Botanical: Spinacia oleracea
Family: Chenopodiaceae (goosefoot)
Rich, leafy, dark-green Spinach is said to contain nutrients that enhance our immune systems and combat infection. Its chlorophyll content has long been used to relieve anemia and indigestion and to cleanse the colon, and this vitamin-packed and mineral-rich, health-promoting food is a good source of quick energy. Just think of Popeye the Sailor; he needed his Spinach to make him strong...and so do we! For a healthy body, do not leave Spinach out of your diet!
The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Spinach is a rich, dark-green annual that is cultivated for its edible leaves and grows to approximately two feet in height, bearing large leaves that grow in a cluster from the root. The shrub also produces small flowers that grow in clusters and are followed by spiny, capsule-like fruits containing seeds. Spinach is cultivated easily and is essentially a cool season crop that is grown both in the spring and fall and thrives in well-drained, limed and fertilized soil. Spinach is a native of southwestern Asia, probably near Persia, and it later reached Spain by way of invading Moors around 1100-1200 A.D. Many varieties now grow throughout the world, including the smooth-leafed type or the more common, crinkled "Savoy" variety. In the 1980s, research began to link Spinach with cutting the risks of invading malignancy and enhancing the immune system. Dr. Lai of the University of Texas claimed that the high histidine content in Spinach (and other leafy green vegetables, i.e., cabbage, parsley, mustard greens and broccoli) exhibited definite anti-mutagenic activities, keeping normal body cells from undergoing mutation. The New England Journal of Medicine linked the high beta-carotene content in Spinach and other dark-green, leafy vegetables like broccoli, kale and collards with reducing the risks of developing lung cancer, as well as stomach and mouth cancers. Fresh, young, tender leaves are delicious in salads or steamed as a vegetable, and, of course, its nutritional qualities make it one of nature's most perfect dietary supplements for good health. Spinach is well known as an iron-rich supplement, but other important constituents in Spinach include an exceptionally high beta-carotene content, chlorophyll, zinc, calcium, manganese, fiber, magnesium, potassium, quercetin, B-vitamins, vitamins A, C, E and K.
Spinach has been used for years to help relieve anemic problems. Its high iron content is well known, but its chlorophyll content is, perhaps, even more effective in raising the hemoglobin by helping to build red blood cells.
Research from the 1980s, has linked Spinach with cutting the risks of invading infection and enhancing the immune system. The high histidine and beta-carotene content in Spinach (and other leafy green vegetables, i.e., cabbage, parsley, mustard greens and broccoli) are thought to build and strengthen the immune system and ward off infection and malignant foreign invaders. The chlorophyll content is also one of nature's best ways to detoxify the colon (potentially helping to prevent serious colon problems) and further supports its reputation as an immune system enhancer that gives protection from low levels of radiation, such as TV, computers and microwaves.
Spinach may inhibit age-related macular degeneration of the eye. Medical researchers have speculated that certain nutrients in Spinach (including the carotonoids, but even more so, lutein and zeaxanthin) accounted for the reduction of risk for acquiring the ailment, because they filter out visible blue light. An article in the 1994 Journal of the American Medical Association noted the fact that Spinach may help to protect against, or at least slow, the progress of this eye problem.
In the matter of weight management, Spinach is considered very appropriate - whether boiled, because it retains a high water content, or raw in salads. In 2014, researchers in Sweden's Lund University found that an extract in Spinach green leaf membranes (thylakoids) slow down the digestion process,
thereby giving the intestinal hormones time to be released and communicate to the brain that the body is satisfied. The study demonstrated that the Spinach extract reduced 'hedonic' hunger by as much as 95%. Hedonic hunger simply means that we eat for pleasure (especially sweets) and not to satisfy a biological need.
The chlorophyll in Spinach is a well-known aid to good digestion and is also said to inhibit halitosis. In addition, by helping to detoxify the body, and especially the colon, Spinach prevents pollutants from getting into the bloodstream and helps to improve skin health, combating acne, blemishes and other skin problems.
As a calcium-rich supplement, women may benefit from the calcium content in Spinach, because it helps to combat osteoporosis and bone loss. This quality is also good for healthy skin, teeth, hair and nails.
Spinach is believed to be an effective anti-inflammatory that may relieve the pain of arthritis.
Spinach contains the trace element, manganese, which may be particularly important to diabetics, and both children and adults with diabetes are said to benefit from the use of Spinach.
Spinach is a superior, highly nutritious food that is said to combat fatigue, boost energy levels, increase brain function and reduce age-related, cognitive problems. Spinach is a rich source of Coenzyme Q-10 whose actions resemble those of vitamin E. It may be an even more powerful antioxidant than vitamin E, and it plays a critical role in the production of energy in every cell of the body. Spinach aids circulation, stimulates the immune system, increases tissue oxygenation and has vital anti-ageing effects. It may be beneficial in relieving the temporary symptoms of allergies, asthma and in cases of mental function.
Currently, there are no known warnings or contraindications with the use of Spinach. However, Spinach does contain oxalates and an overabundance of the raw leaves may promote kidney stones or gallstones; therefore, those who have suffered with kidney or liver problems should avoid Spinach. Removal of oxalates in raw Spinach is achieved by cooking in boiling water and changing the water several times before serving.