Nutritional Values and Health Benefits of African Spinach (Green)

African spinach is dark green leafy vegetables found in most African countries specifically in the western part of Africa.

African spinach contains important nutrients such as fibre, vitamins (niacin, vitamin A, folate, vitamin C and B6), minerals (calcium, iron, manganese, potassium, zinc, and magnesium), riboflavin and thiamine, including carotenoids such as beta-carotene among others which have been studies and found beneficial to human health in several ways.

 

16 Interesting Health Benefits of African Spinach are as follows:

1.   Improves Digestion

African spinach is rich in fibre and water content, and also calories free making it very good for the digestive tract. This vegetable helps in digestion, prevent or relieve constipation as well.

Adding African spinach to your daily meal helps a lot in promoting a healthy digestive tract.

 

2.   Rich source of Zinc

The presence of important minerals such as zinc in the vegetable serves as an immune system defensive agent that helps to fight against certain diseases causing infections in the immune system.

Foods rich in zinc aids in supporting optimum immune function. It helps the immune system fight off colds and sore throat and also helps in quick recovery from illness, injury or surgery.

Zinc keeps the immune system strong. Therefore regular intake of African spinach contributes a lot in boosting your immune system.

 

3.    Improves Eyesight

They contain important antioxidants such as lutein, xanthene and beta-carotene that help to improve eyesight and prevent the eyes from the effect of ultraviolet rays that can cause cataracts as well as vitamin A deficiency.

Also, zeaxanthin and lutein contained in African spinach aids in preventing cataracts and macular degeneration that can lead to blindness Regular consumption of African spinach helps greatly protecting our eyes from the damage caused by sunlight, thereby promoting a healthy eye.

 

4.        Acts as Anti-Ulcerative

Spinach contains some anti-ulcer properties that help to prevent the body from gastric ulcers.

Studies have shown that spinach and some other vegetables are capable of protecting the mucous membrane of the stomach, thereby reducing the occurrence of gastric ulcers.

Also, the glycoglycerolipids contained in spinach helps in increasing the strength of the digestive tract lining, thereby preventing unwanted inflammation in the body.

Therefore consuming spinach daily will help in protecting the body from a gastric ulcer.

 

5.     Promotes Healthy Bone

Regular intake of spinach helps to improve skeletal and bone health because it contains certain minerals associated with bone health such as calcium and magnesium.

Spinach is also a good source of vitamin K that is responsible for retaining calcium in the bone matrix, thereby resulting in bone mineralization.

Spinach is also rich in minerals like zinc, phosphorus, copper, manganese and magnesium that help in the building of a strong bone and preventing osteoporosis.

These minerals are also important for maintaining healthy nails and teeth. Consume spinach today for a strong and healthy bone.

 

6.    Improves Metabolism

African spinach helps in metabolism improvement because it contains the amount of protein needed in the body which the enzymes convert into amino acid which in turn gives normal structure to the body cells.

Also, the reformed mammal protein helps in the development and growth of muscle.

They help in increasing the body’s healing ability and provides a boost to the entire metabolism, thereby leading to the optimal function of the organs. Consuming spinach will contribute greatly in boosting metabolism.

 

7.    Rich Source of Chlorophyll

African spinach Contains chlorophyll just as most vegetables do. This chlorophyll has a key role to play in the body system boosting the amount of oxygen in the body, blood cleansing and building.

Chlorophyll also has the ability to regenerate at the cellular and molecular level and is known to aid in cleansing the body, help heal wounds, fights infections and promote the health of immune, digestive, circulatory and detoxification systems.

Regular consumption of spinach aids in increasing the number of red blood cells and an increase in the utilization of oxygen in the body.

 

8.   Promotes Healthy brain

Spinach has important contents such as folate, potassium and others that correct issues relating to cognitive depreciation and reduce the occurrence of Alzheimer's disease.

This implies that regular eating of this vegetable reduces the occurrence and offer gradual corrections to already existing neural problems.

Spinach helps in maintaining proper function of the brain during old age. Regular consumption of spinach makes your brain active and young and also helps in correcting cognitive issues.

 

9.   Good for Weight Loss

Spinach is an excellent food for weight loss because of its low fat and calories content.

It has a good quality of fat-soluble dietary fibre and it’s very nutritious. This fibre helps in weight loss through proper digestion, lowering blood sugar levels, preventing constipation and curbs overheating.

It is a good food for those who are trying to lose or maintain their weight. Adding spinach to your daily diet will help greatly in weight maintenance.

 

10.  Promotes a Healthy Heart

Consuming spinach helps in preventing a heart attack due to its richness in lutein that prevents the thickening of the walls arteries, thereby preventing atherosclerosis that is caused due to hardening of the arteries.

Also spinach proteins aids in reducing the cholesterol and other fat deposits in the blood vessels.

Spinach contains a high content of nitrite that helps in preventing the occurrence of heart attack and also prevents the body from heart diseases associated with fat deposition.

Therefore the intake of spinach regularly contributes to a healthy heart.

 

11.   Maintains Blood Pressure Levels

Spinach has a very low content of sodium and high content of potassium which is very beneficial for people suffering from high blood pressure, as potassium lowers and sodium increases the blood pressure.

Also, the presence of folate in spinach contributes to the reduction of hypertension and relaxes the blood vessels, thereby maintaining the proper flow of blood. Therefore consuming spinach regularly helps in maintaining good blood pressure levels.

 

12.  Prevents Anaemia

Consuming spinach regularly can help in preventing anaemia due to its rich iron content.

