Spinach (Alugbati): A Heart-Healthy Food

Spinach is usually added to raw salads, sautéed with other veggies, blended in a soup or steamed. This versatile green leafy veggie is a superfood that contains many vitamins and minerals that have the ability to help us prevent diseases and provide our bodies with other benefits.

Adding a cup of spinach to our everyday diet can benefit our eyes, reduce oxidative stress, control blood pressure, aid in digestion, curb the appetite, maintain blood sugar levels, prevent constipation and even strengthen mucous membranes, urinary tract, and respiratory system to combat various infections.

Interestingly, spinach is just an amazing hero when it comes to heart health.

Cindy Neels, MPH, RD, LDN, a dietitian with the cardiac rehabilitation program at the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Mass, says:

“Spinach is a really great heart-healthy food. Spinach has just about everything your heart needs, including plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, B vitamins, and fiber.”

The green veggie is rich in folate, a water-soluble vitamin that is needed in building and maintaining healthy cells, particularly those healthy red blood cells needed for heart health. Moreover, it also has nitrite that helps prevent the occurrence of heart attack and cures heart diseases that are associated with fat deposition. Aside from preventing wrinkles and protecting the eyes, its vitamin C content can also lower one’s risk of prenatal health problems and cardiovascular diseases.

In a study conducted by researchers from Linköping University in Sweden, results showed that increasing the body’s levels of lutein, a fat-soluble substance that is found in many green vegetables, such as spinach, kale, broccoli, parsley, and peas, can help prevent thickening of the walls of arteries leading to a lowered risk of heart attacks.

How To Eat Spinach For Optimum Benefits?

The best way to maximize the intake of nutrients from spinach is to eat them raw. Cooking spinach tends to break down some of its nutritional value. However, if eating them raw is not suitable, we can preserve most of its nutritional value by minimizing the water used to cook spinach and the cooking time. One way to do it is by steaming the leaves on the stovetop.