This green leafy vegetable is just as delicious and healthy as it is beautiful. It is one of the cheapest and easy-to-get vegetables, packed with phytonutrients, magnesium, vitamins, and folate. It offers many health benefits starting from weight management, disease prevention, cancer prevention, proper eye health, and skin protection. All of these benefits combined together make spinach an irresistible addition to your diet.
After reading this article, you’d want to make most of your daily spinach needs. It adds a hearty punch of vitamins, gives any dish a nutrient boost, and are extremely low in calories for weight loss. The fact that it offers all of these exciting nutrients and is a tasty ingredient for cooking in meals or consuming steamed or boiled makes everything so much simpler. Whether you add spinach to your morning smoothie, omelette, or in any main course meals. There’s always lots to benefit from by eating spinach on a daily basis.
1. Eating Sufficient Amounts of Spinach Daily Helps with Weight Management
Being low in fat and calories, spinach is a hearty and healthy vegetable for people trying to lose weight. And if you want to just maintain your ideal body weight with regular physical exercise and a healthy diet, spinach will help you get healthier too.
To demonstrate spinach’s healthy weight-management benefits, let’s look at some recent scientific studies.
First, spinach contains thylakoids which is proven to reduce hunger and curb appetite up to 95%. Also, it helps promote weight loss individuals up to 43%. Increased appetite due to many factors may often lead to obesity and weight gain. (1)
Second, another study conducted to link thylakoids effects of spinach on hedonic and homeostatic hunger found that spinach reduces effects of emotional eating behaviour. It also controls strong cravings for palatable foods. (2)
Curbing the desire to eat can dramatically affect the kind of food of digests such as those that are high in salt, fats, sodium, and sweet. Spinach affects the sensory properties of the body which reduces hunger and craving stimuli. (3)
Key Takeaway: The thylakoids present in spinach encourage healthy eating habits by reducing appetite and hunger in most healthy individuals.
2. A Daily Intake of Spinach is Good for Muscle Strength and Energy Production
Do you want to build muscles? The makers of Popeye were right about the muscle benefits of spinach when all Popeye did was gulp cans of spinach down his throat to build muscle strength.
Research backs this fact in the most simplistic way possible. Taking sufficient doses of spinach on a daily basis instead of relying on nutritional supplements can increase energy production in the body, study suggests. (4)
It enhances the mitochondria of our body which is responsible for increasing power for cell production and continuance. Spinach is rich in nitrate which is an active nutrient to increase mitochondria efficiency, lower levels of protein, and make our cells stronger.
It is said that those who consume lots of spinach for a prolonged period of time, maybe even for years, have a higher chance of building stronger muscles and energy. It boosts the body’s nitrate-nitrite-NO pathway, which blocks certain proteins from causing mitochondria dysfunction.
Key Takeaway: Abundant in nitrate, spinach acts as a powerful muscle building nutrient to increase energy production in the mitochondria. This powers the cells to combat damaged cells and increase muscle strength.
3. Spinach Promotes Faster Cognitive Reflexes
Because of its high amino acid tyrosine compound found in spinach, it is one of the healthiest green leafy vegetables for optimal cognitive function. And by that I mean faster reflexes and cognitive performance.
When people tell you “you are what you eat”, never take it lightly. A study conducted on participants given tyrosine in one session and placebo is another found that those who drank tyrosine nutrient had faster reflexes and thinking capabilities than placebo. (5)
Tyrosine is present in high amounts in spinach and egg. If you want an inexpensive and healthy way to improve your cognitive capabilities, eating spinach on a daily basis is one way to do that. It increases concentration for proper neural function.
Eating spinach doesn’t require a doctor’s prescription, especially for improving brain health and well-being. And anyone who doesn’t include spinach into their daily diet will also experience low dopamine production for fighting conditions such as anxiety and depression.
Key Takeaway: Spinach can improve brain health and promote faster reflexes, thanks to the high amino acid tyrosine content.
4. Spinach Contains Many Nutrients For Cancer Prevention
Interestingly, spinach is linked to many types of cancer prevention. It has a positive effect on suppressing tumor growth and inhibiting cancer cell proliferation.
