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Spinach: An All-Purpose Superfood

6/20/2011 11:10:40 AM

Tags: Spinach, Superfood, Health Benefits, Heart Health, Eye Health, Skin Health, Bone Health, Brain Health, Sarah McCabe

S.McCabePopeye had the right idea.

Spinach is one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat. Really, it’s almost hard to imagine how much one serving of spinach can benefit your body.

WebMD lists spinach among the top superfoods in the world. This leafy green not only helps build muscles, it also shields the body against osteoporosis, arthritis, heart disease, and several types of cancer. Spinach plays a crucial role in helping you maintain a healthy body:

6-20-11 spinach
The greener the spinach leaf, the more nutrients it contains.
Photo by Artizone/Courtesy
Flickr 

Heart: The antioxidant C0-Q10 in spinach strengthens the body’s muscles, including the heart. This antioxidant has been used to treat heart failure and cardiovascular diseases like coronary heart disease, hyperlipidemia and hypertension. Spinach proteins reduce cholesterol and fat deposits in the blood vessels, reducing your chance for strokes, heart attacks and atherosclerosis (a disease characterized by the hardening of the arteries). Also, because spinach is a high source of potassium and a low source of sodium, it can help lower blood pressure. 

Eyes: Spinach can work wonders for your eyesight. The beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and xanthene pigments present in spinach help protect you from itchy and watery eyes as well as eye ulcers and cataracts. Age-Related Macula Degeneration (a cause of blindness) is due to the loss of xanthene and lutein in the eyes; by consuming spinach, you are replenishing these antioxidants, which can keep you from going blind.

Brain: Spinach contains a variety of antioxidants, potassium and folate, all known to benefit the brain. Low levels of folate in the brain have been linked to memory diseases such as Alzheimer’s. The body’s folate supply can be replenished by regularly eating spinach.

Bones: Spinach is a great source of vitamin K, manganese, copper, magnesium, phosphorous and zinc, all which help the body build stronger bones. This can help protect you from osteoporosis.

Skin: Certain pigments and phytonutrients in spinach help shield the skin from the sun’s damaging UV rays and can even work to prevent skin cancer. Spinach is also good for general skin health and can clear up skin problems such as acne, psoriasis and eczema.

So the next time you’re hungry for a snack, remember all the wonderful things a handful of spinach on your salad can do for your body.



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