The aging process comes with wrinkling skin, lower energy levels, worsening vision, and even aching joints. That’s exactly why plenty of older Americans take anti-aging supplements once they hit their senior years. But, many believe that “superfoods” like spinach can also slow down the aging process naturally. So, is spinach anti-aging?
The nutritional value of spinach may help contribute to anti-aging health benefits. Spinach contains a significant percentage of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E and B6. Many of the nutrients have been proven in scientific studies to help tighten skin, lower blood pressure, improve the immune system and reduce the risk of brain disorders.
Spinach is perhaps one of the healthiest foods that you can add to your diet. So, let’s first go over how the nutritional value of spinach helps with anti-aging. Then, we’ll go over other foods that boast similar benefits.
Smoothie Tip: Tear off a handful of spinach and add it to your next smoothie. Add frozen fruit instead of ice which enhances the flavor and allows you to buy in bulk! The secret to an easy smoothie is having a blender powerful enough to handle the workload.
The blender I recommend has a multi-tiered blade, check it out and the current price on Amazon, Nutri Ninja BL685 with Auto-iQ Technology.
The Nutritional Value of Spinach
A single serving of spinach weighs about 100 grams and only has 23 calories. The combination of low calories and high nutritional value (vitamins and minerals) is what makes spinach 1 a top contender as a “superfood.”
Here’s a glimpse at the most important nutrients you’ll find in every 100-gram serving of spinach 2. For reference, “DV” means “Percent Daily Value,” which describes what percentage of the daily recommended intake you’re getting for each nutrient:
- Vitamin A: 59% of DV
- Vitamin B6: 15% of DV
- Vitamin C: 34% of DV
- Vitamin E: 13% of DV
- Vitamin K: 460% of DV
- Folate: 49% of DV
- Manganese: 43% of DV
Though each of these micronutrients plays a pivotal role in your overall health, a few of these actually boasts anti-aging properties, antioxidants.
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As free radicals begin rapidly spreading inside your body, the cells within your body are at risk for becoming damaged 3. In the long-term, this damage can lead to the development of severe medical conditions like cancer, diabetes, and even dementia.
The problem is that free radicals are difficult to prevent. Some are preventable by avoiding things like harmful toxins and pollution, but you might actually be exposed to others via your food or water sources.
Antioxidants work to fight and reduce the presence of these free radicals in your body. That’s why it’s incredibly important to load up on antioxidants with a balanced diet.
In spinach, antioxidants are present in the form of vitamins C, E, and A 4. But, they’re also seen in the form of carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin. Spinach made my list of 21 Best Anti-Aging vegetables, the three listed are not common household names. You can find out what they are by clicking here, 21 Best Anti-Aging Vegetables for a Healthier You.
Vitamin C is truly one of the most important vitamins in your body. You might already know about vitamin C’s benefits when it comes to building up your immune system and reducing your chances of getting sick.
But, vitamin C also plays a huge role in skin health 5.
That’s because vitamin C is known to boost collagen production within the skin. These higher collagen levels can help to tighten and strengthen your skin, which ultimately can reduce the wrinkles that come along with aging.
Vitamin C can also reduce photo damage that comes with UV sun exposure and aging. That means vitamin C can lower your risk of developing brown spots on your skin. In one study, 10 patients were treated with a vitamin C on one side of their face and an inactive gel on the other side. After twelve weeks, the vitamin C side had decreased photo aging scores, increased collagen and improved hydration 6
The vitamin E levels in spinach aren’t all that high, but they do still play a role in improving your brain health. In fact, getting enough vitamin E (with the help of spinach) can actually help you to reduce your risk of developing degenerative brain disorders 7 that come with age.
This was discovered in a study that was conducted in 2011 8. After a ten year experimental period, the researchers recognized the older individuals supplementing with higher levels of vitamin E had a 25% lower risk of developing dementia.
However, it’s important to note that researchers have not yet found these results to be “significant.” Further research needs to be done in this area.
Along the same lines as vitamin C, vitamin A (retinol) also has the potential to reduce the aging effects typical in the skin 9.
Just like vitamin C, vitamin A can help to strengthen and tighten your skin as a result of greater collagen production. This can effectively reduce those fine lines and wrinkles that typically come with the aging process.
