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7 Health Benefits of Spinach

Spinach is one of the most popular green leafy vegetables, as it’s a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. It is native to the Middle East, cultivated in Persia thousands of years ago. From there, it was brought to China and made its way into Europe and then North America. Today, spinach has become a staple in a number of cultural cuisines. Do you want to know more about the health benefits of spinach? Read this article to find out.

Health Benefits of Spinach

1. Full of Nutrients

Spinach is Full of NutrientsLeafy green vegetables like spinach are loaded with nutrients. One cup of cooked spinach only contains 41 calories. More importantly, it contains very high amounts of Vitamin A (377% DV) and Vitamin K (1,111% DV). It also contains other vitamins and minerals, including:

• Manganese (84% DV)
• Folate (66% DV)
• Magnesium (39% DV)
• Iron (36% DV)
• Potassium (24% DV)
• Calcium (24% DV)
• Copper (16% DV)
• Vitamin C (29% DV)
• Vitamin B2 (25% DV)
• Vitamin B6 (22% DV)
• Vitamin E (19% DV)

Note: DV means Daily Value, which is the amount a healthy adult on a 2,000 calorie diet should consume in a day.

2. Improves Eyesight

Among the health benefits of spinach is being a rich source of beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which are all beneficial for eyesight. Beta carotene helps boost eye health. It helps prevent vitamin A deficiency, dry eyes, and eye ulcers. The anti-inflammatory properties of spinach can also reduce puffiness or irritation in the eyes.

Meanwhile, lutein and zeaxanthin are powerful antioxidants that can protect the eyes from the harsh effects of ultraviolet rays. They also reduce the impact of free radicals which can cause cataracts and other eye conditions.

3. Helps Regulate Blood Pressure

Spinach Can Help Regulate Blood PressureSpinach has a very high potassium content, while being low in sodium. This composition of minerals is beneficial for people with high blood pressure. Potassium lowers blood pressure while sodium has an opposite effect. Additionally, the folate present in spinach can help reduce hypertension, relax blood vessels, and maintain proper blood flow. By reducing blood pressure and relaxing blood vessels and arteries, the stress to the cardiovascular system is reduced, while oxygenation to the body’s organ systems is increased.

4. Helps Prevent Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis is caused by hardening of the arteries. The lutein found in spinach has the potential to reduce the occurrence of atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke. Also, spinach tends to reduce cholesterol and other fat deposits in the arteries.

5. Reduces Inflammation

Spinach contains many anti-inflammatory compounds — more than a dozen, in fact. These fall under the category of methylenedioxy flavonoid glucuronides. This leafy green is one of the best vegetables when it comes to reducing inflammation in the body. That means protecting the heart and reducing pain and inflammation associated with conditions like gout and arthritis, which affect millions of people around the world.

6. Provides Neurological Benefits

The high antioxidant capacity of spinach can help with cognitive function. Several nutrients found in spinach like potassium and folate, along with antioxidants, can provide neurological benefits to individuals who regularly consume it. Folate can help reduce the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease, so eating spinach might be a good idea for individuals at risk of cognitive decline. Potassium is good for brain health as well. It has been associated with increased blood flow to the brain and improved cognition, concentration, and neural activity.

7. Great for the Skin

Beautiful SkinLike many green leafy vegetables, spinach is loaded with antioxidants that are important for normal skin cell development and healthy skin tone. Other health benefits of spinach include increasing the production of collagen and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The vitamin A in spinach can also help the skin retain moisture to fight dryness, psoriasis, and acne.

Potential Negative Effects of Spinach

Incorporating spinach into your diet is very healthy. However, this vegetable may cause adverse effects in some people.

Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are caused by mineral salt and acid buildup. The most common type is calcium stones, which consist of calcium oxalate. Since spinach is high in both calcium and oxalates, people who are at risk of developing kidney stones should limit their consumption of this vegetable.

Blood Clotting

Spinach is high in vitamin K1, which does several functions in the body but is best known for its role in blood clotting. Because of this, it could interfere with blood-thinning medications. People who are taking blood thinners, such as Warfarin, should consult their doctor before eating large amounts of spinach.

