Spinach is store house for many phyto-nutrients that have health promotional and disease prevention properties. It contains a good amount of soluble dietary fiber, which slows down digestion. Soluble fiber appears to absorb water and become gelatinous. This gelatinous substance can be fermented by bacteria in the digestive tract and act as a prebiotic – this supports the growth of beneficial microorganisms in the digestive tract.
Spinach is the of the richest in Iron among green leafy vegetables. Fresh leaves are also a great source of several vital anti-oxidant vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin C, and beta-carotene. Specifically Vitamin A is required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes which is what the intestinal lining is made of. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, which helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents. Together these compounds help act as protective scavengers against toxins and play a healing role in various disease processes.
Is is also an excellent source of vitamin K, which recent research indicates that vitamin K could contribute to both brain and eye health. In patients with Alzheimer’s disease, vitamin K has been shown to limit neuronal damage in the brain.
This green leafy vegetable also contains good amounts of many B-complex vitamins such as vitamin-B6 (pyridoxine), thiamin (vitamin B-1), riboflavin, folates and niacin. Vitamin B6 helps in the production of neurotransmitters, the chemicals that allow brain and nerve cells to communicate with one another. B Vitamins also create mood controlling chemicals in our brain. The research indicates that children with a diet low in B-vitamins were more likely to experience mental health and behavioural problems than those with a healthier diet rich in B-vitamins.
Spinach leaves also contain a good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, magnesium, copper and zinc. Potassium is an important component of cells. In the brain, potassium builds the electrical potential inside brain cells required for electrical signaling between cells. Depletion of potassium from the body decreases the amount of electrical signaling in the brain, resulting in lethargy. Manganese and copper are two of many metal ions that are required for essential body functions but are toxic in excess. Deficiency in dietary manganese has been linked to epileptic seizures. Copper is a cofactor for numerous enzymes and plays an important role in central nervous system development; Magnesium improves memory and learning. It also helps counter irritability, nervousness or aggressiveness by helping the nervous system relax. . Zinc is a co-factor in many enzymes that regulate growth and development, and digestion. Zinc deficiency is associated with depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, hyperactivity and autism.
It is also rich source of omega-3 fatty acids which the brain use to transport nutrients and “happy chemicals” (prostaglandins and neurotransmitters) like serotonin and dopamine in the brain. Omega-3 also laces or lines nerves. Since the brain is the center of the nervous system, it has a huge and constant need for Omega-3.