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5 Evidence-Based Benefits of Spinach Juice

Health + Wellness
5 Evidence-Based Benefits of Spinach Juice
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By Rachael Link, MS, RD

Spinach is a true nutritional powerhouse, as it's rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.


Notably, you aren't limited to tossing it into salads and sides. Juicing fresh spinach has become a popular way to enjoy this green veggie.

In fact, spinach juice is linked to an array of impressive health benefits.

Here are 5 of the top science-backed benefits of spinach juice.

1. High in Antioxidants

Drinking spinach juice is a great way to boost your antioxidant intake.

Antioxidants neutralize unstable molecules called free radicals, thus protecting you against oxidative stress and chronic disease.

In particular, spinach is a good source of the antioxidants lutein, beta carotene, coumaric acid, violaxanthin, and ferulic acid.

According to a small, 16-day study in 8 people, drinking 8 ounces (240 mL) of spinach daily prevented oxidative damage to DNA.

Animal studies reveal similar findings, tying spinach to oxidative stress prevention.

Summary

Spinach juice is high in antioxidants, which can help prevent oxidative damage and safeguard against chronic illnesses.

2. May Improve Eye Health

Spinach juice is loaded with lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants necessary for maintaining healthy vision.

Some research suggests that these compounds help protect against age-related macular degeneration, a common condition that can cause progressive vision loss.

A review of six studies linked increased intake of zeaxanthin and lutein to a lower risk of cataracts, an eye condition that clouds and blurs the lens of your eye.

What's more, spinach juice is high in vitamin A, which is important for eye health. A deficiency in this vitamin can cause dry eyes and night blindness.

Although the exact amount varies based on how much water you use and whether you add other ingredients, juicing 4 cups (120 grams) of raw spinach generally produces about 1 cup (240 mL) of juice.

In turn, this amount of juice provides nearly 63% of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin A.

Summary

Spinach juice is rich in vitamin A and antioxidants like zeaxanthin and lutein, all of which promote healthy vision.

3. May Decrease Cancer Cell Growth

Although more human research is needed, some studies suggest that certain compounds in spinach may help combat cancer cell growth.

In a 2-week study in mice, spinach juice reduced the volume of colon cancer tumors by 56%.

Another mouse study showed that monogalactosyl diacylglycerol (MGDG), a spinach compound, enhanced the effects of radiation therapy to kill pancreatic cancer cells.

Furthermore, human studies indicate that eating more leafy greens lowers your risk of lung, prostate, breast, and colorectal cancer.

Nonetheless, these studies are focused on overall leafy green intake rather than spinach juice specifically. Thus, additional studies are needed.

Summary

Animal studies note that some compounds in spinach may decrease cancer cell growth, while human research associates leafy greens with a lower risk of certain cancers. All the same, further research is necessary.

4. May Reduce Blood Pressure

Spinach juice is high in naturally occurring nitrates, a type of compound that can help dilate your blood vessels. In turn, this may lower blood pressure and boost blood flow.

A 7-day study in 27 people found that eating spinach soup daily decreased blood pressure and arterial stiffness, compared with a control group.

In another small study, 30 people who ate nitrate-rich spinach experienced lower systolic blood pressure (the upper number of a reading) and improved nitric oxide status.

One cup (240 mL) of spinach juice also packs over 14% of the DV for potassium — a mineral involved in regulating blood pressure by controlling the amount of sodium excreted through your urine.

Summary

Spinach is high in nitrates and potassium, which may improve blood flow and reduce blood pressure.

5. May Promote Healthy Hair and Skin

Spinach juice is a great source of vitamin A, with nearly 63% of the DV in 1 cup (240 mL).

This vitamin helps regulate skin cell generation and produce mucous to protect against infections.

One cup (240 mL) of spinach juice also contains about 38% of the DV for vitamin C, which is an essential water-soluble vitamin that doubles as an antioxidant.

Studies show that vitamin C protects your skin against oxidative stress, inflammation, and skin damage, all of which can accelerate signs of aging. Furthermore, it helps synthesize collagen, a connective tissue protein that promotes wound healing and skin elasticity.

What's more, vitamin C may increase iron absorption and even help prevent hair loss associated with iron deficiency.

Summary

Spinach juice is high in vitamins A and C, two important micronutrients that can promote skin and hair health.

Potential Side Effects

While spinach juice is associated with some benefits, there are a few drawbacks to consider.

For starters, most of the available research is focused on spinach itself — not the juice. Thus, further studies on the juice are needed.

Additionally, juicing removes most of the fiber from spinach, which could curb some of its benefits.

Studies show that fiber may help improve blood sugar control, weight loss, and blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It may also protect against several digestive disorders, including hemorrhoids, constipation, acid reflux, and diverticulitis.

Spinach is likewise high in vitamin K, large amounts of which can interfere with blood thinners like warfarin. If you're taking blood thinners, consult a healthcare professional before adding spinach juice to your daily routine.

It's also important to carefully read labels if you purchase store-bought juices, as some varieties may be high in added sugar.

Finally, keep in mind that spinach juice should not be used as a meal replacement, as it's lacking in many of the nutrients necessary for a balanced diet.

Rather, you should drink it to supplement a healthy diet, enjoying it alongside a variety of other whole fruits and vegetables.

Summary

Juicing removes most of the fiber from spinach, which may inhibit some of its health benefits. Furthermore, you shouldn't use spinach juice as a meal replacement.

The Bottom Line

Spinach juice is high in antioxidants and beneficial compounds that may protect your vision, decrease blood pressure, and improve hair and skin health.

However, it's low in fiber and isn't an appropriate meal replacement, as it's lacking in important nutrients like protein and healthy fats.

If you drink spinach juice, be sure to enjoy it alongside other whole, nutritious foods as part of a balanced diet.

