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Secret Side Effects of Eating Spinach, Says Science

Adding this tasty vegetable to your meal plan can benefit practically every part of your body.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

Whether you're adding it to a smoothie or using it as the base for your salad, eating spinach is an easy way to hit your vegetable goals on a daily basis. However, this flavorful green does a lot more than just benefit your palate—it's host to a wide variety of nutritional benefits that can have significant effects on your wellbeing, too.

If you want to live a longer, healthier life, read on to discover the secret side effects of eating spinach, according to science. And for more great additions to your regular meal plan, check out The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.

You may lose weight.

stepping on scale

If you're having a hard time losing weight, adding a little extra spinach to your diet may help. A 2014 study published in Appetite found that, among a group of 38 overweight women who were given either a beverage containing spinach extract or a placebo, those given the spinach extract experienced up to a 95% reduction in food cravings and lost 43% more weight than members of the control group during the study period.

For more simple ways to shed those extra pounds, check out these 15 Underrated Weight Loss Tips That Actually Work.

You may lower blood pressure.

female doctor taking blood pressure.

Getting your blood pressure into healthier territory may be as simple as adding some spinach to your diet. According to 2015 research published in the journal Clinical Nutrition Research, study subjects who consumed high-nitrate spinach soup over the course of seven days experienced reduced arterial stiffness and lowered their systolic blood pressure.

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You may reduce your risk of heart disease.

Woman suffering from chest pain

Lowering your blood pressure isn't the only way eating spinach may benefit your cardiovascular health. A 2021 study published in the European Journal of Epidemiology found that eating just one cup of nitrate-rich leafy greens, like spinach, per day could reduce a person's risk of peripheral artery disease by as much as 26%, and can lower people's risk of heart attack, heart failure, and stroke. And if you want to keep your heart healthy, start with The Best Foods That Can Help Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease.

You may reduce your risk of vision loss.

Optometrist checking patient eyesight and vision correction

Your parents may have told you that carrots were good for your eye health—but spinach might just be the real MVP when it comes to your vision. According to a study published in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, among a group of 380 men and women between 66 and 78 years of age, those with lower levels of zeaxanthin, a nutrient abundant in spinach, were significantly more likely to have age-related macular degeneration.

You may reduce your colorectal cancer risk.

stomach pain

Whether you have a family history or other risk factors for the condition, adding some spinach to your diet may have a protective effect against colorectal cancer. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that, among 2,410 individuals whose data was collected as part of the US Department of Agriculture-Nutrition Coordinating Center carotenoid database, those with higher dietary intakes of lutein, an antioxidant found in spinach, had lower rates of colorectal cancer.

For more insight into the effects of spinach on your digestive tract, check out the One Major Effect Eating Spinach Has on Your Gut, New Study Says.

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Sarah Crow
Sarah Crow is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, where she focuses on celebrity news and health coverage. Read more about Sarah