Spinach turns out to be the top nutrient-rich food. Spinach is not only packed with vitamins and minerals, it also contains oxygen-sensitive phytonutrients including flavonoids and carotenoids to give a powerful antioxidant defense. Carotenoids present in spinach include zeaxanthin, lutein, and beta-carotene. For leafy greens like spinach, it is recommended to have a minimum serving size of 1/2 a cup or a minimum of 1 full cup to enjoy more of its benefits.
More than 12 unique flavonoids have been identified by researchers to be present in spinach. These flavonoids do not only work as anti-inflammatory agents but anti-cancer agents as well. Some of these compounds can be technically categorized as methylenedioxyflavonol glucuronides.
Based on a latest study on the relationship between the risk of developing prostate cancer and vegetable intake, which include vegetables such as kale, collards, turnip greens, mustard greens, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and spinach, only spinach has shown proof of significant protection from prostate cancer.
Epoxyxanthophylls, special anti-cancer carotenoids are abundant in spinach although they may not be that effectively absorbed like other carotenoids such as beta-carotene and lutein. These extracts from spinach have been demonstrated to help decelerate cancer cells division in human stomach known as gastric adenocarcinomas. Moreover, based on studies, these help reduce skin papillomas or skin cancers.
Excessive inflammation, indisputably, often comes out as a risk factor of developing cancer. This is the reason that various anti-inflammatory nutrients can be demonstrated to have anti-cancer properties as well.
However, even when not cancer-related, excessive inflammation has demonstrated to be less likely after consuming spinach. Specifically in the digestive system, reduced inflammation has been linked with flavonoids and carotenoids content of spinach. Spinach leaves contain a rich supply of two types of epoxyxanthophylls with anti-inflammatory capacity, neoxanthin and violaxanthin.
Most flavonoids and carotenoids in spinach that give anti-inflammatory effects also give antioxidant effects. Since spinach is a great source of other antioxidants like manganese, beta-carotene, vitamin E, vitamin C, zinc, and selenium, it is not surprising that spinach helps reduce risk of various health conditions associated with oxidative damage.
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