Brown spots caused by the sun’s rays are also reduced with the help of vitamin A.
Most importantly, vitamin A can actually encourage your body to rebuild the outer layer of the skin. This can help to get rid of dead and damaged skin while also making way for much healthier skin.
Lutein & Zeaxanthin
What you might not know about dark leafy greens like spinach is that they’re also full of something called “carotenoids.” In addition to targeting just about every area of your health, both lutein and zeaxanthin target mostly vision health.
That’s because both of these carotenoids reduce the inflammatory responses within the body, particularly within the eyes 10. They can also help to protect the eyes (specifically the retinas) from harmful light waves 11.
In the process, lutein and zeaxanthin can work to lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration, also known as AMD. This condition usually comes as a result of age or even exposure to UV light.
AMD negatively impacts the clarity of your vision. You might be able to see objects, but the tiny details are much less clear. If left untreated, macular degeneration can eventually lead to blindness.
Oxidative Stress and Exercise
Many people who exercise are always looking for a supplement to help them recover or build muscle. I bet most never thought about using real spinach. Twenty men I consumed spinach supplementation for 14 days before running. After supplementation, their total antioxidant capacity elevated significantly. The researchers concluded spinach supplementation improved oxidative stress and muscle damage following a half-marathon 12.
I hear it all the time and it’s true, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can benefit your heart and blood pressure. Spinach, a high nitrate source, was used in a test of 27 people to examine its effect on article stiffness and blood pressure. After seven days of consuming spinach every day, systolic pressure decreased 3.48 mmHg and diastolic 2.60 mmHg 13.
In addition to blood pressure, other cardiovascular diseases are a leading cause of death. Cardiovascular diseases include the following:
- Blood pressure
- Heart attack
- Heart disease
- Heart failure
- Heart valve problems
- Coronary artery disease
- Peripheral artery disease
A research report noted 14 different studies that reported an inverse relationship between intake of leafy green vegetables and cardiovascular diseases 14. The most common vegetables included in the study were spinach and lettuce.
Other Ways to Consume Spinach
Now that you realize just how healthy spinach is in terms of reducing the effects of anti-aging, it’s time to figure out how to add spinach to your diet. Spinach makes a great addition to any lunch or dinner. But, you might eventually get tired of eating spinach every single day.
The good news is that there are other ways to get spinach into your diet.
Spinach is actually quite a popular ingredient when it comes to making healthy smoothies, shakes, and drinks. That’s because it blends very nicely in a blender and can be combined with some of your other favorite fruits and vegetables.
So, try swapping out solid spinach and replace it with a freshly blended smoothie or shake. Try mixing spinach with strawberries, bananas, or blueberries in a blender. I have 5 other healthy smoothie ideas along with over 91 health tips in my free ebook. You can instantly download it by clicking here, Top Tips Health Guide.
Eating vegetables like spinach has many more anti-aging benefits than meets the eye. In addition to eating a highly nutritious vegetable, you’re also getting an impressive intake of antioxidants. These are seen in the form of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
The combination of these antioxidants can help to improve your skin health, reduce vision damage, and prevent brain diseases like dementia. So, try to include spinach (or other foods high in antioxidants) into your diet at least once a day.
Read Next – More Anti-Aging Foods!
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Functional properties of spinach (Spinach oleracea L.) phytochemical and bioactives
- Wikipedia: Spinach
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Free Radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on Human Health
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Defining Powerhouse Fruits and Vegetables: A Nutrient Dense Approach
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Double-blind, half-face study comparing topical vitamin C and vehicle for rejuvenation of photo damage
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Review of Neurological-nutrition Used as Anti-Alzheimer Plant, Spinach, Spinach oleracea
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Dietary antioxidants and long-term risk of dementia
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Retinoids: active molecules influencing skin structure formation in cosmetic and dermatological treatments
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: The Effect of Lutein on Eye and Extra-Eye Health
- American Optometric Association: Diet and Nutrition
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: The effect of spinach supplementation on exercise-induced oxidative stress
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Effect of Spinach, a High Dietary Nitrate Source, on Arterial Stiffness and Related Hemodynamic Measures: A Randomized, Controlled Trial in Healthy Adults
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Cardiovascular Health Benefits of Specific Vegetable Types: A Narrative Review