I would like bring you to another episode of the spinach series. Interestingly enough, Popeye’s dependence on the leafy green vegetable arose from a decimal point error made by a scientist in the late nineteenth century. This error led to the publication of nutritional information stating that spinach had ten times the iron content that it really does, making it the first advertised “superfood”. The error was not corrected until 1937, by which time Popeye and thousands of American children were already hooked on the green stuff. Can you call this as blessing in disguise? In my last post, I discussed benefits of spinach for your eyes and brain. In this post let us take a look at cardiovascular and orthopedic benefits of spinach.
Cardiovascular health: Spinach is an excellent source of folate. Folate is required by the body to convert a potentially dangerous chemical homocysteine into an un-harmful compound. High level of homocysteine in you can lead to heart attack or stroke. A cup of boiled spinach contains 65.6% of the daily requirements of folate.
A component of spinach, factor C0-Q10 is an anti-oxidant. As per the Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, C0-Q10 can be used to prevent and treat many cardiovascular diseases like hyperlipidemia, heart failure, hypertension and coronary heart diseases.
Blood pressure: Spinach is an excellent source of magnesium; a mineral that can lower high blood pressure and protect against heart disease. A cup of boiled spinach contains 39.1% of the daily value for magnesium.
Atherosclerosis and heart attack: Atherosclerosis is caused due to hardening of arteries. Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin A (beta carotene), which are vital antioxidants that work against free radicals in the body. Thus, spinach prevents LDL (bad cholesterol) from becoming oxidized. Oxidized cholesterol sticks in blood vessel walls and causes blocked arteries, heart attack or stroke. Consuming plenty of vitamin C and beta-carotene through spinach can help in preventing these complications. A cup of boiled spinach contains 294.8% of the daily...
value for vitamin A along with 29.4% of the daily value for vitamin C.
Strengthens Muscles: Scientists at Rutgers University, New Jersey have discovered that spinach contains strains of natural muscle enhancers, called phytoecdysteroids, which can speed up muscles growth of human tissues by 20%.
Bone Mineralization: Spinach contains significant levels of beta-carotene. The human body converts beta-carotene into Vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for cell reproduction in the human body, including the formation of bone cells.
Besides calcium, healthy bones require far more elements. Spinach provides a number of minerals that are essential for strong and healthy bones. These include magnesium, copper, manganese, phosphorus and most importantly, zinc. Zinc works synergistically with calcium to “mineralize” calcium into bone.
Osteoporosis: Spinach is a high source of Viatmin K, which functions in retaining calcium in the bone matrix thereby leading to bone mineralization. It acts as an agent for prevention of osteoporosis, though may or may not be as effective as other treatments.
Spinach is one of my favorite green vegetables. In Indian language, hindi, spinach is called as palak. If you have tried Indian food, you might have eaten palak paneer, which is made of spinach and cottage cheese. Well, this is the time to eat your daily dose of spinach and say “Popeye the sailor man”!