Reposted with permission from Healthline. For detailed source information, please view the original article on Healthline.

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In early October, Britain's Prince William teamed up with conservationist David Attenborough to launch the Earthshot Prize, a new award for environmentalist innovation. The Earthshot brands itself the "most prestigious global environment prize in history."

The world-famous wildlife broadcaster and his royal sidekick appear to have played an active role in the prize's inception, and media coverage has focused largely on them as the faces of the campaign.

But the pair are only the frontmen of a much larger movement which has been in development for several years. In addition to a panel of experts who will decide on the winners, the prize's formation took advice from the World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace and the Jack Ma Foundation.

With more and more global attention on the climate crisis, celebrity endorsement of environmental causes has become more common. But why do environmental causes recruit famous faces for their campaigns? And what difference can it make?

'Count Me In'

"We need celebrities to reach those people who we cannot reach ourselves," says Sarah Marchildon from the United Nations Climate Change secretariat (UNFCCC) in Bonn, Germany.

Marchildon is a proponent of the use of celebrities to raise awareness of environmental causes. In addition to promoting a selection of climate ambassadors who represent the UN on sustainability issues, Marchildon's team has produced videos with well-known narrators from the entertainment world: among them, Morgan Freeman and Mark Ruffalo.

"We choose celebrities who have a lifestyle where they are already talking about these issues," Marchildon explains.

"Sometimes they reach out to us themselves, as David Attenborough did recently. And then they can promote the videos on their own social channels which reach more people than we do — for example, if they have 20 million followers and we have 750,000."

Environmental groups focused on their own domestic markets are also taking this approach. One Germany-based organization that uses celebrities in campaigns is the German Zero NGO. Set up in 2019, it advocates for a climate-neutral Germany by 2035.

German Zero produced a video in March 2020 introducing the campaign with "66 celebrities" that supported the campaign, among them Deutschland 83 actor Jonas Nay and former professional footballer Andre Schürrle. They solicit support as well as financial contributions from viewers.

"Count me in," they say, pointing toward the camera. "You too?"

"We are incredibly grateful for the VIPs in our videos," says German Zero spokeswoman Eva-Maria McCormack.

Assessing Success Is Complex

But quantifying the effectiveness of celebrity endorsement of campaigns is not a straightforward process.

"In order to measure effectiveness, first of all you need to define what is meant by success," says Alegria Olmedo, a researcher at the Zoology Department at the University of Oxford.

Olmedo is the author of a study looking at a range of campaigns concerning pangolin consumption, fronted by local and Western celebrities, in Vietnam and China. But she says her biggest stumbling block was knowing how to measure a campaign's success.

"You need a clear theory of change," explains Olmedo. "Have the celebrities actually helped in achieving the campaign's goals? And how do you quantify these goals? Maybe it is increased donations or higher engagement with a cause."

A popular campaign in China in recent years saw famous chefs Zhao Danian and Shu Yi pledge to abstain from cooking endangered wildlife. While the pledge achieved widespread recognition, both Olmedo and Marchildon say it's difficult to know whether it made any difference to people's actions.

"In life we see a thousand messages every day, and it is very hard to pinpoint whether one campaign has actually made a difference in people's behavior," she explains.

Awareness Is Not Enough

Many campaigns that feature celebrities focus on raising awareness rather than on concrete action — which, for researcher Olmedo, raises a further problem in identifying effectiveness.

"Reach should never be a success outcome," she says. "Many campaigns say they reached a certain number of people on social media. But there has been a lot of research that shows that simply giving people information does not mean they are actually going to remember it or act upon it."

But anecdotal evidence from campaigns may suggest reach can make an active difference.

"Our VIP video is by far the most watched on our social media channels," McCormack from German Zero says. "People respond to it very directly. A lot of volunteers of all ages heard about us through that video."

However, some marketing studies have shown that celebrity endorsement of a cause or product can distract from the issue itself, as people only remember the person, not the content of what they were saying.

Choosing the Right Celebrity

Celebrity choice is also very important. Campaigns that use famous faces are often aiming to appeal to members of the public who do not necessarily follow green issues.

For certain campaigns with clear target audiences, choosing a climate scientist or well-known environmentalist rather than a celebrity could be more appealing — Attenborough is a classic example. For others, images and videos involving cute animals may be more likely to get a message heard than attaching a famous face.

"We choose celebrities who have a lifestyle where they are already talking about these issues," says Marchildon from the UN. "You need figures with credibility."

McCormack cites the example of Katharine Hayhoe, an environmental scientist who is also an evangelical Christian. In the southern United States, Hayhoe has become a celebrity in her own right, appealing to an audience that might not normally be interested in the messages of climate scientists.

But as soon as you get a celebrity involved, campaigns also put themselves at risk of the whims of that celebrity. Prince William and younger members of the royal family have come under fire in recent years for alleged hypocrisy for their backing of environmental campaigns while simultaneously using private jets to fly around the world.

But Does It Really Work?

While environmental campaigns hope that endorsement from well-known figures can boost a campaign, there is little research to back this up.

"The biggest finding [from my study] was that we were unable to produce any evidence that shows that celebrity endorsement of environmental causes makes any difference," says Olmedo.

This will come as a blow to many campaigns that have invested time and effort into relationships with celebrity ambassadors. But for many, the personal message that many celebrities offer in videos like that produced by German Zero and campaigns like the Earthshot Prize are what counts.

The research may not prove this conclusively — but if the public believes a person they respect deeply personally cares about an important issue, they are perhaps more likely to care too.

"I personally believe in the power this can have," says Marchildon. "And if having a celebrity involved can get a single 16-year-old future leader thinking about environmentalist issues — that is enough."

Reposted with permission from DW.

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