Spinach is a versatile vegetable with myriad health benefits. Although there is no scientific evidence stating that eating a lot of it guarantees you beautiful skin, spinach is jam packed with nutrients needed for healthy skin cells and to fight skin's aging process.
Your skin naturally loses its elasticity and thins as you get older. Free radicals are molecules produced when you digest food and through environmental toxins, such as air pollution. They destroy your cells and accelerate the aging process of your skin. The vitamin A in spinach has antioxidant activity. It keeps your skin cells healthy and repairs wounds. One cup of spinach contains 943 micrograms of this nutrient, which is more than the recommended daily value for adults.
Vitamin C is another antioxidant in spinach that works to repair skin cells and keep your skin looking beautiful. You need vitamin C to make collagen, a protein used to manufacture new skin cells. Without adequate vitamin C, you will experience dry, scaly skin. One cup of spinach contains 18 milligrams of vitamin C, or 20 and 24 percent of the RDA for men and women respectively.
Spinach is an excellent source of iron. Iron is an essential part of hemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen throughout your body. Without adequate iron, you can’t transport oxygen as efficiently, which can leave you with pale-looking skin. Your body doesn’t absorb the iron in spinach as well as it absorbs the iron in animal products. You can, however, add lemon or lime juice to your spinach or enjoy it with a glass of orange juice. The vitamin C in these foods promotes iron absorption. One cup of spinach contains 6 grams of iron, which is 33 percent of the RDA for women 50 and younger and 75 percent for all men.
Dark circles under your eyes are caused by lack of sleep, genes, nasal congestion, alcohol and aging. Vitamin K is naturally found in spinach. This nutrient is needed for blood clotting and to strengthen blood vessel walls, which helps diminish dark circles. It also keeps your skin clear, reduces skin inflammation and enhances blood circulation. The adequate intake of vitamin K for men is 120 micrograms and for women 90 micrograms. One cup of spinach gives you almost 900 micrograms of this nutrient.
One cup of spinach contains 164 grams of water, or 5 ounces. Your skin comprises cells that rely on water to stay healthy. Without enough water, your skin will become dry, taut and flaky. It’s also more likely to wrinkle.
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- USDA National Nutrient Database: Spinach, Cooked, Boiled, Drained, Without Salt
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin A (Retinol)
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Iron-Deficiency Anemia
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Iron
- Innovative Aesthetics: Vitamin K Shown Effective at Treating Under-Eye Circles
- UW Health: The Benefits of Drinking Water for Your Skin
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes: Recommended Dietary Allowances and Adequate Intakes, Vitamins
Michelle Fisk began writing professionally in 2011. She has been published in the "Physician and Sports Medicine Journal." Her expertise lies in the fields of exercise physiology and nutrition. Fisk holds a Master of Science in kinesiology from Marywood University.