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Incredible Health Benefits Of Eating Spinach

Spinach is at the very top of most superfood lists because the many vitamins and minerals it contains, which give it the ability to help prevent disease and provide a multitude of other nutritional benefits. This guide will explore the health benefits of spinach leaves and why it’s good to put this leafy green on your grocery list.

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1. Full of Nutrients

Leafy green vegetables, especially spinach, contain more nutrients than virtually any other vegetable. A mere cup of cooked spinach contains only 41 calories and has exceptionally high levels of vitamins K and A. The vegetable also contains high percentages of the daily values of other vitamins and minerals, including:

  • Manganese (84 percent)
  • Folate (65.7 percent)
  • Magnesium (35.1 percent)
  • Iron (35.7 percent)
  • Copper (34.4 percent)
  • Vitamin B2 (32.3 percent)
  • Vitamin B6 (25.8 percent)
  • Vitamin E (24.9 percent)
  • Calcium (24.4 percent)
  • Potassium (23.9 percent)
  • Vitamin C (23.5 percent)

For more nutritious superfoods checkout our 50 Best Superfoods of 2015

2. Prevents Disease

The calcium in spinach can help strengthen your bones to fight against injury, and vitamins A and C, fiber, folic acid, and other nutrients fight against colon and breast cancers. Spinach also helps to lower damaging protein levels in the blood and can protect against high blood pressure and heart disease. Lutein is a special nutrient in spinach that helps to prevent cataracts and fight against macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of blindness in senior citizens.

3. Great for Skin

Like many leafy green vegetables, spinach is loaded with potent antioxidants, which are important for normal skin cell development and encourage a healthy skin tone. Other outstanding benefits of spinach for the skin include an increase in the production of collagen, which helps to strengthen the capillaries for a smoother even skin tone—reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. The vitamin A in spinach can also help your skin retain moisture to fight against dryness, psoriasis, and even acne.

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4. A Cup a Day Keeps the Doc Away

The benefits of eating spinach on a daily basis are innumerable. While it’s a good idea to rotate your vegetables or consume a variety of kale, bok choy, and romaine lettuce, spinach can be eaten every day to fight against age-related issues. The health benefits of baby spinach are the same, so you can choose the smaller leaves if you prefer bite-sized spinach in your dishes. It’s good to aim for at least a cup of fresh spinach or a half a cup of cooked spinach each day for maximum nutritional benefits. Studies have shown that adding just a cup of spinach to your diet each day will help aid in digestion, prevent constipation, maintain blood sugar, and even help curb your appetite if you are trying to lose weight. A cup a day can also help strengthen mucous membranes, the respiratory system, and your urinary tract, which can help fight against infections.

Arugula vs. Spinach

Arugula and spinach both make excellent additions to salads. Both have big, bold flavor, although arugula-known as rocket in countries outside of the United States-has a slightly more peppery taste. As to the health benefits of arugula vs. spinach, the calorie, fiber, and protein content for both greens is very similar, with spinach coming out on top with more vitamins A, C, K, potassium, magnesium, iron, and folate. While you wouldn’t generally serve arugula cooked as you would spinach, it makes a great addition to omelets or scrambled eggs, and can be gently wilted in olive oil in a saute pan and served with a grilled chicken breast.

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Selecting and Storing Spinach Leaves

The fresher the spinach the better, because spinach starts losing its nutritional benefits within a few days after it has been harvested. If you can purchase it at a local farmer’s market then do it. Avoid bagged spinach that with excessive moisture. For loose spinach, choose dark green leaves and keep away from leaves that are brown, yellow, or wilted.

Store the spinach in the refrigerator in its original bag or container and store bunched spinach in a plastic bag. Do not wash the spinach before you store it. Try not to purchase more than you will eat within three to five days. If you wait longer to eat the spinach than that, it may taste bitter and the nutritional value and health benefits can diminish.

How to Prepare Spinach

Connoisseurs of spinach will find this superfood easy to prepare due to the variety of options to choose from. The most obvious way to eat spinach, especially baby spinach, is raw in a salad. Before you eat it, fill a large pot or basin full of cool water. Submerge a handful of spinach into the water and hold it under for a few seconds. Remove it from the water and place it in a colander to drain the excess water before serving. Spinach has a tendency to hold onto sand and soil, so washing it thoroughly is very important.

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Because of its acid content, boiling is the best cooking method for spinach. Boiling the leaves in a large uncovered pot of water for at least one full minute allows the acids to leech into the water, which gives the spinach a sweeter taste and reduces the oxalic acid content up to 50 percent. Squeeze excess liquid out of the boiled spinach, especially if you plan to use it as part of a recipe, such as a chicken Florentine or vegetable lasagna.

Spinach can also be chopped and added to soup, chili, spaghetti sauce, pasta, and casseroles. The benefits of spinach smoothie drinks and the benefits of spinach juice are comparable to raw spinach, because they also include an excellent amount of amino acids. For smoothies and juice, add a handful directly to your machine.

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