There’s a reason why Popeye ate spinach for his superhuman strength, every leaf is packed full essential nutrients, vitamins, antioxidants and fiber.
Why Spinach Is Good For You?
This is the engine behind spinach and all dark greens’ status as Superfoods. This powerful antioxidant helps the body fight disease, protect the heart, prevent cancer, cataracts and macular degeneration. As an antioxidant this nutrient helps to rid the body of oxidized free radicals which cause cancer and are essentially the cause of aging in the body; so you could think of spinach as an anti-aging power food as well.
Lutein is a phytonutrient that helps the eyes and skin. It can help prevent macular degeneration in our eyes and provides antioxidant (anti-aging & anti-cancer) support for our skin.
Lipoic Acid is another phytonutrient involved with helping in energy production – the conversion of calories into fuel for the body. It helps to regulate blood sugar levels and is a turbo charger for Vitamins C & E.
Potassium is an essential nutrient that protects the heart, muscles and nerves. It has also been shown to help regulate blood pressure.
Trace Essential Minerals
Spinach also has a few other key nutrients only in smaller dosages such as iron, magnesium, calcium and vitamin C. A couple interesting stories about these is that spinach and all dark leafy greens are filled with calcium but spinach has oxalic acid which binds to the calcium making it very difficult for our bodies to absorb the calcium and as such only a small portion of the calcium in spinach is nutritionally available. The best way to reduce the oxalic acid is to boil the spinach – then be sure to discard the cooking water – or to steam it. On the other hand the Vitamin C available in spinach is only of a significant amount when it is raw, if you cook the spinach in any way the amount of available Vitamin C decreases significantly.
Lastly a funny anecdote about spinach. The idea behind Popeye The Sailor Man and his can of spinach was the incorrect belief that spinach was very high in iron which can grow strong muscles. This idea came from a German scientist, Emil Von Wolff, who accidentally misplaced a decimal and gave spinach 10 times more iron than it actually had and this wasn’t caught until the 1930′s! Of course what they didn’t know then and what we know now is that spinach really is a superfood filled with vitamins and phytonutrients that weren’t fully understood in the early 1900s.