What is spinach?
There were reasons that Popeye ate his spinach all the time. I’m sure he knew the connection between spinach and diabetes. Growing up watching Popeye eat his spinach gave me the incentive too. It’s my favorite of all the vegetables! It is another superfood that helps to lower blood sugar. Spinach is a plant that has many nutrients.
It is a superfood that not only has these nutrients, it has low calories and also contains vitamins, iron, minerals, and protein. In fact it provides you with a lot more vitamin A and vitamin K than the daily requirements, more than 30% of your magnesium requirement, and nearly every bit of folate and maganese that your body needs every day.
Because spinach has so many beneficial properties, it’s wise to eat spinach on a regular basis. It is one of the most beneficial and healthiest foods you can eat. Since I love spinach so much, it’s easy for me to talk about it and that’s just what I will do here. I want to tell you why spinach should be a big part of your diet.
Nutritional value and content of spinach (1 cup)- 40 calories
Minerals % Daily value
- Potassium 167 mg 5%
- Copper 0 mg 2%
- Magnesium 23.7 mg 6%
- Manganese 0.3 mg 13%
- Sodium 23.7 mg 1%
- Iron 0.8 mg 5%
- Zinc 0.2 mg 1%
- Calcium 29.7 mg 3%
- Phosphorus 14.7 mg 1%
Vitamins % Daily value
- Folate 58.2 mg 15%
- Riboflavin 0.1 mg 3%
- Thiamin 0.0 mg 2%
- Vitamin A 2813 IU 56%
- Vitamin C 8.4 mg 14%
- Vitamin E 0.6 mg 3%
- Vitamin B6 0.1 mg 3%
- Vitamin K 145 mcg 181%
Iron: Since one cup of spinach contains about 5% of iron, it’s beneficial because it gives men 80% of the recommended daily allowance and 35 % to women. Your tissues require oxygen and the protein in red blood cells otherwise known as hemoglobin helps to do this. Iron is important for your body.
Water: Were you aware that spinach has a high content of water? One cup of spinach has 5 ounces of water. Why does this matter? Because the cells of your skin are made up of water. By getting plenty of water will aid in keeping the cells of your skin hydrated. The result will be your skin looking younger and glowing. I’m all for that. After all, your skin is the largest organ in your body. Your other organs may not show on the outside but your skin sure does!
Vitamin C: This vitamin is not stored in your body therefore it needs to come from your daily diet. The growth and repair of your skin cells is dependent on the antioxidants from vitamin C. Spinach happens to be rich in vitamin C so do as Popeye did, eat your spinach!
Magnesium: Magnesium in spinach is responsible for healing infections and wounds of the skin. It’s another important ingredient in your good health and is necessary for maintaining your blood pressure, heart rhythm, a healthy immune system, and nerve and muscle function.
Vitamin A: Spinach is rich in vitamin A too. You get over 50% of your daily requirement in one cup of spinach. But beware because too much vitamin A may lead to being toxic.
Why spinach is beneficial for you
- Blood pressure- Because hypertension can cause stroke, heart problems, and kidney disease, it’s necessary to lower your blood pressure. Spinach has nutrients that reduce anxiety and stress. This is important because high stress levels are dangerous for your health. Because of the vitamin C and vitamin K in spinach, they are able to help to lower your blood pressure.
- Immunity booster- Your immune system is what protects you from the bad guys trying to invade your body and also keeps you alive and well. Anything that helps to boost your immune system is always a good choice. If your immune system is “happy” then you’re happy too.
- Sun screen- Vitamin B protects you from the sun and its ultra violet rays. These rays are known to cause skin cancer, premature aging of your skin, and cause sun damage too. You don’t want any of these things and sure don’t want your skin looking like shoe leather either. Vitamin B helps so eat your spinach.
- Repairing skin- Again, vitamin C is vital to the growth and repair of skin cells. Vitamin A helps to better your skin tone. Since spinach is loaded with nutrients and antioxidants, they will help your complexion and help to make your skin look dazzling.
- Become stronger- How do you think Popeye got those muscles? It sure doesn’t mean that a can of spinach will automatically make your forearms bulge! LOL But spinach does increase producing more protein in your muscles resulting in them becoming more efficient and stronger too. So I guess the answer to whether or not Popeye was on to something is a definite yes!
- Heart protection- You do want to protect your heart, don’t you? Omega 3 fatty acids benefit your heart. Were you aware that your body cannot produce these essential fats? The only way is to get them from the foods that we eat. Front and center: SPINACH! Omega 3’s have been connected to aiding in preventing stroke, lupus, cancer, eczema, and to the strongest studies heart disease. So I guess Popeye never saw a cardiologist. Get the picture?
- Appetite control- Fiber helps to control your appetite. Well the fact of the mater is that spinach alone contains 10% of your daily recommended allowance. A high fiber diet has so many benefits including controlling your blood sugar, helping to attain a healthy weight, sustain a healthy bowel system, and lower your cholesterol levels.