Conclusion

Spinach can be eaten raw as an ingredient in many salads. Just make sure to wash it thoroughly. It can also be cooked or sauteed. This green leafy vegetable can be eaten as a side dish or added in soups, stews, and casseroles. Due to the numerous health benefits of spinach, it is recommended that you incorporate it into your diet.

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What Are the Most Common Sports Injuries?

Whether you are a weekend warrior or a highly-trained athlete, there is always that chance of getting injured. Unfortunately, when injuries do happen, it can be difficult to know what you’ve tweaked and how to treat it. In this article, we will count down the most common sports injuries, along with causes, treatments, and recovery strategies.

Common Sports Injuries

1. Ankle sprain

Ankle SprainWhat it is – Many athletes, while participating in their favorite sports, have experienced a sprained ankle. The outside of the ankle has ligaments which are relatively weak and can be torn or stretched when the foot turns inward.

What you can do – Apply ice and elevate your ankle to reduce inflammation. When a sprain occurs, you must prevent your ankle from losing its flexibility and strength, and from possible re-injury. This can be done by guided exercise to be directed by a doctor or physical therapist. They will teach you what kind of exercises you can do.

When to see a doctor – It is important to find out where the sprain occurred. If it is a high ankle sprain, it is advisable to see a doctor to ensure that the bones in the lower leg didn’t separate. If you notice tenderness above the ankle, most likely it is a high ankle sprain. A high ankle sprain may take a longer time to heal.

2. Groin pull

Groin PullWhat it is – This injury is common in such sports as football, soccer, hockey, and baseball. Players who push off in a side-to-side motion are more prone to strain in the muscles of the inner thigh or groin.

What you can do – Remedies for groin injuries include compression, ice, and rest. If athletes with a groin pull resume full activity at once, their condition may aggravate and turn into a long-term problem.

When to see a doctor – A groin pull accompanied by considerable swelling should be seen immediately by a physician.

3. Hamstring strain

What it is – Three muscles can be found at the back of the thigh which form the hamstring. Kicking your leg out sharply while running may cause the hamstring to be over-stretched. Falling forward while water-skiing may also cause hamstring strains.

What you can do – A hamstring strain may take a long time to heal due to the constant stress being applied to the injured tissue while walking. Because of this, complete healing may take anywhere from 6 to 12 months. It is usually difficult for athletes to stay inactive for such a long period, so recurrence of hamstring injuries are common.

4. Shin splints

What they are – Undergoing or participating in strenuous training programs like running on long paved roads sometimes causes pain down the front of the lower legs. This kind of pain is known as shin splints.

What you can do – Treatment for shin splints includes rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain medicine.

When to see a doctor – The pain brought about by shin splints is rarely due to a stress fracture (a break in the shin bone). However, if pain persists even after resting, you should see your doctor. Stress fractures require a longer rest period, usually a month or more.

5. Knee injury: ACL tear

ACL TearWhat it is – ACL or the anterior cruciate ligaments hold the leg bone to the knee. These ligaments may be torn or strained if they are hit from the side, or due to sudden “cuts” or stops. If there is a complete or total tear, the dreaded “pop” may be heard.

When to see a doctor – ACL tears are considered the most serious of the common sports injuries. So if you suspect an ACL injury, you must see your doctor immediately. A completely torn ACL may require surgery if the individual wants to remain physically active.

6: Knee injury: Patellofemoral pain syndrome

What it is – The patella is the kneecap, and the femur is the thigh bone. The repetitive movement of the patella against the femur can damage the tissue under the kneecap, and this can lead to patellofemoral syndrome (also known as jumper’s knee or runner’s knee). Running, playing volleyball or basketball are common causes. One or both knees can be affected.

What you can do – Patellofemoral pain can last up to six weeks. Low-impact exercises can be done during this time. Working out the quadriceps may also ease the pain.

