7 Health Benefits of Spinach: The Real Reasons Why This Veggie is Popeye’s Favorite Food

Health Benefits of Spinach are pretty impressive! Most popularly as the source of Popeye’s strength – there is much lore regarding this vegetable. When faced with some trouble, Popeye, the pipe-smoking sailor man, would burst open a tin of spinach. One eaten, his biceps would bulge and Popeye’s new found strength would see him overwhelmed all the enemies.

Spinach (or Spinacia oleracea) is a green flowering plant that belongs to the family Amaranthaceae, which is native to western and central Asia 1 . It has a bright and vibrant-looking leaves that aren’t just more appealing to the eye, but more nourishing, too. Some recent research has proven that spinach leaves that look vital and fully alive have greater concentrations of Vitamin C than spinach leaves which are quite pale in color.

Spinach Nutrition Facts spinach nutrition

According to the United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service,

1 cup of raw spinach contains about 2 :

  • 27 calories
  • 30 milligrams calcium
  • 24 milligrams magnesium
  • 81 grams’ iron
  • 86 grams’ protein
  • 167 milligrams potassium
  • 58 milligrams folate
  • 2813 IUs of Vitamin A

Most of the calories in this green vegetable come from protein.

Furthermore, spinach is one of the greatest sources of dietary potassium: evaluating in at 839 mg per 1 cup (cooked). Just to compare: 1 cup of banana has around 539 mg potassium.

Spinach is an amazing non-heme source of iron, along with eggs, tuna, and lentils.

A lack of iron in your diet can affect how capably your body uses energy. This leafy veggie contains about 250 mg calcium per cup (cooked), though, it’s less easily absorbed than calcium from some sources as dairy products. Plus, spinach has an impressive oxalate content that binds to calcium deeming it unattainable for usage in the body.

When it is all said and done, the body can only absorb around 5% (around 12.5 mg per cup) of the calcium in spinach whereas the absorption amount from calcium in milk is around 28% (or 300mg of calcium in 1 cup of milk at bioavailability levels of 28% could provide 84 mg per cup).

Moreover, spinach contains fiber, vitamin K, thiamine, and phosphorus. It’s also one of the greatest sources of dietary magnesium that is necessary for energy metabolism, maintaining heart rhythm, blood pressure, nerve, and muscle function, and a healthy immune system. Magnesium also plays an essential role in hundreds more biochemical reactions which occur in our bodies.

People with digestive disorders, older adults, alcoholic, and those taking medications such as diuretics and antibiotics are more likely to have a magnesium deficiency and must eat more spinach and other leafy greens.

Do you think you are not taking enough magnesium from your food? Here are some magnesium rich-foods that you can include in your diet:

Health benefits of Spinach

Spinach is a superfood loaded with numerous nutrients in a low calorie package. Spinach nutrition, as well as the nutritional value of the other dark leafy greens, is significant for bone, hair, and skin health, and provide iron, protein, minerals, and vitamins. Here are some of the best spinach health benefits:

  1. Cancer

All green leafy vegetables have chlorophyll that has shown to be excellent at blocking the carcinogenic effect of heterocyclic amines that are produced when grilling foods at a high temperature.

  1. Diabetes

Spinach contain alpha-lipoic acid, a potent antioxidant, which have been proven to boost insulin sensitivity, reduce glucose levels, and prevent oxidative stress-induced alterations in people with diabetes. Research on this antioxidant have also proven decreases in autonomic neuropathy and/or peripheral neuropathy in diabetics 3 .

Worth mentioning, most research has used intra-venous alpha-lipoic acid and it’s uncertain whether oral supplementation could elicit the exact same benefit 4 .

  1. Asthma

The risk of developing asthma is lower in individuals who consume high amounts of certain nutrients. Beta-carotene is one of those nutrients of which spinach is a great source. Carrots, broccoli, pumpkin, apricots, and cantaloupe are also rich sources of beta-carotene.

  1. Regularity

Spinach nutrition is truly amazing because of its high water and fiber content, both of which help to prevent many digestive issues, such as constipation and leaky gut, and promote a healthy digestive system.

  1. Blood pressure

Due to its high content of potassium, spinach is usually recommended to people with high blood pressure in order to negate the effect of sodium in the body. A low potassium consumption could be just as big of a risk factor in increasing blood pressure as a high intake of sodium.

Other high potassium foods include tomatoes, oranges, potatoes, and lima beans.

