In what ways is Spinach good for you?
Its a source of iron - especially if its combined with an acidic food. Also, spinach contains high amounts of “lutein” and “zeaxanthin.” Lutein and zeaxanthin are nutrients that are also found in high amounts in your eyes, in fact, in higher amounts than all others. It is believed that these two nutrients may be important for protecting your eyes against some of the bad effects that can be caused by oxygen. That’s why they are called antioxidants. In fact, many doctors are beginning to tell their patients to eat more spinach and other green leafy vegetables and/or to take supplements rich in antioxidants to help with all kinds of problems, including cataracts and glaucoma. Spinach still has a large nutritional value, especially when fresh, steamed, or quickly boiled. It is a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, magnesium, and several vital antioxidants. Recently, opioid peptides called rubiscolins have also been found in spinach. It is a source of folic acid, and this vitamin was first purified from spinach. To benefit from the folate in spinach, it is better to steam it than to boil it. Boiling spinach for four minutes can halve the level of folate. I've never heard of eating too much of it - Unless its preventing you from eating a balanced diet, and getting other nutrients from other sources.
Cancer prevention: Spinach and other green vegetables contain chlorophyll which has shown to be effective at blocking the carcinogenic effects of heterocyclic amines which are generated when grilling foods at a high temperature.
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.
Dark leafy greens like spinach are important for skin and hair, bone health, and provide protein, iron, vitamins and minerals.
The possible health benefits of consuming spinach include improving blood glucose control in diabetics, lowering the risk of cancer, lowering blood pressure, improving bone health, lowering the risk of developing asthma and more.
This MNT Knowledge Center article is part of a collection of features on the health benefits of popular foods, all written and reviewed by our qualified nutritionist.