Spinach: 5 Benefits of Eating This Unspoken Super Food
Many people don't like the taste of spinach and avoid it in foods at all costs. Often times, this intense dislike is much the same one that broccoli gets: as a child, many people were forced to eat it and disliked it then due to either its taste (or lack thereof) and its color. Many Americans haven't had spinach within the last decade due to the simple “I don't like it”, even though many of them will admit in the same breath that their tastes have changed for another food. There is a real fear around spinach – one that has been made from generations of trying to force children to eat this small, unassuming plant.
Many parents encourage their children to eat spinach to help them grow big and strong – the American cartoon Popeye was a large inspiration for this focus on spinach.
This cartoon made spinach famous starting in the 1960s, when Popeye, a sailor, would eat a can of spinach every time he needed to become strong. His muscles would bulge twice their size and he could pull off nearly any feat he set out to.
We've asked the question: if there's so much resistance to eating spinach because it's healthy, how good is it really? Today we'll dive a little deeper and find that out.
But I Don't Like Spinach
Many people don't like spinach because all they've had is the canned spinach as a kid. While canned spinach keeps its nutritional value, it's pumped full of preservatives and vinegar that depletes its taste and gives it the infamous “out of the can” taste. This, we've discovered, is what people tend not to like about spinach's taste. Using frozen spinach is a step up, though it loses slightly more nutritional content. Fortunately, spinach is so packed with folates and nutrients that it doesn't matter much to lose some of the content. If you're looking for taste, fresh spinach – preferably baby spinach – is the way to go. It's virtually tasteless, which means you can combine it in a variety of meals.
If you're still not a big fan of the slight taste that spinach provides, you can easily hide it away in a variety of foods such as pizzas, sauces, soups, smoothies and even your morning breakfast.
Most of the 'taste' you get from spinach is actually the color – in fact, our taste depends on the color in many different foods without us realizing it.
Why Is It So Great?
Spinach is packed with many different nutrients such as fiber, protein, B6, folate, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, and many others. This small little plant is quite nutritionally packed for being so unassuming. You can expect several different health benefits from spinach, from keeping your cholesterol low, protecting your colon, maintaining your brain function and much more. Spinach is easy to place into almost any meal, too. Since it has a high moisture content, it cooks down and provides a healthy alternative to many other foods. Take spinach and artichoke dip for example, or even creamed spinach. These foods make a great party dip and they're healthy alternatives to many artificial queso and dips.
Spinach is very notable for improving anemic blood conditions, where your blood has a lower than normal amount of red blood cells or hemoglobin. This is also known as an iron-deficiency. Iron, found in several foods, though especially rich in spinach, can help strengthen the hemoglobin and increase the amount of red blood cells found in your body. Often times anemia can result in feeling weak and chronically tired or fatigued.
- Healthy Bones, Healthy Body
Spinach is also high in vitamin K, which helps strengthen and keep your bones healthy. Spinach also helps keep your calcium levels in check and provides better calcium absorption. This is incredible for people who are deficient in calcium because your body is naturally less and less able to absorb calcium as time goes on. Spinach can be a key factor in helping prevent and maintain this.
- Glowing Skin and Hair
Spinach is wonderful for keeping your skin and hair healthy thanks to a high vitamin A content. Vitamin A helps produce a compound called sebum which will keep your hair moisturized and aid in reducing hair loss and helps aid the development of new body tissues such as skin and hair. This means that not only will it keep you glowing, it's fantastic at helping you heal faster and potentially look younger thanks to skin regrowth and fuller hair.
- Thyroid Health
Spinach is high in iodine content, and often recommended to people who are suffering from problems with their thyroid glands. This may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to essential nutrients the body needs, but the thyroid absorbs iodine to create thyroid hormones and keep your body and emotions balanced. This nutrient can be hard to find in other foods – even the iodized salt you may have in your pantry often has a message in fine print stating “this is not a sufficient source of iodine.”