Here's Exactly What Happens to Your Body if You Eat Spinach Every Day

If you watched the cartoon Popeye as a kid, you probably remember the sailor gobbling down cans of spinach every time he needed to become bigger and stronger. (Has there been a more effective way to get kids to eat their greens? Probably not.)

There’s no denying the health benefits of spinach, but as adults, you’re wise to the fact that you aren’t going to notice an immediate difference after having it as part of your dinner. In reality, the benefits of eating spinach happen gradually, impacting both short- and long-term health, perhaps without you even realizing it. Curious as to how? Keep reading to find out.

Related: 'I Ate Pasta Every Day for a Week—Here's What Happened'

The Short-Term Benefits of Eating Spinach Regularly

While it’s best to eat a wide variety of vegetables to get a well-rounded mix of nutrients, registered dietitian Yaa Boakye, RDN, says that it is safe to eat spinach every day if you want to. “Typically, a balanced portion size, such as one to two cups of fresh spinach or half a cup of cooked spinach per day, can provide substantial health benefits without significant risk,” she explains.

Like other foods, there’s a tipping point with spinach when eating too much can backfire, however. “Excessive consumption of spinach can lead to an overconsumption of oxalates, which may contribute to kidney stone formation in susceptible individuals. That said, it would be challenging for most people to consume spinach in excessive amounts daily, as spinach is quite filling due to its high fiber content,” Boakye shares.

Additionally, registered dietitian and owner of Whole Self Nutrition Caroline Young, MS, RD, LD, RYT, says that people on blood thinning medication need to be mindful of how much spinach they consume because it’s high in vitamin K, which thins blood.

The reason why spinach is heralded as a healthy food to eat regularly is because of the many vitamins and nutrients it contains. Boakye says that this includes vitamins A, C and K, folate, magnesium, manganese, fiber and antioxidants. How do these nutrients impact health in the short term? Both dietitians say that one difference people will notice if they start eating spinach regularly is improved digestion because of its fiber content. “The dietary fiber in spinach promotes healthy digestion and regular bowel movements. Fiber supports a healthy gut microbiome, which is essential for overall digestive health,” Boakye explains.

Another short-term benefit of eating spinach regularly is getting sick less often due to a stronger immune system. “Spinach has a good amount of vitamin C, which enhances the immune system by helping the function of white blood cells and protecting cells from oxidative damage," Boakye says. "This keeps you healthy—assuming you are also managing stress, drinking water, getting sleep and engaging in other wellness activities."

Related: Here's What Happens to Your Body if You Eat Apples Every Day

5 Ways Eating Spinach Every Day Impacts Long-Term Health

If you continue eating spinach regularly, both dietitians say that there are several ways it will benefit your long-term health, which are listed below.

1. You’ll be at lower risk for cardiovascular disease

Young and Boakye both say that eating spinach regularly is good for your heart due to several of its nutrients. Young says that the fiber in spinach helps keep cholesterol at a healthy level while the nitrates in spinach keep blood pressure from rising to unhealthy levels. High cholesterol and high blood pressure are two major risks of cardiovascular disease, so keeping your levels in check is an important way to lower your risk. “Additionally, the potassium content in spinach helps balance sodium levels in the body, further supporting cardiovascular health,” Boakye adds.

2. Your risk of cognitive decline and dementia will be lower

Spinach is also good for your brain. “Spinach contains antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect brain cells from oxidative damage. Early research suggests a potential association with a reduced risk of cognitive decline, but more studies are needed to establish a definitive link,” Boakye says.

The fiber in spinach also supports brain health. A high-fiber diet is linked to supporting better mental health and cognitive function. Fiber intake is also shown to be inversely linked to dementia risk; the more fiber consumed, the lower the risk.

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3. Eating spinach regularly supports vision

You know the lutein and zeaxanthin in spinach that supports brain health? These nutrients are also known for supporting eye health and can help protect against an age-related decline in vision. Additionally, Young and Boakye both say that the carotenoids in spinach also support eye health and damage caused by sunlight.

4. Your risk of certain diseases and cancers will be lower

Like other vegetables, spinach is rich in antioxidants, which Boakye says helps protect against disease-causing chronic inflammation. “Antioxidants are substances that protect your cells from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals, which come from environmental sources like pollution and UV light or from natural processes within your body. By neutralizing free radicals, antioxidants help prevent cell damage and reduce the risk of chronic diseases,” she explains.

5. Eating spinach regularly helps keep bones strong

Bones get weaker as we age, which is why it’s important to prioritize foods that keep bones strong as you get older. Boakye says that spinach is one great, bone-supporting food because of its high vitamin K content.

As you can see, there are many health benefits of eating spinach regularly. Incorporate this veggie into your meals and you’ll be supporting your entire body both now and for years to come.

Next up, find out which food you should eat every day if you want to live to be 100, according to registered dietitians.