As iron deficiency leads to anaemia. Iron is also essential for menstruating women and growing children. It provides fewer calories and is free from cholesterol and fat.

Iron is essential in the body for good energy, as it is a component of haemoglobin which transfers oxygen to the body cells. Adequate intake of iron-rich foods can go a long way in the prevention of anaemia and consuming regularly can be of help.

 

13.  Good for the Skin

Spinach is an excellent food for the skin; it is loaded with vitamins A, C, E and K as well as important minerals that play a vital role in skin care.

It helps in treating acne, its richness in vitamin B also aids in protecting the skin from the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays that lead to skin cancer, sun damage and premature skin ageing.

Spinach is packed with tons of antioxidants that destroy free radicals in the body; eating spinach will also help in reducing age-related degeneration, thereby making your skin look younger and radiant. 

 

14.  Promotes Hair growth

Spinach is packed with nutrients and antioxidants that contribute to healthy hair. It’s rich in vitamins B, C and E, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium and omega-3 fatty acids are required for a healthy hair growth.

The presence of iron also helps the red blood cells in carrying oxygen to hair follicles which are important for strong strands and healthy hair growth.

Deficiency of iron causes anaemia that leads to hair loss. It’s rich in folate helps in producing red blood cells and iron helps them carry oxygen, thereby preventing hair loss. Therefore adding spinach to daily diet will contribute a lot to the health of your hair.

 

15.    Prevents Cancer

Spinach contains various minerals that can help in the prevention and treatment of cancer.

It is rich in flavonoids which a phytonutrient with anti-cancer properties. Spinach has been found effective in reducing cell division in human stomach and skin cancer cells.

Various constituents in spinach like folate, chlorophyll, tocopherol help in the treatment and prevention of cancer.

Consuming spinach regularly will help in reducing the risk of prostate cancer and prevents breast cancer also.

Spinach helps in suppressing the formation of cancer and it contains a high content of antioxidants that helps in cancer prevention. Therefore it is advisable you consume spinach regularly, as it will help in combating cancer. 

 

16.  Relaxes the Body

Spinach helps in reducing stress and keeps the body relaxed. It contains a good amount of magnesium and zinc which enables you to sleep well at night.

Good quality sleep aids in resting your tired eyes, thereby relaxing the entire body.

Magnesium also aids in replenishing your body with energy. Regular consumption of spinach helps greatly in keeping your body relaxed and completely stress-free.   

 

Nutritional Values of Spinach

 

Nutrients

Amount

Energy

24 Kcal

Carbohydrates

3.63 g

Protein

2.86 g

Total fat

0.39 g

Cholesterol

0 mg

Dietary Fiber

2.2 g

Folates

194 µg

Niacin

0.725 mg

Pantothenic acid

0.064 mg

pyridoxine

0.196 mg

Riboflavin

0.188 mg

Thiamin

0.075 mg

Vitamin A

9376 IU

Vitamin C

28.1 mg

Vitamin K

482.9 µg

Vitamin E       

2.01 mg

Sodium

78 mg

Potassium

556 mg

Calcium

97 mg

Copper

0.130 mg

Iron

2.72 mg

Magnesium

80 mg

Manganese

0.896 mg

Zinc

0.55 mg

Lutein-zeaxanthin

12190 µg

Crypto-xanthin-ß

0 µg

Carotene-ß

5625 µg

 

Benefits of eating Spinach Everyday

Consuming spinach every day is very beneficial to your health because of its numerous minerals and nutrients contained in it.

Spinach is a rich source of plant-based omega-3s and folate, which helps in reducing the chances of stroke, heart diseases and osteoporosis.

Consuming spinach regularly also aids in boosting blood flow, thereby helping to protect you against age-related sexual issues.

Spinach is also loaded with lutein, a compound that fights against macular degeneration which may be help sex drive.

Therefore regular consumption of spinach contributes positively to our health because it is packed with lots of nutrients.

 

Side Effects

Spinach is known to be one of the healthiest vegetables that should be included in our diet as a staple food.

It is loaded with nutrients and provides numerous health and medicinal benefits. But excessive consumption can be dangerous as it has some side effects.

Spinach is rich in dietary fibre, though fibre is good for healthy digestion too much of it can lead to stomach disorders like bloating, gas formation in the abdomen and constipation when eaten in excess.

Excessive consumption of spinach also leads to gastrointestinal distress. Spinach also contains a high amount of purines which is a group of organic compounds that get converted to uric acid when it is been ingested into the body.

It is highly bad for the health of the kidney because the presence of excessive uric acid can boost the precipitation of calcium in the kidney, which may result in small to medium-sized kidney stones.

Consuming spinach excessively also can affect the teeth due to the presence of oxalic acid that forms small crystals which do not dissolve in water, and can lead to your teeth turning a bit coarse after consuming it.

Also, people, who are prone to diseases like gouty arthritis, should avoid excessive intake of spinach due to its high in purines that increases the amount of uric acid and can cause the development of serious joint pain, swelling and inflammation.  

Spinach also can cause allergies reactions too. The vegetables which contain histamine can cause some pseudoallergic effects.  

Consuming spinach is beneficial to our health but too much of it has its own effects on our health. So you have to very careful while using spinach in your daily diet. You can balance it with other nutritional ingredients to live a healthy life.

 

Conclusion

African Spinach is an important vegetable used for cooking and other culinary purposes.

It contains a high value of various important constituents that are found worthy of benefiting the overall human health by treating certain diseases, correcting health issues and managing good health.

This vegetable is better eaten when boiled to a certain temperature while the constituents still remain active to perform their functions. 



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