In popular culture, spinach has long been hailed as a superfood. Do you recall Popeye the Sailor Man and his muscle-building spinach can? There is some science behind it. Popeye's favorite green leafy vegetable could also be a good source of nutrition for real people.
Spinach is high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making it a true nutritional powerhouse. Carotenes, amino acids, iron, iodine, potassium, magnesium, and Vitamins A, C, K, E, and B complex are all in raw or unprocessed spinach.
Also, a handful of spinach contains the same amount of protein as a sliver of meat. The minerals in this vegetable are also alkaline, which keeps your body's pH in check.
While there are certain advantages to drinking spinach juice, there are a few disadvantages to consider. To begin with, most of the existing research focuses on spinach itself rather than the juice. As a result, more research on the juice is required. Additionally, juicing spinach removes most of the fiber, which may negate some of its health benefits.
Nevertheless, its health benefits are still worth a look. This article delves into the nutritional value of spinach, how drinking spinach juice or smoothie can benefit the body, and various tasty ways to incorporate it into your diet.
Drink It Fresh
Spinach is a versatile green vegetable, as it can be consumed raw, juiced, or incorporated into your meals. It's worth noting that it's not just for salads and sides. Fresh spinach juice has become a popular way to consume this green vegetable. It is one of the best ways to consume raw spinach while preserving its numerous health advantages.
Regular consumption of fruits and vegetables is part of a balanced diet. But for others, the consumption of raw spinach may not be their best bet. The bitter taste of this green juice makes some people look the other way.
Green juice is a beverage produced from the liquid extracted from green vegetables. It is not a substitute for the regular, daily consumption of fruits and vegetables, but it shares many of the health benefits of raw green vegetables.
There is no formal recipe for green juice, but celery, kale, Swiss chard, spinach, wheatgrass, cucumber, parsley, and mint are frequent additions.
Due to the bitterness of green juice, most recipes also include modest amounts of fruit — which may or may not be green — to sweeten it and increase its overall palatability. Apples, berries, kiwis, lemons, oranges, and grapefruit are all popular fruit choices.
There are also commercial green juices available; however, some types contain added sugar, lowering the nutritional density of the drink. Excess sugar consumption has also been related to several adverse health impacts.
Furthermore, many green juices sold in bottles have been pasteurized. This method heats the juice to kill microorganisms and lengthen its shelf life, but it may disrupt several heat-sensitive nutrients and plant compounds found in fresh juice.
Health Benefits of Spinach Juice
Helps in Bone Function
Vitamins K and magnesium are responsible for the wonders that spinach juice does on bone health. One cup of boiled spinach provides 987 percent of your daily vitamin K requirements and 39% of your magnesium requirements.
Two forms of Vitamin K exist. Vitamin K-1, which is abundant in leafy green vegetables, is involved in blood clotting. Because this is a fat-soluble vitamin, it needs the help of dietary fat for its absorption. The normal bacteria present in the gut can also convert Vitamin K-1 to Vitamin K-2. Vitamin K-2, on the other hand, is more available in animal meats. This subset of Vitamin K is essential for bone and blood vessel wall integrity.
Recent studies show that Vitamin K may lower fracture rates, work together with vitamin D to promote bone density, and positively affect calcium balance. Vitamin K is used by the body to strengthen bones. These benefits appear to be especially crucial for women. This is because, after menopause, hormonal changes cause the bones to become brittle.
Spinach contains high volumes of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. These pigments are abundant in human eyes, and they protect the eyes from the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation. Too much ultraviolet damage has been linked to an increased risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
According to research, those who ate spinach three times per week had a 43 percent lower risk of getting macular degeneration.
In the same way, a study suggests that eating spinach in the form of a smoothie or juice, along with some fat, is the most efficient way to absorb lutein from spinach in our diet. Most lutein is released when the spinach is chopped before making the smoothie.
