is loaded with vitamins and minerals, some of which are hard to find in other foods. Like other dark greens, spinach is an excellent source of beta-carotene, a powerful disease-fighting antioxidant that has been shown, among other things, to reduce the risk of developing cataracts. It fights heart disease and cancer as well. Spinach possesses several important phytochemicals, including lutein, which helps prevent age-related macular degeneration. Spinach also contains lipoic acid, which helps antioxidant vitamins C and E regenerate. Because of its role in energy production, lipoic acid is being investigated for regulating blood sugar levels.
♦ This is a very nutrient-dense food. It’s low in calories yet very high in vitamins, minerals and other phytonutrients. When you consume this healthy food, you don’t need to worry about your weight-loss diet as you take in abundant, good-for-you nutrients.This leafy green is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, magnesium, folate, manganese, iron, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin B2, potassium, and vitamin B6. It’s a very good source of protein, phosphorus, vitamin E, zinc, dietary fibre, and copper. Also, it’s a good source of selenium, niacin, and omega-3 fatty acids.
♦ This is a versatile food. It can be eaten raw in a salad or it can be cooked (lightly) and eaten as a dish on its own or added to soups and other dishes. If boiling, use the least amount of water possible for the shortest time.
♦ Spinach is loaded with flavonoids which act as antioxidants, protecting the body from free radicals. Researchers have discovered at least 13 different flavonoid compounds that act as anti-cancer substances. The various nutrients offer much in the way of disease protection.
♦ The other benefit of spinach is that this is a heart-healthy food. It’s an outstanding source of vitamins C and A, which are antioxidants that help reduce free radical amounts in the body. The antioxidants work to keep cholesterol from oxidizing. In addition, folate is good for a healthy cardiovascular system, as well as magnesium, a mineral that helps lower high blood pressure.
♦ Gastrointestinal health can be guarded by eating more of this food. The beta-carotene and vitamin C work to protect the cells of the body’s colon from the harmful effects of free radicals. Also, DNA damage and mutations in colon cells may be prevented by the folate that is present in this green leafy vegetable.
♦ Some conditions that are identified as inflammatory, such as arthritis, osteoporosis, migraine headaches, and asthma, may be helped because of the anti-inflammatory properties of some of the nutrients found in spinach.
♦ The carotenoids found in spinach protect against eye diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration.
POWERHOUSE OF NUTRIENTS
One cup of cooked spinach contains
Vitamin A: Over 18,000 IU (377 per cent daily value [DV]). Vitamin A benefits the heart by preventing cholesterol from becoming oxidized in the body.
Vitamin K: It is second only to cauliflower with over 880 mcg. Vitamin K is essential as it helps calcium adhere to the bone making them stronger.
Protein: One cup of spinach equals 5g of protein (12 per cent DV).
Folate/Folic Acid: Over 260 mcg or 66 per cent DV, which is particularly important for pregnant women.
Vitamin C: With 17.6 mg or 29 per cent DV, this also benefits the heart by preventing cholesterol from becoming oxidized in the body.
Minerals: 84 per cent DV of manganese, 39 per cent DV of magnesium, 36 per cent DV of iron, 24 per cent DV of potassium, and 24 per cent DV of calcium.
13 Flavonoids: This helps fight cancer, protects against age-related memory loss, and prevents heart disease.
Fibre: It contains 4.3g or 17 per cent DV.
By Sudhanshu Jain