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Tuesday, 5 November 2013

#Healthy Foods - Spinach (Spinacia)

Spinach is an edible flowering plant in the genus Spinacia, belongs to the family of Amaranthaceae and native to central and southwestern Asia. It is considered as a healthy plant containing vary vitamins and minerals.

Nutritional Supplement
1. Carbohydrates
2. Dietary fiber
3. Fat ( Omega 3 Fatty acid)
4. Protein
5. Vitamin A (Beta corotene, lutein and zeaxanthin)
6. Folate (Vitamin B9)
7. Vitamin C
8. Vitamin E
9. Vitamin K
10. Calcium
11. Iron
12. Phosphorus
13. Magnesium
14. Potassium
15. Manganese
16. Selenium
17. Etc.

Health benefits
A. Health benefits according to studies
1. Inflammatory diseases
In the evaluation of preadministration of glycolipid extracts from spinach and its anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory found that The glycolipid extracts from spinach highly contained monogalactosyl-diacylglycerol (MGDG) and diglactosyl-diacylglycerol (DGDG). In Caco-2 cells, MGDG and DGDG inhibited the production of reactive oxygen species induced by phorbol ester, according to the study of "Protective effects of glycoglycerolipids extracted from spinach on 5-fluorouracil induced intestinal mucosal injury" by Shiota A, Hada T, Baba T, Sato M, Yamanaka-Okumura H, Yamamoto H, Taketani Y, Takeda E(a)

2. Anti cancers
In the investigation of major glycoglycerolipids, including monogalactosyl diacylglycerol (MGDG), digalactosyl diacylglycerol (DGDG) and sulfoquinovosyl diacylglycerol (SQDG) found in spinach and its effect on irregular cell growth found that MGDG and SQDG have been shown to inhibit the activities of mammalian DNA polymerases, but DGDG has no such inhibitory effect. The effect of these glycoglycerolipids on cancer cells, angiogenesis and solid tumor growth might be mediated via their inhibition of replicative DNA polymerase activities, according to "Anti-cancer effect of spinach glycoglycerolipids as angiogenesis inhibitors based on the selective inhibition of DNA polymerase activity" by Maeda N, Matsubara K, Yoshida H, Mizushina Y.(b)

3. Antioxidants
In the observation of serum total antioxidant capacity following comsumption of strawberries (240 g), spinach (294 g), red wine (300 ml) or vitamin C (1250 mg) in eight elderly women found that oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) assay, Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity (TEAC) assay and ferric reducing ability (FRAP) assay. The results showed that the total antioxidant capacity of serum determined as ORAC, TEAC and FRAP, using the area under the curve, increased significantly by 7-25% during the 4-h period following consumption of red wine, strawberries, vitamin C or spinach. showed that the total antioxidant capacity of serum determined as ORAC, TEAC and FRAP, using the area under the curve, increased significantly by 7-25% during the 4-h period following consumption of red wine, strawberries, vitamin C or spinach, according to "Serum antioxidant capacity is increased by consumption of strawberries, spinach, red wine or vitamin C in elderly women" by Cao G, Russell RM, Lischner N, Prior RL.(c)

4. Bone health
In the investigation of bone mass level associated with lifestyle factors among young Japanese women anf their effect in bone mass found that without daily intake of green and yellow vegetables had almost 5-fold risk of low bone mass, compared to the subjects having daily intake of the vegetables [Odds ratio: 4.96 (95%CI 1.36-18.18)]. In conclusion, daily intake of green and yellow vegetables is effective for maintaining bone mass in young women, according to "Daily intake of green and yellow vegetables is effective for maintaining bone mass in young women" by Fujii H, Noda T, Sairenchi T, Muto T.(d)

5. Etc.

B. Health benefits according to concentration
1. Vitamin K
Vitamin K not only plays an important role in protecting our skin from aging, it is also needed for the proper clotting of blood, thus decreasing the risk of excessive bleeding, in a study of "Delayed vitamin K deficiency as a cause of bleeding: still a concern in the 21st century!" by Kasatkar P, Shetty S, Ghosh K., posted in PubMed, researchers found that Laboratory tests confirmed acquired bleeding diathesis due to vitamin K deficiency, which was corrected after adequate vitamin K supplementation. VKDB is not an uncommon phenomenon and should be considered in the differential diagnosis of a child with bleeding diathesis.

