Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) is a dark green leafy vegetable often known as one of the super foods. It is called a functional food for its nutritional properties and anti-cancer composition. Spinach has an abundance of phyto-nutrients, it is very low in calories and fat and is full of dietary fiber, which makes it a great option for those who want to manage weight and improve their cholesterol levels.
Spinach leaves contain lutein, potassium, manganese, magnesium, copper and zinc. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps to control heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese and copper are used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme,superoxide dismutase. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells. Zinc is a co-factor for many enzymes that regulate growth and development, sperm generation, digestion and nucleic acid synthesis. Lutein is good for eye health.
Health benefits of eating spinach include:
- Increased protection from bacterial and viral infections
- Increased immune function
- Reduced cancer risk, including colon cancer
- Protection against heart disease
- Protection against dementia
- Slows aging
- DNA repair and protection
- Alleviation of cardiovascular disease
- Alleviation of hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Alzheimer's disease protection
- Osteoporosis protection
- Antioxidant protection
- Stroke prevention
- Promotes eye health
- Prevention of epileptic seizures and alopecia (spot baldness)
- Alleviation of inflammation
Note: Spinach contains a chemical called oxalic acid, which binds with iron and calcium and reduces the amount of these minerals your body can absorb. To improve iron absorption, eat your spinach with vitamin C-rich foods such as orange juice, sweet potato, tomatoes and lime.
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