The leafy vegetable that loves to get stuck in between your teeth is making a strong case for getting stuck in your dog's teeth too: Spinach packs a big punch in terms of health benefits for pups, and is especially unique in its diversity of essential and non-essential (but still super good-for-them) nutrients. We took a closer look at why these powerhouse greens can be so vital to a dog's diet:
Makes it easier to see clearly. Spinach contains a class of fat-soluble pigments called carotenoids, namely lutein, zeaxanthin and chlorophyll. These give spinach leaves that vibrant green color and have been shown to support healthy eyes, particularly their ability to interpret light and dark, which becomes especially important as dogs age.
Fights free radicals. Spinach is rich in anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants, which buffer cells from the damage of free radicals—those highly reactive molecules in the body that weaken and wear out cells, speeding up the aging process and leaving weakened cells vulnerable to disease.
Gets the blood pumping. Spinach boasts high levels of vitamin K, which is an important player in keeping blood cells healthy, particularly in blood's ability to clot normally. Vitamin K also helps support strong bones and heart health.
Hates the C word. Cancer, that is. Spinach has long been touted as a cancer preventer for humans, but new studies suggest that it can also aid in fighting cancerous tumors in animals. Researchers believe the rich supply of vitamins, minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and phytonutrients do the job. The folate in spinach also helps the body produce new cells while repairing DNA.
Is basically its own dream team. While the vitamins and nutrients in spinach get most of the accolades, this veggie also contains some impressive trace minerals like copper (associated with red blood cell production) and magnesium (a necessary cofactor in cell performance and energy production). That's right, the more in your dog's teeth, the better. Just be sure to let him know before he heads out on a date.