7. Tennis elbow (epicondylitis)

Tennis ElbowWhat it is – Repetitive use of the elbow may cause tiny tears or irritate the elbow’s tendons. This is known as lateral epicondylitis. It usually occurs during tennis or golf swings. Tennis elbow commonly involves the outside of the elbow. People aged 30 to 60 are the most commonly affected by this injury.

What you can do – People suffering from epicondylitis are advised not to play golf or tennis until the pain eases.

How to Prevent Common Sports Injuries

Accidents leading to injuries can happen while participating in sports activities. Sometimes, they are beyond our control. That said, it’s important to note that common sports injuries are preventable. We can institute measures to minimize their occurrence. Some injuries happen simply because we are not conditioned for a particular activity.

A gentle warm-up at the start of the workout or sport will help prevent sports injuries. A good warm-up increases blood flow to the muscles, allows you to be more flexible, and reduces the possibility of sports injuries. Gradually increase intensity and always use proper form to avoid injury.

Overuse injuries are common but preventable. Don’t engage in a sport for an extended period if you have been physically inactive for a long time. If you are about to participate in a sports activity, whether it is hiking, running, or any team sports, it will be beneficial if you do some “pre-participation training” before the activity.

Lastly, learn to recognize your capabilities and limitations. Muscle fatigue reduces and may even remove all your protective mechanisms, increasing your risk for injuries. If you feel you can no longer play, stop and rest. There are plenty of opportunities next time.

Conclusion

Playing sports can provide many health benefits while doing something you’re passionate about. But sports can also cause injuries. While it’s not always possible to prevent all these common sports injuries, there are things you can do to reduce the risk. Injuries caused by straining and overuse can be prevented by stretching before and after the activity. Also, listen to your body when it’s telling you that it needs some rest.

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What is the Importance of Hydration?

The body is made up of 60% water. You lose water whenever you sweat, go to the bathroom, even when you breathe. Moreover, you lose water faster when the weather is hot, if you have a fever, or when you’re physically active. If you do not replace the water you lost, you can become dehydrated. Water is important in maintaining the normal function of organs and systems in your body, including your muscles, brain, and heart. In this article, you’ll learn more about the importance of hydration.

10 Reasons Why Hydration is Important

1. Flushes toxins

While the kidneys naturally filter wastes from the body, they need adequate water intake to function properly. When your body is dehydrated, elimination of wastes is diminished. Kidney function may be affected, causing toxins to build up in the body. The kidneys need water to filter wastes from the blood and excrete it in the urine. Keeping hydrated also helps prevent constipation, kidney stones, and urinary tract infections.

2. Good for the heart

When arteries become narrowed and blocked with plaque and cholesterol, the risk of a heart attack increases. An American Journal of Epidemiology study found that drinking more water has been associated with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease.

Conversely, dehydration lowers blood volume, making the heart work harder to pump the reduced amount of blood and send oxygen to your cells. This can make activities like climbing stairs and exercise more difficult.

3. Helps maximize physical performance

Man Lifting a BarbellPhysical performance can suffer if you are not well hydrated. This is especially true during intense exercise or when the temperature in the environment is high. There’s a noticeable effect if you lose as little as 2% of your body’s water content. This can result in altered body temperature control, increased fatigue, and can make exercise more difficult, both physically and mentally.

Optimal hydration can prevent this from happening and can also reduce the oxidative stress that occurs during high-intensity exercise. Muscle is almost 80% water. If you exercise intensely and sweat heavily, staying hydrated can help you perform at your absolute best.

4. Keeps your body cool

Another importance of hydration is keeping your body cool. The body releases heat by expanding blood vessels close to the surface of the skin, leading to increased blood flow and more heat dissipated into the air. This is why the face gets red during exercise. But when you are dehydrated, it takes a higher temperature to make blood vessels widen, so you stay hotter.

5. Good for muscle and joint health

Woman Performing GymnasticsWhen you are well hydrated, the water inside and outside the contracting muscle cells provides nutrients and removes wastes, so you perform better. Water also helps lubricate joints. Proper hydration helps prevent joint diseases since water promotes cartilage health and reduces inflammation.

