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8 Science-Supported Reasons Why You Should Eat More Spinach. Graphic © herbshealthhappiness.com. Spinach pics – Pixabay (PD)
Who doesn’t know Popeye the Sailor Man and his ultimate fascination for spinach? Because of him, the consumption of spinach in the USA incredibly soared by a third, according to records. What’s even more astounding is the fact that American children actually ranked spinach as their third favorite food at that time. Little did many of them know that spinach was no more iron-rich than other green vegetables and that the “iron” myth was due to a miscalculation!  Spinach actually has “middle of the range” iron levels as compared to other green vegetables.
However, spinach is a very valuable part of the diet. Here are 8 reasons why:
1. It Is Very Nutritious
Spinach is highly valued as a functional food owing to the several health-promoting nutrients one can derive from eating it, including but not limited to vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and bioactives.  Being low in fat and cholesterol, a 30 gram cup of raw spinach is a superb source of calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium (30 mg, 24 mg, 0.81, and 167 mg, respectively), as well as vitamins K and A (0.61 mg and 141 μg, respectively). 
2. It Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties
There are a number of active components in spinach that display anti-inflammatory properties.  Extracts from spinach were demonstrated in a 2010 study to protect the intestinal mucosal lining from injury, through their anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory effects. Preadministration of spinach extracts in rats at a dose of 20 mg/kg body weight averted the wasting away or decrease in size of villi (small, finger-like projections of the intestine) and inhibited the production of inflammatory substances. 
3. Spinach Has Antioxidant Properties And Strengthens Immune Response
Spinach is rich in antioxidants. It contains biologically active chemicals that scavenge reactive oxygen species and thus prevent oxidative damage to cell components. An overproduction of reactive oxygen species has long been associated with several disorders. The phytochemicals act as agents that keep these chemically reactive substances under control, hence averting consequential diseases that may emerge as a result of oxidative damage. Moreover, substances found in spinach have been found by studies to modulate the expression and activity of genes that play a role in important bodily functions such as metabolism, proliferation, inflammation, and antioxidant defense. 
Spinach has also been found to contain a powerful, water-soluble natural antioxidant mixture. When compared to other antioxidants such as vitamin E and those in green tea, the mixture in spinach was, amazingly, demonstrated to exert superior antioxidative activity! Moreover, the natural antioxidant mixture, according to tests, is safe and well tolerated in various experimental models such as mouse, rat, and rabbit. 
4. It May Help Prevent Cardiovascular Diseases And Reduce Blood Pressure
Spinach is among the vegetables with the highest content of dietary nitrate for humans. A 2015 study with placebo-controlled crossover design demonstrated that study participants consuming spinach soup for 7 days manifested a decrease in augmentation index (which is a measure of how stiff arteries are and of the pressure of the aorta, the main artery of the body) after meals. Additionally, the “spinach intervention” resulted in a reduction in blood pressure at 180 minutes on the first and last days of treatment. 
5. It May Assist With Weight Reduction (Hypolipidemic And Hypoglycemic)
Spinach has hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic properties; in other words, eating it healthily reduces the levels of sugar and fat in the bloodstream. By stimulating the secretion and release of certain satiety hormones, this leafy vegetable also appears to assist in the limiting of food intake, making it an excellent anti-obesity add-on to any dish. 
6. Contains Compounds Found By Studies To Inhibit Cancer Progression
Spinach has been demonstrated to deter cancer cells and to possess promising anticarcinogenic effects in experimental models of skin and prostate cancer – without harmful or toxic effects on normal organs.  According to a 2011 study published in the journal Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry, certain “glycoglycerolipids” present in spinach can act as anticancer therapeutic substances. These substances inhibit the process of angiogenesis of cancer cells, or their ability to form new blood vessels, which is a vital aspect of cancer progression. 
7. May Reduce Exercise-Related Muscular Damage
A 2015 study concluded from their results that a daily oral intake of spinach supplements lessens oxidative stress and muscle damage among healthy young men right after their half-marathon. This placebo-controlled research included 20 well-trained male volunteers who took spinach supplementation or placebo for 14 days before running. 
8. Spinach Contains Anti-Oxidative Stress (Anti-Aging) Compounds
Spinach has a wealth of antioxidants that have been evinced by plenty of research to ameliorate any age-related decline in cognition caused by oxidative stress. Aside from the beneficial effects of spinach’s antioxidants in preventing cancer and heart disease, an early 1999 study indicated that spinach supplements fed to 344 rats for 8 weeks were proven efficacious in reversing neuronal and behavioral deficits associated with age. 
 S. Griffiths, “Sorry Popeye, spinach DOESN’T make your muscles big: Expert reveals sailor’s love of the food was due to a misplaced decimal point,” Associated Newspapers, 3 July 2013. https://dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2354580/Popeyes-legendary-love-spinach-actually-misplaced-decimal-point.html
 J. Roberts and R. Moreau, “Functional properties of spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.) phytochemicals and bioactives,” Food & Function, vol. 7, no. 8, p. 3337–3353, 2016. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27353735
 “National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28,” United States Department of Agriculture, May 2016. https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/3167
 L. Lomnitski, M. Bergman, A. Nyska, V. Ben-Shaul and S. Grossman, “Composition, efficacy, and safety of spinach extracts,” Nutrition and Cancer, vol. 46, no. 2, p. 222–231, 2003. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14690799
 A. Shiota, T. Hada, T. Baba, M. Sato, H. Yamanaka-Okumura, H. Yamamoto, Y. Taketani and E. Takeda, “Protective effects of glycoglycerolipids extracted from spinach on 5-fluorouracil induced intestinal mucosal injury,” Journal of Medical Investigation, vol. 57, no. 3–4, p. 314–320, 2010. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20847532
 E. Jovanovski, L. Bosco, K. Khan and e. al., “Effect of spinach, a high dietary nitrate source, on arterial stiffness and related hemodynamic measures: A randomized, controlled trial in healthy adults,” Clinical Nutrition Research, vol. 4, no. 3, p. 160–167, 2015. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26251834
 N. Maeda, K. Matsubara, H. Yoshida and Y. Mizushina, “Anti-cancer effect of spinach glycoglycerolipids as angiogenesis inhibitors based on the selective inhibition of DNA polymerase activity,” Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry, vol. 11, no. 1, p. 32–38, 2011. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21034405
 S. Bohlooli, S. Barmaki, F. Khoshkhahesh and B. Nakhostin-Roohi, “The effect of spinach supplementation on exercise-induced oxidative stress,” Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, vol. 55, no. 6, p. 609–614, 2015. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24921623
 J. Joseph, B. Shukitt-Hale, N. Denisova and et al., “Reversals of age-related declines in neuronal signal transduction, cognitive, and motor behavioral deficits with blueberry, spinach, or strawberry dietary supplementation,” Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 19, no. 18, p. 8114–8121, 1999. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10479711
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