How Eating Spinach Affects the Brain
Martha Clare Morris, Sc.D., a health researcher at Rush University Medical Center, found that “increasing consumption of green leafy vegetables could offer a very simple, affordable and non-invasive way of potentially protecting your brain from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.”
Some of the specific nutrients that help slow the decline of cognitive abilities and mental acuity include lutein, vitamin K, beta-carotene and folate. Spinach is one of the best sources of all of those nutrients. One or two helpings of spinach a day can help keep your memory sharp and your brain from aging as rapidly. One of the ways it helps improve brain function is that it contains phytochemicals. Phytochemicals reduce inflammation and improve blood flow, but more importantly, they affect the receptors of neurotransmitters that maintain the brain’s chemical balance.
Spinach isn’t just good for your brain, though. It’s just as good for the rest of you. It provides vitamin A, which benefits your hair, skin and bone, and is also necessary for growth of new body tissue. It is high in potassium, which counteracts the negative effects of salt and helps lower blood pressure. The magnesium in spinach metabolizes energy, maintains hearth rhythm, nerve and muscle function, and helps keep your immune system healthy. An anti-oxidant called alpha-lipoic acid, which lowers glucose levels and increases insulin sensitivity is also found in spinach, and it’s high fiber content helps reduce the risk of cancer.
By now, you’re probably convinced that eating spinach is good for you. But coming up with creative ways to make sure that you and your loved ones are getting enough of the fresh fruits and vegetables that provide these nutrients can be a challenge.
Luckily, spinach is like the little black dress of the vegetable world–it goes with everything. It can be eaten raw, cooked, or even wilted. From salads, soups and sandwiches to pasta primavera, it makes every dish it’s added to healthier and more nutritious. You can find some great easy spinach recipes here.
For those who just don’t like the taste or texture of spinach, but still want all the health benefits, you can hide your spinach in one of these delicious smoothies. Even if you’re a hard-core junk food junkie, spinach can make dipping those chips and fries healthier, and that pleasure a little less guilty, too. You can find some great spinach dip recipes here.
Remembering to make spinach a part of your regular daily diet can help ensure that as you age, your memory won’t. It’s a great way to protect all those cherished memories to enjoy in the future.