African Spinach is a dark leafy green vegetable found in most African countries, especially in the Western part of Africa.
It’s popularly called green in Nigeria, but it’s also known as mchicha in Tanzania, mowa in Zimbabwe, umfino in South Africa, bonongwe in Zambia and Malawi, efo tete in Yoruba, Inine in Igbo and alefu in Ghana.
Amaranthus hybridus or African spinach is not spinach though it has a similar but more potent flavor than spinach. Green thrives in hot weather and is an excellent source of protein, vitamins, and essential minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc
Health Benefit of African Spinach.
African Spinach is rich in fiber and water content, and also calories free, making it very good for the digestive tract. It relieves and prevents constipation, aid digestion, and help in the uptake of necessary nutrients due to their high fiber content. They are also used to treat diarrhea.
African spinach helps prevent anemia because they are high in iron, Vitamins A, B6, and folate. The high iron and folic acid content also help increase hemoglobin content and Red blood cell count.
African spinach is a good source of Folic acid, which is essential during pregnancy for the well being of the mother and the baby. Folic acid is also necessary for the growth and prevention of birth defects in babies.
It’s antihyperglycemic activity and high fiber content aid in lowering blood sugar in type 2 diabetes. The protein also helps control insulin level in the blood
African spinach does not contain cholesterol but contains phytosterol, which is plant cholesterol; they also contain fiber, both of which help lower serum cholesterol. Tocotrienol, a type of vitamin E which lowers LDL (bad cholesterol) and helps to prevent coronary heart disease, is also present in amaranth greens.
There is a right electrolyte balance in African Spinach; it’s high in both potassium and magnesium. It also has an ideal sodium-potassium ratio, all of which are conducive to the management and prevention of hypertension.
It contains essential antioxidants that help to improve eyesight and prevent the eyes from the effect of ultraviolet rays that can cause cataracts as well as vitamin A deficiency—also, African spinach aids in preventing cataracts and macular degeneration that can lead to blindness.
Promotes Healthy Brain:
Regular eating of this African spinach reduces the occurrence and offer gradual corrections to already existing neural problems. It has essential contents such as folate, and potassium, that correct issues relating to cognitive depreciation and reduce the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease.
Regular intake of African spinach helps to improve skeletal and bone health because it is a good source of vitamin K that is responsible for retaining calcium in the bone matrix. It is also rich in minerals like zinc, phosphorus, copper, manganese, and magnesium that help in the building of a healthy bone and preventing osteoporosis. These minerals are also crucial for maintaining healthy nails and teeth. Consume spinach today for a strong and healthy bone.
Promotes Heart Health:
Consuming African spinach helps in preventing a heart attack due to its richness in lutein that prevents the thickening of the walls arteries, thereby preventing atherosclerosis that is caused due to hardening of the arteries.
Relaxes the body:
African Spinach helps in reducing stress and keeps the body relaxed. It contains the right amount of magnesium and zinc, which enables you to sleep well at night. Magnesium also aids in replenishing your body with energy.
They contain essential nutrients that are anti-inflammatory against skin infection. Also, being a powerful astringent which contains squalene, they are a remedy for skin allergies, acne, eczema, and general skin health. The Antioxidant property of vitamin E, Vitamin C, and lysine (an essential amino acid) in the greens, fight free radicals. These free radicals are responsible for aging and the formation of malignant cells.
The Application of African spinach juice, which contains squalene, will condition and add moisture to brittle hair preventing it from falling off. It also slows down premature greying.