One study found that magnesium intake found in spinach has a direct impact on killing pancreatic cancer cells. The study focused on over 66,000 men and women. The study concluded that a higher intake of spinach for people with pancreatic cancer shows a decrease in the proliferation of cancer cells. (6)
Spinach contains high amounts of iron, which is also good for muscle strength, but has far-reaching positive effects on attacking cancer cells in the body. The iron nanoparticles once digested could aggravate immune cells (macrophages) to destroy rapidly growing cancer cells in the blood. This prevents tumor growth and the significant health risks of medical procedures such as chemotherapy. (7)
Another investigation shows that vitamin K2, present in spinach, suppresses the development of androgen-dependent and androgen-independent prostate cancer cells in the body. Their anti-inflammatory capacity reduce cell migration towards the proliferation of androgen-dependent and androgen-independent tumor. (8)
Key Takeaway: From the above mentioned studies it can be determined that spinach plays a very important role in killing cancer cells and tumors from rapidly growing out of control. Spinach is a powerful anti-tumor remedy for tumor inhibition and chemotherapy recovery.
5. Spinach Promotes Proper Eye Health
Lutein and zeaxanthin are powerful dietary compounds that work hard to protect the retina in the eye from age-related or genetic impairment. It protects the eye for irreversible blindness caused due to many age-related factors and inflammation.
To combat such illnesses, spinach provides proper compounds for increasing macular pigment in the eyes. The macular pigment is able to protect the eyes from UV rays or light by protecting the photoreceptor cells. These cells are very delicate, hence are easily susceptible to damage caused by inflammation. (9)
And increase intake of spinach provides more lutein and zeaxanthin diet in the body. This promotes proper retina health and encourages stimulation of photoreceptor cells in the eye.
The anti-inflammatory properties of spinach also help treat minor eye infections and is very helpful for proper eyesight.
Key Takeaway: Spinach contains good amounts of beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin. All of which are great agents for proper eyesight. They reduce inflammation in the eye cells, protect photoreceptor cells from light entering the eye, and increase production of macular pigment.
6. Spinach Contains Magnesium which Supports Brain Function
Cognitive health and physical activeness go hand-in-hand. Abnormal brain function can cause distress, not only for neurodegenerative diseases, but also for accelerated decline in overall health and well-being.
One study actually places significant emphasis on magnesium and cognitive health. Increasing magnesium intake can dramatically improve learning and memory capabilities in rats, both young and old. Spinach can cure magnesium deficiency in peoples with low cognitive capabilities, especially in aging adults. (10)
Another research found that magnesium deficiency is linked with the development and presence of Alzheimer’s disease in humans. Magnesium intake directly triggers brain synapses from reversing age-related symptoms such as memory loss, lack of communicative skills, and concentration in aging rats. It restricts brain synapse loss which helps reduce effects of Alzheimer’s disease. (11)
Lastly, it promotes cognitive health in ways to improve memory, language skills, perception, reflexes, and decision-making capabilities.
Key Takeaway: If you want to influence the way you think and function in terms of perception and concentration, you might want to increase your spinach intake for its high magnesium content. In a placebo-controlled study on rats, it was found that magnesium deficiency can greatly impact a person’s cognitive stability.
7. Spinach Plays an Important Role in Lowering Blood Pressure
All cardiovascular diseases are characterized by high blood pressure. High blood pressure can increase inflammation, which triggers heart diseases, stroke, and heart failure. This can be caused by many lifestyle, genetic, and environmental factors.
However, science proves that spinach can fight high blood pressure and reduce the damage it causes on heart and kidney health.
One controlled study on 1,173 people found that spinach helped lower blood pressure between systolic and diastolic levels. (12)
Another controlled trial on mothers and their children found that those mothers who consumed very less magnesium, in the form of spinach, resulted in higher blood pressure in the children. Factors such as obesity and diabetes also play an contributive role in the child’s blood pressure health. (13)
So higher levels of maternal magnesium intake can dramatically affect the child’s cardiovascular and blood pressure health. Increasing intake of spinach before and during pregnancy can prevent high blood pressure across many generations, study suggests.
Key Takeaway: Multiple controlled trials linking magnesium intake with high blood pressure show that a lower intake of magnesium in diet can lead to high blood pressure-induced cardiovascular diseases and obesity.
8. Iron Present in Spinach Fights Against Lead-Induced Brain Diseases in Children
Lead is a harmful toxic metal present for the use in cars for over 25 years. And its exposure can lead to life-threatening neurological effects. One of the most sensitive targets of lead exposure is the body’s nervous system.
The immune system of a child’s is not yet fully complete and resilient enough to defend against such toxic chemicals, hence sufficient dietary nutrients intake is essential for prevention.
According to a study, increased iron consumption can reduce severe symptoms of lead exposure in the growing brains of children. When there’s high lead exposure due to pollution and there’s lack of iron intake in the body, it can lead to damaging neurological diseases.
