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Going green with spinach

Be it heart or breath, brains or brawn, the leafy vegetable proves its magic on all.

health and fitness Updated: Mar 09, 2007 15:20 IST

Popeye the sailor is one smart man. His fixation with spinach means he gets vitamin K, vitamin A, man ganese, folate, magnesium, iron, vitamin C, vitamin B2, calcium, potassium and vitamin B6 by the truckload.

And he most probably knows that spinach is also a very good source of dietary fibre, copper, protein, phosphorous, zinc and vitamin E. Besides, it’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids, niacin and selenium.

Beat the growth These green leaves have some 13 different flavonoid compounds — all anti-cancer agents. In fact, a carotenoid found in spinach has been found to fight prostate cancer.

Making no bones The vitamin K provided — almost 200 per cent of the daily value — in one cup of spinach is very healthy for the bones. Vitamin K1 activates osteocalcin, the major non-collagen protein in bone. Spinach is also a good source of other bone-building nutrients like calcium and magnesium.

Catch your breath Spinach also keeps asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis at bay thanks to the anti-inflammatory properties of Vitamin C.

It’s all in the heart The high amount of vitamin A and vitamin C in spinach, both important anti-oxidants, prevent cholesterol from being oxidised and sticking to the arteries. Folate in spinach reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Magnesium helps lower high blood pressure and protects against heart diseases as well. Inside out Vitamin C and Vitamin A in spinach protect colon cells from DNA damage and mutations. Even when they are exposed to cancer-causing chemicals.

Brawn and brains Spinach also helps protect the brain from oxidative stress and reduces the effects of age-related decline in brain function. Pumping iron Compared to iron from red meat, cooked spinach provides a lot more iron and is totally fat-free.

E-mail author: insiya.amir@hindustantimes.com

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