Also, foods high in lutein and zeaxanthin can help to minimize the chance of developing chronic eye problems. People who ate a diet rich in lutein and zeaxanthin from various fruits and vegetables were less likely to acquire cataracts.
The most prevalent type of cataract is nuclear cataracts. As you become older, it causes your eye's lens to become clouded and yellow, obscuring normal vision.
Supports Brain Health
Eager to make you mentally sharp, focused, and attentive, spinach comes to the rescue.
Because spinach is high in antioxidants like vitamin A, lutein, and carotene, it is also good for your brain health.
According to research, consuming these leafy greens like kale, spinach, and broccoli may help delay cognitive decline. In 2018, scientists followed the nutritional intake of participants over 58 years old and measured their mental capacities. Participants who ate an average of one serving of leafy green vegetables per day, such as spinach, had a significantly lower rate of cognitive deterioration.
Spinach is abundant in folate, a B vitamin that has been demonstrated to lower homocysteine levels. In excess, homocysteine is a nutrient that can harm neurons and is linked to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Acts as Antioxidant
As an antioxidant, spinach juice intake is linked to cancer prevention and diabetes management. A study also attempted to explain its protective effect on the lungs. These studies, however, are mostly done on animals.
Free radicals are metabolic byproducts. They can induce oxidative stress, which speeds up the aging process and raises your chances of cancer and diabetes.
On the other hand, spinach is high in antioxidants, which help to counteract oxidative stress and lessen the harm it causes. This is attributed to its high Vitamin C and E levels, which have the most potent antioxidant activity among the vitamins studied. These two vitamins are preserved at almost the same or increased levels as raw spinach during cooking or juicing.
Persons with diabetes have been shown to benefit from alpha-lipoic acid in spinach. This antioxidant has been found to reduce glucose levels, improve insulin sensitivity, and protect diabetic patients against oxidative, stress-induced alterations in metabolic function.
Also, studies on alpha-lipoic acid have shown reductions in complications from the condition, including peripheral neuropathy and autonomic neuropathy.
However, most research has employed intravenous alpha-lipoic acid, and it's unclear if oral supplementation would have the same effect.
Cancer is also an area of interest when talking about spinach’s antioxidant activity. According to studies, consuming vegetables and fruits containing natural cancer preventive agents, alone or in combination, is linked to a lower risk of cancer development.
Chlorophyll is found in spinach and other green plants. Chlorophyll has been proven to be efficient at blocking the carcinogenic effects of amines in several studies. Its antioxidant activity also helps in lowering the levels of cancer cells in the body.
In a study, women who ate raw spinach or carrots more than twice a week had a lower risk of breast cancer. In another study, there was a decrease in ovarian cancer linked to flavonoid intake in spinach.
Research done on 433 children aged 6 to 18 years with and without asthma found that those who consume a high amount of beta-carotene have a lower risk of acquiring asthma. Beta-carotene can be found in abundance in spinach. Its antioxidant activity acts to counter the damage to lung cells.
Lowers Blood Pressure
This leafy wonder is also an essential adjunct to cardiovascular health — especially in its capacity to lower blood pressure. It is rich in antioxidants, potassium, magnesium, nitrates, and lutein.
Spinach is advised for persons with high blood pressure because of its high potassium level.
Potassium can aid in the reduction of sodium's effects in the body. A low potassium intake could be just as dangerous as a high sodium intake in developing high blood pressure.
Nitrates, the naturally occurring chemical substances that can enhance blood flow and reduce blood pressure, are abundant in spinach. A 2015 study looked at the effects of eating high-nitrate spinach soup for a short period. When compared to participants who ate a low-nitrate asparagus soup, the researchers detected a reduction in blood pressure and decreased arterial stiffness after seven days of consuming the soup.
Eating high-nitrate vegetables like spinach could also help keep your heart healthy. High blood pressure and arterial stiffness have been linked to heart disease.
