Popular culture says that Popeye loves it and little children despise it, but spinach can be both healthy and delicious. Dark green and strong flavored, this leafy annual plant is loaded with iron and calcium. Spinach also contains a great array of vitamins like A, C and K, magnesium, folate and manganese. (1)
The spinach plant likely came from the area around present day Iran and arrived in Europe by the 800s AD. Queen Catherine de’ Medici, born in Florence, Italy in the 1500s, famously insisted on having spinach with every meal hence the term florentine now used to describe a recipe containing spinach. (1)
The compounds within spinach extract helps with weight loss and the science world has found additional links between consuming spinach in order to help brain function, eyesight, and to fight various cancers. If Popeye says it’s good, then we should too!
Protects brain from free-radical damage and keeps our brain sharp
Flavonoids help protect against cancer and antioxidants have been shown to slow the effects of aging of the brain. Over the years, researchers have discovered that spinach can keep our brain health sharp. Components within spinach provide neurological benefits to people who consume them regularly. (2,3)
The potassium found in spinach plays an important part of brain health as it helps increase the brain’s blood flow, and intensifies cognition, concentration, and neural activities. (4) Studies show that just eating three servings of cruciferous, yellow, or green vegetables could slow down cognitive decline by 40%; however, it is the dark leafy greens of spinach that knocks the ball out of the park! (2)
Eating lutein and zeaxanthin containing foods protects eyesight
For years, eating food that contains rich sources of antioxidants containing lutein and zeaxanthin can help protect from age-related macular degeneration. Some researchers believe you only need as little as 6mg a day, however, other studies show that to obtain best results 11-12 mg per day is needed. (5)
One study showed that diets higher in lutein and zeaxanthin improved eyesight for both the age-related macular degeneration patients and the control group. Another study tell us that people who consume more foods containing lutein and zeaxanthin experienced a 35% lower risk of developing poorer eyesight as they age compared to those who ate less. (5)
Sadly, Americans are only consuming on average 1 to 2 mg of lutein on a daily basis, which is far below the recommended suggestion! (6)
Get your ‘Sexy Veggie Juice’ on…
Spinach is naturally low in fat and cholesterol, high in niacin and zinc as well as protein, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals. (7) The science world says it boost brain function and improves eyesight, other studies have shown that it also kicks cancer’s butt! (2)
Raw spinach, with all its powerhouse nutrients intact, makes awesome smoothies, salads, dips, wraps, and veggie juice. And if that’s not enough, check out this music video to motivate yourself to get more greens into your diet!
Image source: flic.kr