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Spinach Lives Up to Its Reputation

By Paul Rothbart

Spinach has quite a legacy. Generations of parents urged their children to eat their spinach so they could grow up strong. Spinach is a green, leafy vegetable that is related to beets and quinoa. It originated in Persia and has been a staple vegetable for centuries. The reputation spinach has as a healthy food is well earned. It is one of the best foods to include in your diet. Here are some of the health benefits of spinach.

Nutritional Content

Spinach is loaded with nutrition. Its carbohydrate content is mostly fiber, which is extremely healthy. Spinach is also an excellent source of the essential mineral iron. Vitamins, A, C, and K1 are present in spinach in significant amounts. Spinach is also rich in folic acid and calcium. Additionally, spinach contains smaller amounts of potassium and magnesium as well as Vitamin B and Vitamin E. That's a lot of nutrition in just one food.

Antioxidants

Spinach contains a number of plant compounds which function as antioxidants. These substances fight free radicals in the body, fighting a number of diseases. Spinach contains lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which are good for eye health. It also has kaempferol, which reduces the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. Spinach is one of the best sources of quercetin, an antioxidant that helps ward off inflammation and infection. Finally, spinach contains high amounts of nitrates which are very good for heart health. 

Fights Oxidative Stress

Oxidative stress is a cellular condition caused by free radicals, a byproduct of metabolism. Accelerated aging is triggered by oxidative stress and it also increases the risk of diabetes and cancer. The antioxidants in spinach fight oxidative stress and prevent the damage it causes. Several studies have confirmed the effect of eating spinach on oxidative stress.

Lowers Blood Pressure

The nitrates in spinach help to regulate blood pressure. This is very helpful in preventing heart attack and stroke. A study of 27 people discovered evidence of the ability of spinach to lower blood pressure. Other research has found similar results. 

Too Much Spinach Can Cause Problems

Like most things, spinach consumption should be moderate. There are possible health issues that can arise from too much spinach. With its high calcium content, an excess of spinach can cause kidney stones. Acid and mineral salt buildup creates kidney stones. Spinach is also high in oxalates. The most common type of kidney stones are calcium which consist of calcium and oxalates. The Vitamin K1 in spinach is a boost to blood clotting. This is very good for most people. However, anyone who takes a blood thinner should avoid spinach as the Vitamin K1 will interfere with the effects of the medication.

Spinach has been heralded as a superfood for a long time. This green vegetable has earned that title. With its nutrition and health benefits, a moderate amount of spinach is an excellent way to improve your health.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Scottsdale, Ariz.

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