Aside from being high in potassium, spinach juice is packed with heart-healthy elements like folate and magnesium. Lutein is also abundant in this green vegetable. Lutein is vital in avoiding artery wall thickening, which lowers the risk of strokes and high blood pressure.
Adding celery to spinach juice is also a great strategy. This low-calorie dish is a great way to add variety to your high-blood-pressure diet. Celery is a good source of coumarin, which helps lower blood pressure and promotes water balance. It also contains “phthalides,” anticoagulants that reduce the danger of blood clots and strokes. We will create this excellent superfood in the section of recipes.
Prevents Iron Deficiency
There are two kinds of dietary iron: heme and non-heme iron. Plants and iron-fortified foods provide non-heme iron. Heme iron, on the other hand, is derived from animal sources. The body does not as easily absorb non-heme iron.
A healthcare provider will prescribe medicine or elemental iron to treat anemia, depending on a precise diagnosis. Iron deficiency treatment has different therapeutic options. However, a person's iron consumption can still be increased through the foods and beverages they consume.
Spinach juice includes a significant amount of iron, which can help control anemia and minimize its likelihood of developing. Iron deficiency anemia is more common in children, pregnant women, and menstruating women; hence an iron-rich diet is typically recommended for persons who fall into these groups.
According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, boosting a person's vitamin C intake can aid iron absorption. Thus, the addition of citrus fruits like oranges and grape juices, kiwi, strawberries, and guava can help boost the amount of iron the body can absorb.
Intake of spinach or its derivatives provides 36 percent of your daily iron needs per cooked cup. Eating spinach is recommended as part of an anemia preventive or treatment program.
Good Supplement During Pregnancy
Spinach is a good source of folate for pregnant women and those of child-bearing age.
Folate is required for brain development in a fetus, as a deficiency can cause birth defects such as a cleft palate and spina bifida.
Because it's difficult for women to acquire enough folic acid from diet alone, the CDC recommends taking 400 micrograms in pregnant women or women planning to conceive. However, spinach can help you get more folic acid, with one cooked cup providing 66 percent of your daily pre-pregnancy folate needs.
Iron in spinach is also as important as folate during pregnancy. As the mother's volume of blood expands to accommodate the fetus, it needs more iron. The intake of spinach may provide this during pregnancy.
Spinach, which is also high in vitamins A and C, may aid in immune system strengthening. Spinach can help you meet your daily vitamin A requirements, which are essential for nourishing both the mother’s health and the baby's neurological system. Because vitamin A is needed for good fetal lung development and can be transferred through breastfeeding, spinach intake should be continued after birth.
Regular intake of spinach juice can also help you meet your daily vitamin B requirements, also critical for the baby’s nerve functions.
Pregnant women must consume spinach in moderation. The recommended intake is one serving of spinach or half a cup a day. In excess, it may cause diarrhea, abdominal cramps, bleeding, and prolonged labor.
Good for Skin Care
Fine lines, wrinkles, and dark patches are the accumulative aging process acquired over the years. These changes may be inevitable, but they sure are unwelcome. Spinach juice might just be the answer to your skincare woes.
Spinach contains a lot of vitamin A, which helps to hydrate the skin and hair by regulating oil production in the pores and hair follicles. A build-up of these oils can cause acne.
Vitamin A is a component of retinoids, which are commonly used in anti-aging skin treatments. It is required for the production and healthy development of all human tissues, including skin and hair.
Vitamin C can also help to keep skin looking young and aid in wound healing. Also, adequate vitamin C intake, which spinach can help provide, is required to form and maintain collagen, which gives skin and hair structure.
Spinach juice may work wonders for your skin, hair, and scalp health.
Nutritional Value of Spinach Juice
The nutrition facts for 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of raw spinach are:
Protein: 2.9 grams
Carbohydrates: 3.6 grams
Sugar: 0.4 grams
Fiber: 2.2 grams
Fat: 0.4 grams
Most of the carbs in spinach consist of fiber, which is incredibly healthy. Spinach also contains small amounts of sugar, mainly in the form of glucose and fructose.
