Spinach is the original superfood. It’s inexpensive, readily available, and fits into a low-carb Keto Zone lifestyle very well: it’s essentially a zero-net-carb food. What’s more, there are many, many health benefits of spinach.
Is spinach the perfect Keto Zone superfood? See for yourself. Here are 6 ways you can add it and 10 proven health benefits of spinach.
One cup of spinach contains just 7 calories, 1.1 grams of carbohydrates, 0.7 grams of fiber (equating to 0.4 grams of net carbs), 1 gram of protein (1). Of note, these macronutrient amounts are typically rounded to the nearest whole number on nutrition labels, equating in 0 net carbs.
It also contains 2,813 IU of vitamin A and 145 mcg of vitamin K.
As you’ll read, these nutrients enable the benefits of spinach to impact your whole body.
Spinach contains alpha-lipoic acid, an antioxidant that improves blood sugars and reduces insulin resistance (improves sensitivity) in animal studies (2).
What’s more, as an antioxidant, it also prevents oxidative stress and decreases peripheral neuropathy (extremely important to anyone who already has diabetes).
What makes spinach green? Chlorophyll.
But chlorophyll does more than provide a vibrant hue, spinach can also reduce the risk of cancer (3). In fact, spinach and other green vegetables have been shown to block the carcinogenic effects of heterocyclic amines (carcinogens potentially produced from grilling foods at a high temperature or charring them) (4).
Believe it or not, spinach can reduce cholesterol levels in the liver, increase healthy fat circulation, and alter the expression of genes associated with fatty liver disease.
First, increases in alpha-, beta-carotene, and lutein reduce total serum cholesterol, glucose, and content of hepatic cholesterol in animal studies.
Next, it also increases the circulation of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA).
Lastly, it alters the metabolism of fatty acids through genes through the overexpression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs).
Together, these actions reduce the effects and incidence of fatty liver disease in animal studies (5).
Healthy blood pressure is dependent on many factors including body weight, stiffness or flexibility of arteries, and overall cardiovascular health.
Minerals play a role in blood pressure as well.
Potassium, which is high in spinach, has been shown to improve high blood pressure.
It balances and reduces the effects of sodium. In fact, low potassium is as dangerous as high sodium when it comes to hypertension. And, if you’re following the Keto Zone diet, it’s important to make sure you consume enough electrolytes every day, including potassium.
For years, experts only thought vitamin K was important for blood clotting. Now, they know there is more to vitamin K than K1 (blood clotting)… there’s also K2.
Vitamin K2 is extremely important for bone density and health, especially in menopausal women. In fact, supplemental vitamin K2, such as that found in Hormone Zone, has been shown to decrease the incidence of bone fractures and improve overall bone health (6).
If you struggle with constipation on or off Keto Zone, spinach may help you find regularity. Spinach contains both fiber and water, both of which promote healthy digestion.
What’s more, it’s prebiotic fibers feed gut bacteria and increase lactobacillus counts, helping them to proliferate and stay healthy (7).
When you think of beta-carotene, you may think of carrots other orange-yellow vegetables.
However, spinach is very high in beta-carotene.
In addition to protective properties and free-radical fighting, beta-carotene may also reduce the risk of asthma. Some studies have found a link between children who eat vegetables high in beta-carotene and reduced risk of asthma.
What’s more, compounds in spinach may reduce respiratory inflammation (9).
Spinach contains another category of health-supportive nutrients called “glycoglycerolipids.” These fat-related molecules help protect the lining of the digestive tract from damage-especially damage related to unwanted inflammation.
Although this is only emerging science at this point, many believe that gut inflammation has implications in the rise of food allergies and food intolerances we are experiencing today.
There are so many health benefits of spinach, you may just want to eat it every day. From bone health to digestion to blood pressure, spinach can improve your health. It’s easy to add, cheap to buy and is essentially a zero-net-carb food.