The study claims that when there’s little iron in the body, the small intestine only carries high amounts of lead to different parts of the body. Hence increasing level of toxicity in the bloodstream and the brain. (14,15)
Key Takeaway: Lead poisoning in children with an iron deficiency can have severe effects on brain health including convulsions, coma, hyperirritability, and even death. To combat high levels of lead in the body, eating spinach for its iron content is very essential.
9. The Compounds Present in Spinach Reverse Visible Signs of Aging
Spinach contains vitamin A which may slow down age-induced skin wrinkles.
In one research, this nutrient improve skin discoloration and wrinkles due to aging. It also encourages the skin-building compounds on a more cellular level responsible for natural aging and skin health.
There are many signs of aging which includes wrinkles, skin pigmentation, brown spots, and dryness. As you get older, your skin become thin and sensitive, which causes finer wrinkles. This happens when there’s lack of proper collagen production in the body.
A study conducted on 36 individuals found that an increase in vitamin A induces retinol absorption to prevent skin injuries, clear fine wrinkles, and fight skin signs of aging. (16)
Key Takeaway: A significant reduction in collagen production can lead to wrinkle formation in aging adults. However, an increased intake vitamin A in diet with the help of fresh green leafy vegetables can slow down the effects of natural aging and make the skin look and feel youthful.
10. Eating Spinach Regularly is Good for Tissue Scarring
Tissue scarring is a very common condition that affects all parts of the body including your organs, muscles, and your connective tissues. It is characterized by excessive inflammation or injury of your tissues.
Those who suffer from recurring injuries and adhesions often experience internal scarring caused by oxidative stress. This also includes healing scars that take form on our blood vessels. (17)
Studies suggest that vitamin A can treat tissue scarring by restricting further blood vessel damage. It stops blood-clotting by relieving blockages in the tissues and blood vessels. It contributes to the prevention of severe tissue scarring by almost 57%. (18)
The more vitamin A is absorbed in the bloodstream, the stronger its antioxidant capacity to fight internal tissue and blood vessel damage. Plus, it helps reduce oxidative stress and chronic inflammation which plays an important role in tissue scarring formation due to adhesions and injury.
Key Takeaway: There are multiple studies on the benefits of spinach containing vitamin A for muscle health and prevention of inflammatory diseases. Combine the benefits, and you can also prevent the development of severe tissue and blood vessel scarring in humans.
11. The Antioxidant Strength of Spinach Prevents Oxidative Stress
Spinach contains beta-carotene, vitamins, and highly active carotenoids that may reduce oxidative stress in the human body.
Oxidative stress is a naturally occurring phenomenon in the human body. It’s the inevitable product of metabolism as the body requires a certain amount of oxidation or free radicals for cell protection. However, an increase in scavenger free radicals production can cause inflammation which could defeat our body’s defense mechanisms.
In a controlled trial, 9 healthy individuals were prescribed a daily diet full of spinach for 3 weeks. At the end of the trial, it was found that the carotenoid and beta-carotene intake due to spinach decreased DNA damage caused by oxidation. (19)
Another study found that a daily intake of spinach in 8 healthy individuals shows better cell migration and DNA cell repair caused by oxidative stress in the human body. The folate and antioxidant content in spinach reduces DNA cell oxidation significantly to further prevent chronic diseases. (20)
Key Takeaway: Spinach helps provide relief from free radical-induced oxidative stress in humans. Coupled together with its antioxidant and beta-carotene capacity, it boosts your immune system’s defense mechanism against tissue and cell damage. This could prevent the development of many chronic diseases as well as chronic inflammation.
12. Spinach Contains Carotenoids to Prevent Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Spinach contains high amounts of carotenoids, which have been studied to promote eye health and prevent age-related macular degeneration in humans. These carotenoids include lutein and zeaxanthin that have been linked to promoting proper eye cellular health for aging adult.
The human retina is a highly complex and sensitive sensory organ of the eye. It does the job of protecting the macula from getting damaged due to light exposure. Plus it improves visual acuity by reducing the level of inflammation caused by oxidative stress.
Macular degeneration is a product of such deformity. It could also lead to cataract formation, blindness, visual impairment, and glaucoma.
Irreversible blindness caused by age-related macular degeneration can be prevented with an increase in carotenoids. Spinach contains plenty of lutein and zeaxanthin for promoting healthy eye function. Dietary carotenoids have a showed a significant drop in age-related macular degeneration around the world. (21)
One study linked the positive effects of spinach, containing carotenoids and vitamin E, for the prevention of cataracts. (22)
Key Takeaway: Spinach is a good source of carotenoids and vitamin E which play a significant role in promoting eye health against age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
13. The Presence of Folate in Spinach is Helpful for Fetal Development
Dietary folate or folic acid has been linked to many health benefits for pregnant women and for fetal development.