Spinach is high in insoluble fiber. It adds bulk to stool as food passes through the digestive system. This may help prevent constipation. It is also this fiber that contributes to the healthy digestive functions of the gut.
Vitamins and Minerals
Spinach is an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals, including:
Spinach is high in carotenoids, which your body can turn into vitamin A. The body cannot synthesize vitamin A. It must be acquired from food, drink, or supplements. It helps in immune function, reproduction, healthy vision, skin health, and growth and development of children. Each half-cup of boiled spinach provides 573 mcg of vitamin A, 64% of the daily need.
This vitamin is a powerful antioxidant that promotes skin health and immune function. A 100-gram serving of spinach provides 28.1 milligrams of vitamin C or 34% of the daily need.
This vitamin is essential for blood clotting. Notably, one spinach leaf contains over half of your daily needs. Vitamin K is not destroyed in significant amounts, even during cooking or juicing.
This nutrient is also known as folate or vitamin B9 and is vital for pregnant women and essential for normal cellular function and tissue growth.
Spinach is an excellent source of this essential mineral. Iron helps create hemoglobin, which brings oxygen to your body’s tissues. The body's ability to use energy efficiently might be harmed by a lack of iron in the diet. Each half a cup of spinach provides 17% of the daily need for iron. To increase absorption, combine vitamin-C-rich foods like citrus fruits with plant iron-rich foods like spinach.
This mineral is essential for bone health and a crucial signaling molecule for your nervous system, heart, and muscles. Each cup of spinach contains about 250 milligrams of calcium. However, only 10% of its calcium is absorbed compared to calcium from dairy sources. Calcium in spinach is, therefore, less bioavailable.
Potassium is found in all your body's cells. Potassium can break down into ions and conduct electricity as an electrolyte. It is necessary for the contraction of skeletal and smooth muscles and appropriate muscular, cardiac, and digestive functions.
It collaborates with sodium to keep your body's electrolyte and fluid balance in check. Potassium also aids in the reduction of blood pressure and the risk of stroke.
Per cup of cooked spinach, there is 839 mg of potassium. In comparison, one cup of sliced banana contains only roughly 539 mg of potassium.
This is required for energy metabolism, muscle and neuron function, a normal heart rhythm, a healthy immune system, and blood pressure regulation. Spinach gives 19% of the daily recommended intake of magnesium.
Spinach also contains several other vitamins like B6, B9, and E. The B complexes also help maintain nerve function. Vitamin E is also an antioxidant.
Spinach contains several essential plant compounds, including:
This compound is linked to improved eye health.
This antioxidant may decrease your risk of cancer and chronic diseases.
Spinach contains high amounts of nitrates, which may promote heart health.
This antioxidant may ward off infection and inflammation. Spinach is one of the richest dietary sources of quercetin.
Like lutein, zeaxanthin can also improve eye health.
Popeye might have just exaggerated it when his muscles get more prominent when he takes a can of spinach. What’s for sure is that spinach juice benefits not just muscular function but also general well-being.
Food and Drug Interactions
As it is rich in vitamin K, spinach can interfere with blood thinners like warfarin if consumed in significant amounts. If you're on blood thinners, talk to your doctor before adding spinach juice to your regular regimen.
When buying store-bought juices, sift through the labels because some varieties may include a lot of added sugar.
The diet of those with kidney problems should include a low-potassium, low-phosphorus meal plan; therefore, spinach consumption should be limited and addressed with your registered dietitian.
Furthermore, if you have a history of kidney stones, you should avoid spinach because it is high in oxalates, a natural plant chemical preventing calcium absorption. Calcium stones, which are primarily calcium oxalates, can be formed as a result.
Finally, spinach juice should not be used as a meal substitute because it lacks many elements required for a balanced diet. Instead, drink it as a supplement to a healthy diet, along with a variety of other complete fruits and vegetables.