6. Improves mood

Dehydration can cause headaches and make you irritable. Even mild dehydration has a negative effect on mood. A glass of water can help prevent headaches and promote a sense of refreshment that can naturally improve mood as well.

7. Increases energy levels

Replacing lost fluids is especially important after vigorous exercise. Studies have found that hydration before, during, and after exercise not only reduces fatigue, but also improves endurance. When you’re properly hydrated, energy levels can rise.

8. Boosts cognitive functioning

Instead of eating a sugary snack to get a mental boost, try drinking a glass of water instead. A study published in the Frontiers in Human Neuroscience found that drinking water may enhance brain function. Participants who drank water performed better and faster on a series of cognitive tasks, compared to those who did not.

9. Improves skin complexion

Flawless SkinLike all cells, skin cells are made up of water. If your skin isn’t receiving adequate hydration, it will appear tight, dry, and flaky. It will be less elastic. Fine wrinkles will also be more pronounced. So drink plenty of water if you want glowing, radiant skin.

10. Promotes weight loss

Drinking lots of water may help you lose weight. This is because water can boost your metabolic rate as well as increase satiety (make you feel full). According to studies published in the journal Obesity, dieters who increased their water consumption lost more weight than those who did not. This may be because thirst is often disguised as hunger.

How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day?

Health authorities recommended drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. This is known as the 8×8 rule and is easy to remember. That said, different people may need different amounts of water to keep hydrated, depending on factors such as physical activity and the weather.

Most people can stay well hydrated by drinking water and other fluids on a regular basis, before they feel thirsty. If you’re concerned that your water intake is not enough, check your urine. If it is colorless or light yellow, then you are well hydrated. But if your urine is dark yellow or amber in color, you may be dehydrated and need to drink more water.

Symptoms of Dehydration

• Extreme thirst
• Dry mouth
• Fatigue
• Little or no urine
• Urine is darker than usual
• Headache
• Confusion
• Dizziness or lightheadedness
• Sleepiness
• No tears when crying

Ways to Get Hydrated

It is best to drink water for hydration. Water can also be found in fruits and vegetables. Other drinks and foods can also help you stay hydrated. The disadvantage is that some of them may add extra calories and sugar to your diet. For example, fruit juices, milk, and tea add to the amount of water you receive each day. Even caffeinated drinks (coffee or soda) can add to your daily water intake. However, caffeine may cause you to urinate more frequently and make you feel anxious or jittery.

Sports drinks are often consumed while doing high-intensity exercise. They contain electrolytes and carbohydrates that can boost energy. They may also help your body absorb water. But some sports drinks are high in calories and contain added sugar. These type of drinks may also contain high levels of sodium. Some contain caffeine, too.

Another type of drink is energy drinks. They differ from sports drinks in the sense that they contain large amounts of caffeine. Additionally, they contain ingredients that have a stimulating effect (e.g., guarana, ginseng, or taurine). Most energy drinks are high in added sugar, too.

Conclusion

Your body needs water to survive. Every cell and organ in the body needs water to work properly. The importance of hydration cannot be underestimated. The body uses water to keep the heart, brain, and muscles functioning properly. Water is also important for lubricating joints, removing waste, maintaining optimal temperature, and transporting nutrients to the cells in your body. Simply put, water is needed for overall health. To prevent dehydration, drink adequate amounts of water every day.

Want to get fit and healthy? Sign up to FITin56. You’ll gain access to exercise and workout videos, a nutrition plan, plus health and fitness tips!

About Us

FITin56® is a revolutionary fitness program that helps anyone get fit in 56 days — and stay fit! Members get online access to workout videos, exercise videos, and a nutrition plan. Lose weight, tone, or build muscle — follow the plan that best meets your goals. Get fit and healthy in only 30 minutes per day!

FITin56® is a registered trademark of CREATIVE PRODUCTS, LLC.

Founded in 1989, CREATIVE PRODUCTS was built with the vision of providing hard to find, innovative, useful, and creative products to customers worldwide. We strive to bring our customers only the best products and services available.