2. Vitamin A
Vitamin A is not only important in preventing types I diabetes, according to "A close relationship between type 1 diabetes and vitamin A-deficiency and matrix metalloproteinase and hyaluronidase activities in skin tissues" by Takahashi N, Takasu S.(1) but also may be associated with compromised bone health, according to "Vitamins and bone health: beyond calcium and vitamin D" by Ahmadieh H, Arabi A.(2)

It is one of important trace in preventing osteoporosis, according to the study of "[Study of estrogen deficiency impact on manganese levels in teeth and mandible of rats after ovariectomy]. [Article in Polish]" by Rahnama M, Błoniarz J, Zareba S, Swiatkowski W.(1)and regulating blood sugar level, according to the study of "[An inadequate intake of manganese may favour insulin resistance in girls]. [Article in Spanish]" by Rodríguez-Rodríguez E, Bermejo LM, López-Sobaler AM, Ortega RM.(5)

4. Folate
In the investigation of the prevalence and multifactorial etiology of anemia among Indian human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected children and its effect on anemia, found that Anemia, particularly iron deficiency anemia and anemia of inflammation, is highly prevalent among children with HIV infection. Micronutrient supplements (iron and, folate) combined with ART(antiretroviral therapy) improved anemia in HIV-infected children, according to "The prevalence and etiology of anemia among HIV-infected children in India" by Shet A, Arumugam K, Rajagopalan N, Dinakar C, Krishnamurthy S, Mehta S, Shet AS.(4)

5. Etc.

C. Other health benefits
1. Phytonutrients
a) Immune system
Phytonutrients help to improve the immune system in fighting against the forming of free radicals that cause infection, inflammation and enhance the replication of DNA and cells division, according to study of "Role of antioxidants, essential fatty acids, carnitine, vitamins, phytochemicals and trace elements in the treatment of diabetes mellitus and its chronic complications" by Triggiani V, Resta F, Guastamacchia E, Sabbà C, Licchelli B, Ghiyasaldin S, Tafaro E., posted in PubMed (

b) Breast cancer
Phytoestrogen in the spinach also helps to occupy the estrogen receptor site, that prevents
the over production of bad estrogen, causing breast cancer, according to the study of "Phytoestrogens and breast cancer: a complex story" by Helferich WG, Andrade JE, Hoagland MS., posted in PubMed(, researchers found that genistein can act as an oestrogen agonist resulting in proliferation of E-dependent human breast cancer tumours in vivo.

2. Menopause
Spinach contains high amount of plant estrogen that helps to reduce the symptoms of menopause, such as bone density, hot flash, etc., according to the study of "[The role of phytoestrogen therapy in relieving postmenopausal symptoms].[Article in Polish]" by Szkutnik-Fiedler D, Jedrzejczyk M, Grześkowiak E, Bartkowiak-Wieczorek J, Seremak-Mrozikiewicz A, Drews K, Mrozikiewicz PM., posted in PubMed (

3. Colon health
Spinach contains high amount of Vitamin A, E and vitamin C that help to enhance the immune system in protecting the proper growth of the colon cell and its DNA damage and mutation from free radicals, according to the abstract of study of "Intakes of vitamins A, C, and E and use of multiple vitamin supplements and risk of colon cancer: a pooled analysis of prospective cohort studies" by Park Y, Spiegelman D, Hunter DJ, Albanes D, Bergkvist L, Buring JE, Freudenheim JL, Giovannucci E, Goldbohm RA, Harnack L, Kato I, Krogh V, Leitzmann MF, Limburg PJ, Marshall JR, McCullough ML, Miller AB, Rohan TE, Schatzkin A, Shore R, Sieri S, Stampfer MJ, Virtamo J, Weijenberg M, Willett WC, Wolk A, Zhang SM, Smith-Warner SA., posted in PubMed (, researchers found that Modest inverse associations with vitamin C and E intakes may be due to high correlations with folate intake, which had a similar inverse association with colon cancer. An inverse association with multivitamin use, a major source of folate and other vitamins, deserves further study.

4. Cataracts and muscular degeneration
Spinach contains a measurable amount of lutein, that helps to protect against eye diseases including age-related cataracts and muscular degeneration, according to the study of "Associations between lutein, zeaxanthin, and age-related macular degeneration: an overview" by Carpentier S, Knaus M, Suh M., posted in PubMed (

5. Iron
Iron helps to enhances the production of red blood cells and formation of hemoglobin, that enhance in adsorption of oxygen from the lung and carry nutrients to all body cells, according to the study of "[Iron deficiency and overload. Implications in oxidative stress and cardiovascular health].[Article in Spanish]" by Toxqui L, De Piero A, Courtois V, Bastida S, Sánchez-Muniz FJ, Vaquero MP., posted in PubMed, (


Side effects
1. Oxalates
Spinach contains a measurable amounts of oxalates that can cause problem for people who have untreated kidney and gallbladder diseases.
2. Purines
Purines is naturally substances found in plants, animals, and humans, it can cause forming of uric acid if over accumulated.
3. Etc.

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