- Blood circulation- Spinach is high in vitamin K with 987% of your daily recommended allowance and that promotes healthy blood and circulation. You want your blood to circulate without problems because otherwise it leads to many health issues. In addition, vitamin K will protect your bones against osteoporosis. Eat your spinach and start walking to help your blood circulation even more.
- Asthma prevention- Asthma is something that can not only be uncomfortable but downright scary. If you do have any problems with breathing or asthma attacks, then get to the spinach right away! Spinach has properties that are anti-asthmatic and they are: vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin C.
- Brain food- You can slow down brain function due to the decline in your age by eating leafy green vegetables such as spinach. Research revealed that eating spinach once daily held off dementia and stopped mental decline by as much as ten years.
- Vision booster- Just one cup a day of spinach provides you with a full day’s supply of vitamin A. Providing good vision and aiding in the growth of your cells comes from the beta-carotene in vitamin A found in spinach and other plants. Cataracts and macular degeneration can be prevented by phytochemicals in spinach. Take care of your eyes because they are that important.
- Cancer fighter- Any dark leafy green vegetable (especially spinach) has very powerful cancer fighting properties. This is believed to be because of the vegetables and fruits pigments providing their color otherwise known as carotenoids. These carotenoids have also be connected and credited to preventing other cancers such as: stomach, skin, lung, throat, breast, and mouth cancers. Stick with the greens for sure and make sure spinach is at the top of the list.
- Iron- Iron is important for you because a lack of it can cause fatigue and can affect many parts in your body. Low levels of iron can lead to iron-deficiency anemia. Spinach and its’ iron content can help you maintain healthy nails, cells, hair, and skin.
- Inflammation- Fighting inflammation will aid in decreasing the chances of developing cancer and growth and in addition helps in controlling asthma, arthritis, and migraine headaches. Anti-inflammatory properties contained in spinach have results that are connected to its carotenoids and flavonoids. Studies revealed that spinach has a dozen or more flavonoid compounds with anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory positive actions.
- Prostate- Spinach has shown exceptional progress against prostate cancer that is aggressive. Its carotenoids decrease the activity of the tumors and spreading of the cancer throughout the body.
- Better sleep- Because spinach contains magnesium and zinc, it relaxes your body and helps you to sleep better at night. You can also revitalize your body’s energy levels because of the magnesium and it works fast! You need a good night’s sleep to be healthy and face the upcoming day.
Spinach and diabetes management
There is alpha-lipoic acid in spinach which is an antioxidant that has been shown to lower blood sugars, help to prevent oxidative stress-induced changes, and increase the sensitivity of insulin in diabetic patients. So basically spinach helps with your blood glucose and diabetes.
Spinach, being rich in minerals and vitamins, can be very beneficial in lowering and controlling your glucose levels to keep them in a normal range and not jumping all over the place. You want your glucose levels normal, not constantly going up and down. That is NOT good.
It’s also low in calories so that prevents too much sugar from entering your bloodstream at once, keeping your sugar down. Vitamin K plays a big role in improving insulin sensitivity and spinach has a LOT of vitamin K in it. One cup has 181% of your daily recommended allowance.
Spinach is loaded with fiber and that helps to promote weight loss, improve glycemic control, lower triglycerides and cholesterol, and decreases the need for insulin. It is also rich in folate which benefits fighting gum diseases which is very common in folks with diabetes.
Too much spinach and the side effects
- Kidney stones- This one is serious. I’ve heard that these are extremely painful so you don’t want too much spinach. Spinach has a large amount of purines.Organic compounds when they enter your body are converted into uric acid. This is bad for the kidneys because it increases the calcium in your kidneys and the result can be stones that can range in size and they can be extremely painful.
- Gout- Again, high in purines which increases the amount of uric acid because the purines get metabolized in our bodies. So if you have anything going on that might be related to gout, you want to watch the excess amounts of spinach.
- Allergic reactions- Spinach contains histamine which can cause some effects, but this is a rarity.
- Diarrhea- The bottom line with fiber is if you way overdo it, then you can have diarrhea and loose bowel movements. You want to get the right amount of fiber each day and not go overboard and you should be okay.
- Anemia- It is possible to get anemia from spinach. It can make it hard for your body to absorb the iron it needs. Since spinach does have plant-based iron, it can be difficult for our body to take it in easily.
My conclusion is that Popeye knew why spinach was good for him and what it could do for his body. So whenever you read about spinach and diabetes, you’ll remember how spinach helps to lower your blood sugar levels and control your diabetes. Spinach is one of the healthiest vegetables and superfoods you can have. It gives you many benefits and helps with diabetes and is a great way to lower your blood sugar the natural way.
I hope that you eat your spinach now that you know how good it is for you. But while spinach is so healthy and beneficial for diabetes, if your sugar levels still need improvement my suggestion would be this! If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to leave them below. I would appreciate it and I will answer you back promptly. Thanks for reading and happy and healthy!