Pregnant women with lower levels of folate are more likely to suffer miscarriage than those women with normal or average levels of folate, a study concludes. This occurs because of lowering the severity of birth defects that affect the spinal cord and may lead to paralysis. (23)
One study linked high folic acid intake in early maternal months with lower chance of child obesity. It increases the pregnant mother’s capacity to fight for two instead of her own immune system. With this, there is a lower chance of the development of obesity, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, etc. (24)
Additionally, a regular folate supplementation in the form of green leafy vegetables such as spinach can provide pregnant mothers will all the vital nutrients they require for proper fetal development. This fights the severe effects of smoking, neural tube defects, and alcohol consumption in pregnant mothers. (25)
Key Takeaway: Spinach can be consumed as a hearty and healthy prenatal remedy for stimulating proper digestive, brain, and heart function of the fetus. It also prevents neural tube defects and miscarriages during early pregnancy months.
Best Ways To Cook Spinach
If you want to cook spinach just like the professional chefs you see, fresh spinach is at your disposal all year-round. Spinach gives you an excuse to eat more healthy meals with chicken, egg, and pasta. You can eat spinach-inspired recipes all day and it’ll still be as crowd-pleasing and simple to cook. You can cook spinach for family meals, quick solo meals, and for holidays. Because it offers so many nutritious benefits, it’s the perfect solution to make all meals taste amazing. If you can’t find delicious spinach recipes, take some from these 8 healthy spinach recipes I’ve compiled for you.
This proves you can use spinach for almost anything from soups to noodles to spaghetti.
1. Spinach and Tomato Chicken Spaghetti
If you find yourself craving for spaghetti late night, this is a quick recipe to make. It’s actually easier than you think.
1/4 cup - chopped tomatoes, sun-dried
2 tbsp - extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound - boneless chicken, chopped
1/4 tsp - pepper flakes, red
1/4 tsp - salt
4 - chopped roma tomatoes
1/4 cup - chopped basil leaves
8 ounce - spinach
3 - chopped garlic cloves
6 ounce - spaghetti
3 tbsp - olive oil
Cook chopped sun-dried tomatoes with olive olive on medium-high heat. Combine with chicken, flakes, and salt. Cook for 5 minutes until fragrant.
Next, add basil leaves, tomatoes, spinach, and garlic. Cooking for 5 minutes. Set aside to season with salt, if needed.
Meanwhile, cook pasta spaghetti, drain, and mix with the tomatoes and spinach mixture. Mix well until evenly coated. Cook on low heat for a few minutes. Drizzle with olive oil and serve hot.
2. Original Mac and Cheese with Spinach
A savory take on the classic mac and cheese recipe. It doesn’t taste better than this.
3 tbsp - butter, unsalted
1/2 cup - yellow onion, minced
1/3 cup - flour
4 cups - milk
2 bunches - cut spinach
5 ounces - cheese, grated
3/4 pound - macaroni, elbow
Cook onion with butter in a saucepan for 6 minutes. Add in flour and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in 4 cups of milk and cook on medium-high heat. Add salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Cook on low heat for another 15 minutes.
Combine with spinach and cheese. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add boiled macaroni. Serve hot and creamy.
3. Creamed Spinach with Cauliflower
If you like your baked dishes to have extra cheese, the combination of cauliflower and spinach makes this recipe a lot more creamy and delicious.
5 ounce - baby spinach
1 - cauliflower head
1 - diced onion
1/2 cup - mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tbsp - heavy cream
1 tbsp - melted butter
1/2 tsp - dried nutmeg
8 pinch - cloves
Salt and pepper to taste
Boil cauliflower florets in water for 10 minutes.
Transfer boiled cauliflower into a blender. Add butter, cream, and salt and pepper and blend until creamy.
Meanwhile, cook onions with butter in a skillet. Add nutmeg, spinach, and cloves.
In a baking dish, combine everything together and cook under a broiler until cheese is completely melted and bubbling. Serve immediately.
4. Spinach Pesto Sauce
This classic pesto sauce recipe can also be used as a dip and salad dressing.
2 1/2 tbsp - basil, dried
4 - garlic cloves
2 cups - spinach
1/4 cup - olive oil
1 cup - pine nuts, toasted
1 tsp - sea salt
1 1/2 tsp - lime juice
1 tsp - sugar
1/4 cup - cheese, Parmesan
Blend spinach, basic, garlic, and olive oil. Blend for a few seconds.