The Best Way to Consume
Cooking vegetables removes most of their nutritional content, so consuming them raw whenever possible is the best way. This is not the case with spinach, however. Spinach can be eaten in a variety of ways but still preserving its natural benefits. You can cook it, steam it, boil it, or puree it to make a juice or smoothie out of it.
In fact, the antioxidant and mineral content of some vegetables, including spinach, can be increased by cooking them. The cell walls of vegetables break down more easily when heated, releasing vitamins and minerals. Cooking also releases minerals in spinach, increasing the body's potassium, calcium, iron, and magnesium.
There is no hard rule on the amount of cooking time needed for it to retain its nutrients.
Researchers, however, discovered that the longer spinach is heated, whether by boiling or steaming, the less lutein it retains.
Due to these differences, making juice out of raw spinach may offer you the best way to take advantage of its nutrients. There are even growing trends among health experts to suggest smoothies.
Spinach Juice Recipes
Technically, when we talk of "spinach juice" we refer to only the juice extracted from spinach. It's quite different from a spinach smoothie, as they are often used interchangeably. If you use a blender, you'll be making green smoothies with spinach, not juice. A smoothie retains more fiber — unlike the spinach juice where the nutrients will be largely in liquid form and contain almost no fiber.
We add some fruits and greens that add up to the health benefits of spinach.
25 to 30 spinach (palak) leaves
20 mint sprigs, with the leaves
15 coriander sprigs (dhania), with the leaves
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. jal jeera powder (optional)
crushed ice to serve
- Blend all of the ingredients until smooth, adding a little water if necessary.
- Using a strainer or muslin cloth, strain the juice.
- Mix in the lemon juice and jal jeera powder thoroughly.
- Pour the juice over some crushed ice in two glasses. Serve immediately to reap the full benefits of spinach juice.
½ cup mango cubes fresh or frozen
1 frozen banana
1 cup spinach leaves
2 tsp matcha powder
½ cup milk
- In a blender, combine the milk and matcha powder and blend until smooth.
- Blend in the spinach leaves, frozen banana, and mango until the mixture is smooth.
- Chill the matcha smoothie before serving.
This recipe is part of the green juice diet we mentioned in the beginning. A three-day juice cleanse, also known as “juice fast,” is a three-day-long detox diet where you consume only vegetable and fruit juices.
This recipe is linked to weight loss, which you can incorporate into your meal plan as a replacement. Greens, beets, carrots, celery, lemon and lime, apple, or pineapple are some fruits and vegetables that can be used as freshly squeezed juices.
One of the drawbacks of a juice cleanse is the lack of fiber. Also, this juice cleanse is not applicable to everyone. Thus, those with comorbidities may need to consult with their doctor first.
What you will need:
2 celery stalks
1 ½ cup spinach
½ cup lettuce leaves (romaine, butterhead and green leaf varieties)
1 large cucumber
½ an apple
2 massive kale leaves
- Scrub and thoroughly wash the vegetables, especially the leafy ones.
- Cucumber, celery, and apple should all be chopped up. Remember to remove the seeds from the apple before eating it.
- Combine all of the ingredients in a juicer or blender and blend until smooth.
- Simply pour out the juice and consume it.
Reap the Wealth of Benefits in a Cup of Spinach
Health is indeed wealth. And while we all have answers to what keeps us healthy, some healthy choices are simple and abundant in the environment. As we took a closer look at this green leafy vegetable, we realized it had been known to humankind for decades for its health benefits.
It helps support bone health, promotes a healthy pregnancy, and maintains healthy blood pressure and heart health. Aside from these, it can also be incorporated into your skincare regimen. Don’t take your spinach for granted. It is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that support healthy body functions. They also help heal.
Popeye may have left the small screen, but he sure made a mark with his can full of spinach — the can with many health benefits.