  1. Healthy hair and skin

High in Vitamin A, spinach can help in the production of sebum in order to keep hair moisturized. Moreover, Vitamin A is significant for the growth of all bodily problems, including hair and skin. Spinach and many other leafy vegetables high in Vitamin C are vital for the producing and preservation of collagen that provides structure to hair and skin.

One of the most common causes of hair loss is iron-deficiency, which can be prevented by a suitable intake of iron-rich foods, as spinach.

See also: Aloe Vera Hair Loss Remedies: Quick, Easy & Effective

  1. Bone Health

Vitamin K deficiency have been linked to a higher risk for bone fracture. Sufficient Vitamin K consumption is essential for good health, as it acts as a convertor of bone matrix proteins, increase absorption of calcium, and can decrease urinary excretion of calcium.


Fun Facts: The Popeye Effect: About the sailor man …

In 1929, Popeye the Sailor Man first made his debut in a comic strip named “Thimble Theatre”, and moved to animated cartoon in 1933. The good guy underdog with bulging forearms, Popeye, was a mean uppercut and a fondness for canned spinach.

Popping open a can usually gave him super-strength – Popeye’s love for spinach became a main plot device. Spinach growers credited this popular sailor with a 33% increase in U.S. spinach consumption and saving the spinach industry in the 1930s.

Crystal City (Texas), a spinach-growing town, in 1937 created a statue in order to honor the creator of Popeye, E.C. Segar, and its character Popeye, of course, for their positive influence on the eating habits in the U.S, making the sailor man called Popeye the 1st cartoon character ever celebrated in public sculpture.

There are sources that claim that the reason E.C. Segar chose spinach as the source of the strength of his character was because of an error in an 1870 study, which measured the iron content in spinach. The expert who conducted the research is thought to have misdirected a fraction point, giving this vegetable 10 times the amount of iron it really has. But, many authors say these stories are just a myth, and that spinach was actually chosen for its impressive vitamin A content 5 .

How to select spinach?

This leafy green vegetable is available all over the year, but is in season during the spring, usually from March till June. It the groceries, purchase fresh leaves with dark-green color, crispiness and vitality. Avoid spinach with sunken/dull leaves, spots, and yellow discoloration.

How to store spinach?

Wash the spinach leaves thoroughly in running water and rinse in salt water for around 30 minutes in order to remove dirt, and potential insecticide residues.

Even though it could be stored in the fridge for up to one week, fresh spinach leaves should be consumed at the earliest so you can get most of the spinach nutrition benefits.

How to use spinach?

In order to get maximum spinach nutrition benefits when cooking, steam it or cook lightly in some small amount of water.

Preparation and Serving Methods 

After washing the spinach leaves, gently pat them dry with soft cloth or tissue. Raw leaves could be either chopped, or used as they are in various recipes.

  • Baby spinach can be consumed raw either in vegetable burgers and salads or as smoothie or juice. Antioxidant properties might reduce significantly on frying, boiling, and steaming for longer periods.
  • Along with some other vegetables, spinach leaves are used in the preparation of pie, noodles, soups, and pasta as well as in the preparation of many baby-foods.

Spinach Recipe: Lemon Spinach Sauté 

Your Health Tubers suggest this simple, incredibly delicious, and healthy meal that you can prepare for you and your family:

Servings: 4spinach nutrition


  • 1 pound (1 bunch) of fresh spinach
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon of black pepper


  • Wash the spinach and trim off its stems.
  • Place the spinach, lemon juice, and black pepper in a pan.
  • Cover over medium heat. Leave the spinach to sauté for around 3 minutes, until tender.
  • Enjoy!

Precautions Associated with Eating Spinach 

If you are consuming blood-thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin) it’s important that you don’t suddenly start to eat more or less foods rich in vitamin K that plays a significant role in blood clotting.

Taking too much potassium could be harmful for people whose kidneys aren’t fully functional. If the kidneys are unable to eliminate excess potassium from your blood, it can be fatal.




Spinach nutrition is remarkable. This leafy green veggie is well-known for its amazing nutritional qualities and have always been regarded as a plant with great abilities to increase vitality, restore energy, and improve the blood quality. Its high content of iron, folic acid, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and Vitamin C, as well as magnesium, manganese, and Vitamin B2, makes it so powerful in the treatment of numerous conditions, including diabetes, iron deficiency, cancer, bone, skin and hair problems, and high blood pressure. Eating a cup of cooked spinach will prove you a daily dose of the above-mentioned essential vitamins and minerals, and will boost your energy.

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