Variety holds an important place in a healthy diet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t eat some nutritious foods on a daily basis. Spinach is one example of a natural, vitamin- and mineral-rich food that may be worth eating every day because of the profound health benefits it can provide.
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Leafy greens tend to have extremely low calorie values per serving, and spinach is no exception. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1 cup of raw spinach has only 7 calories. The same amount offers close to 1 g protein, no fat, 1 g carbohydrates and about 0.7 g fiber. If you want to lose weight, spinach is also worth including in your everyday diet because of its low energy density level. Low energy-dense foods, which have high fiber and water contents and low fat and calorie counts, are best for healthy weight control. Raw, fresh spinach is more than 91 percent water.
Eating spinach on a daily basis can help you meet nutritional recommendations for specific vitamins and minerals. Specifically, registered dietitian Peggy Woodward notes that spinach leaves are high in folate, calcium, vitamin A and vitamin C. Those vitamins and minerals may help prevent serious health conditions, including diabetes, bone loss, cancer, kidney stones, heart attack and stroke, according to ChooseMyPlate.gov.
There is also evidence that eating spinach on a consistent basis can reduce brain damage as a result of natural aging. In May 2005, researchers from the National Institute of Drug Abuse published a study in “Experimental Neurology,” noting that aging rats who had a daily dietary supplement of spinach experienced lower ischemic brain damage levels than rats who did not have the spinach. Researchers extrapolate that the same results could apply to humans, but that has not been proven.
One downside of eating spinach every day is that you may miss out on the nutritional and health benefits that other foods can provide, which is of particular importance if spinach is one of the only vegetables you eat. Specifically, both starchy and nonstarchy vegetables can provide more dietary fiber, beta-carotene, protein and antioxidants than spinach.
There are no negative effects of eating spinach every day. In fact, it can be very healthy to include it in your regular diet. However, if you’re eating spinach at the expense of other healthy foods, you could be missing out on valuable nutrients. For personalized dietary guidance, speak with your physician or a registered dietitian.
- NAL.USDA.gov: Nutrient Data Laboratory
- TasteofHome.com; Does Baby Spinach Have the Same Health Benefits as Regular?; Peggy Woodward, R.D.; 2011
- ChooseMyPlate.gov; Why Is It Important to Eat Vegetables?; May 31, 2011
- "Experimental Neurology"; Dietary Supplementation with Blueberries, Spinach or Spirulina...; Y Wang; May 2005