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Thursday, November 04, 2010


Even though spinach may grow up to only 10 inches high, it is packed with health benefits. It has been on the menu of many for ages, but gained more popularity when it was spread in Europe in the 13th and 14th century.

Spinacia oleracea

Spinach may be one of the healthiest foods on earth, qualifying for six Superfood categories: Heart, Eyes, Brain, Skin, Bones, and Immunity.

One and a half cups raw (85g) provides a top source of folate, potassium, and magnesium, as well as an excellent source of manganese, and vitamins A, C, and K. This same serving also provides a good source of iron and has just 20 calories.

In addition, spinach is a top source of the eye-healthy carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which have shown to lower risk of cataract development. A Dole Nutrition Institute study found spinach juice to be significantly more nutritious than wheat grass juice.

While spinach is very high in calcium, it is also high in oxalates- minerals that interfere with calcium’s bioavailability (i.e., the body's ability to use calcium). However, there's evidence that cooking fruits and vegetables can significantly reduce a food's oxalate content.

In addition, Popeye's favorite may help maintain mental sharpness and reduce the risk of cancers of the liver, ovaries, colon and prostate.
~Source: Dole Food Facts.

Spinach is also a good provider for vitamin E, magnesium, betaine, vitamin B2 and B6, copper, protein, phosphorus, zinc, niacin, selenium, omega-3 fatty acids and is full of dietary fiber.

I also found that it may be good for arthritis, osteoporosis, migraine headaches, and asthma, because of its anti-inflammatory properties. However, people with gout, kidney or gallblatter conditions, or an allergic reaction to spinach, may do best to stay away from it; spinach increases the uric acid levels and inhibits the absorbtion of calcium in the blood.

Apparently, boiling the spinach can cost you about half the level of folate. If you microwave it, it does not seem to affect the folate level at all. That makes the choice rather easy, huh?!

It is best to consume spinach as quickly as possible, otherwise it will loose a lot of its nutritional value. If you like to store it longer, you can freeze, cook and freeze, or can it.

Spinach can be eaten raw in a salad as well. There are many recipes which include spinach, but make sure you have the organically grown spinach; any other may contain pesticides.

I guess we don't have to wonder anymore why Popeye relied on spinach when he needed physical strength; it is super food for the body.

Eating right may get us physically healthy and strong, but our real strength comes from God. He provides all we need, and then some! :-)

Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.


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