Add the leftover ingredients and blend for a minute.
Garnish with cheese and olive oil. Store in an airtight jar in a refrigerator to serve.
5. Fried Wontons Stuffed with Spinach and Artichoke
In love with wontons? Try this spinach and artichoke stuffed recipe for lunch tomorrow. You won’t regret it.
10 ounces - spinach
8 ounces - chopped artichoke hearts
8 ounces - fresh cream cheese
1/3 cup - fresh sour cream
1/2 cup - shredded cheese, mozzarella
1/2 cup - parmigiano reggiano, grated
1/4 tsp - garlic powder
1/4 tsp - onion powder
1/4 tsp - salt
1/4 tsp - pepper
1 pack - wonton wrappers
Mix spinach, artichokes, sour cream, cream cheese, garlic, onion, salt, pepper, and parmigiano reggiano in a bowl.
In another bowl, beat 1 egg. Coat wonton wrappers with egg and spoon 1 tbsp of spinach mixture in a wonton. Fold the wontons as per instructions. Freeze on a sheet for 10 minutes.
Remove from freezer and transfer into a pot with heated olive oil. Fry each wonton for 2 minutes each side and dry the entire batch on paper towels. Serve hot.
6. Creamy Chicken in Mushroom Sauce
You’ll be thanking yourself (and maybe me?) the next time you cook this delicious and creamy chicken recipe.
4 - boneless chicken thighs, sliced
2 tbsp - extra-virgin olive oil
10 ounce - mushrooms
Salt and pepper
4 - minced garlic cloves
1 tbsp - melted butter
1 tbsp - flour
1/2 cup - chicken stock
1/2 cup - cheese, grated Parmesan
1/2 tsp - cooking salt
1 cup - fresh spinach
Cook olive oil and chicken on medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Set chicken aside and add mushrooms and salt. Cook for 5 minutes. Set aside with chicken.
Add butter, 1 tbsp flour, chicken stock, and cheese to a pan. Cook until well-blended.
Combine with spinach mixture on medium-high heat. Add more spinach, if needed. Combine chicken and mushrooms and mix well for a few minutes.
Serve with fresh parsley leaves.
7. Quick Spinach Alfredo
Cooking creamy alfredo pasta doesn’t get any more delicious than this.
1 pound - pasta, penne
4 tbsp - butter
2 - minced garlic cloves
4 tbsp - flour
2 cups - milk, skimmed
2 tbsp - cream cheese
1 1/2 cups - cheese, Parmesan
2 cups - cooked chicken, shredded
2 cups - chopped spinach
Salt and pepper
Cook pasta according to package instructions.
Meanwhile, add butter and garlic to a saucepan. Cook for 2 minutes. Add flour and cook for another 2 minutes.
Stir in milk and cook for 6 minutes or until thickened.
Combine with cream cheese, parmesan cheese, chicken, and spinach.
Add drained pasta water and season with salt and pepper. Cook for a few minutes.
Add boiled penne pasta and sit continuously for 2-3 minutes. Serve hot.
8. Spinach Potato Patties
Craving for some mid-evening snack? This patties recipe is infused with delicious spinach and potatoes, making your snack-time anything but ordinary.
1 pound - boiled potatoes
1/4 cup - whole milk
1 tbsp - butter
1 tbsp - olive oil
1 - diced onion
10 ounces - spinach
3 - minced garlic cloves
1 cup - shredded cheese, Parmesan
2 tbsp - lime juice
2 cups - fresh panko crumbs
1/4 cup - olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Mash potatoes with milk in a bowl.
Cook butter with olive oil in a skillet. Add onions, spinach, and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes. Set aside.
Combine spinach with potatoes. Add cheese and lemon juice. Mix well.
Next, combine egg and bread crumbs. Make spinach and potato patties and fry in olive oil on a skillet. Fry for 4 minutes on each side. Drain oil on paper towels. Serve hot and crispy with a dip.
Wrapping It Up
Get the most out of your spinach consumption with versatile recipes like patties, pasta, wontons, and so much more. You can include spinach for your easy side dishes or blend them well for a hearty main course meal. Really, it’s all up to you.
Based on the nutritional value of spinach, it’s an incredible green leafy vegetable to boost overall health and well-being. It’s good for the heart as much as it’s healthy for your brain. It can be eaten raw in salads, and it can be cooked for meals and sauces. There are many recipes to look forward to when cooking spinach, but the thing to always remember is that no matter what you eat, spinach has to be a part of your daily diet. This gives some the freedom to make spinach smoothies, cream soups, and other healthy items as a part of the cultural cuisine.