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Why Is Spinach So Good For You?

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If the reason you know spinach is good for you is because either your mother told you, or you saw Popeye the Sailor down a can before a fight and gain superhuman strength, you might not understand exactly why it’s so good for you. Rest assured, your mom wasn’t lying (although Popeye might have been stretching the truth). Spinach is actually one of the most nutritious and versatile foods you can add to your diet. Here’s why.

INCREDIBLE NUTRIENT-PER-CALORIE COUNT

Three cups of spinach contain about 20 calories. However, those 3 cups also contain almost no fat, 2 grams of protein, 3 grams of carbs, and 2 grams of fiber. On top of that, you get more than 300% of your daily dose of vitamin K, which supports bone growth; 160% of your daily dose of vitamin A; and around 25%–40% of your daily dose of vitamin C, both of which help the immune system function properly.

POTENT PROTECTION AGAINST DISEASE

The abundant antioxidants in spinach mitigate a staggering number of health problems. For starters, spinach has kaempferol, an antioxidant that can protect the body against cancer. Additionally, the antioxidant quercetin, also found in spinach, has been shown to have positive effects on brain health, heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes. Other components of spinach can also improve blood pressure and protect eye health.

VERSATILE IN MEAL PREPARATION

Aside from the more scientific reasons that make spinach a superfood, you can prepare and consume spinach in so many creative ways. You can eat it raw as a part of a salad, throw a few leaves in a smoothie, cook it in stir fry, or bake it into some brownies. If you have a bag of spinach in your fridge, there’s no shortage of ways you can get some of those amazing health benefits. Just don’t expect to suddenly vanquish all your foes like Popeye did.