Health Benefits of Spinach

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Spinach is an edible flowering plant in the family Amaranthaceae, native to central and western Asia. Its leaves are eaten as a vegetable. It is an annual plant growing to 30 cm tall. Spinach may survive over winter in temperate region ( Wikipedia). In Nigeria, spinach in Hausa is known as allaiyho, owo or efo in Yoruba  and Inine in Igbo. It is a universal leafy vegetable used predominantly in Nigeria, Africa and the world at large. Spinach is a ‘super food’ which has so many health benefits. See details listed below:

Eye health and anti-aging properties

The flavonoids and antioxidants found in spinach, particularly the antioxidant beta-carotene, have been shown in multiple studies to help combat many cancers, including breast, prostate and ovarian cancers. Spinach also boosts eye health and has strong anti-aging properties.

Diabetes management

Spinach contains an antioxidant known as alpha-lipoic acid, which has been shown to lower glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity and prevent oxidative stress-induced changes in patients with diabetes. Studies on alpha-lipoic acid have also shown decreases in peripheral neuropathy and/or autonomic neuropathy in diabetics.

Spinach may reduce the risk of skin cancer

Researchers found green leafy vegetables such as spinach and silver-beet are linked with a reduction in the risk of skin cancer, particularly among those with a previous history of the disease.

Asthma prevention

The risks for developing asthma are lower in people who consume a high amount of certain nutrients. One of these nutrients is beta-carotene, of which spinach is an excellent source. Apricots, broccoli, cantaloupe, pumpkin and carrots are also rich sources of beta-carotene.

Healthy skin and hair

Spinach is high in vitamin A, which is necessary for sebum production to keep hair moisturized. Vitamin A is also necessary for the growth of all body tissues, including skin and hair. Spinach and other leafy greens high in vitamin C are imperative for the building and maintenance of collagen, which provides structure to skin and hair.

Lowering blood pressure

Because of its high potassium content, spinach is recommended to those with high blood pressure to negate the effects of sodium in the body. A low potassium intake may be just as big of a risk factor in developing high blood pressure as a high sodium intake. Other high potassium foods include potatoes, tomatoes, lima beans and oranges.

Bone health

Low intakes of vitamin K have been associated with a higher risk for bone fracture. Adequate vitamin K consumption is important for good health, as it acts as a modifier of bone matrix proteins, improves calcium absorption and may reduce urinary excretion of calcium

Promotes regularity

Spinach is high in fiber and water content, both of which help to prevent constipation and promote a healthy digestive tract.

 

By: Umaru Maryam Hadejia

 

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