Health Benefits of English Spinach:
Famously loved by Popeye, who credited it with his legendary strength, spinach packs a punch as a blood builder and energy tonic.
There is a long list of reasons to love spinach. A cup of cooked spinach contains only 41 calories, but provides around a sixth of your daily fibre requirements along with an impressive collection of vitamins and minerals, including folic acid, calcium, iron, selenium, zinc, manganese, magnesium, potassium, beta-carotene, vitamins C and K, the B-group vitamins, and the antioxidant carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin.
Eyes: Spinach contains exceptional quantities of beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, free radical-fighting antioxidant carotenoids that are very beneficial for your eyes. In particular, research has shown that lutein and zeaxanthin act as filters to protect the retina and lens from harmful effects of light. The lutein and zeaxanthin found in spinach can reduce your risk of cataracts by 20 percent and macular degeneration by 40 percent.
Lungs: Spinach is an important source of nitrate, which is converted by the body into nitric oxide, a compound necessary for facilitating blood flow. The role of nitrates in health is an emerging area of scientific interest; a study in Free Radical Biology & Medicine has shown that eating an amount of sodium nitrate equivalent to that found in 100-300g of spinach for just two days significantly improves lung function during exercise and delays muscular exhaustion.
Cancer prevention: There is some evidence that eating spinach frequently may reduce the risk of breast cancer and some types of liver cancer, while lab studies show spinach extracts stop cancer cell production in human stomach cells and animal studies have also found they reduce some types of skin cancer.
Healthy babies: Spinach is a good source of folic acid, best known for preventing neural tube defects in babies. Be aware that although spinach is a good source of this critical nutrient, it is not very bio-available, so you will probably only absorb around 30 percent of it. This means you are unlikely to get all the folic acid you need from eating spinach and other foods, and you should take a folic acid supplement as well.