Saturday, January 22, 2011

We Love Spinach!

"I'm strong to the finish
'Cause I eats me spinach.
I'm Popeye the Sailor Man."

-- Popeye the Sailor Man

Spinach is one of our best sources of nutrition. It can be grown as a back yard crop or bought from your local market at affordable prices. It is a source of vitamin A, B6, C, folate, niacin, and traces of many other nutrients including thiamine and riboflavin. Spinach is rich in beta carotene, lutein and xanthene and chlorophyllin. It's also low in fat.

Spinach offers a wide range of benefits to most of our physiological processes, whether taken raw or cooked, such as:

• Good Eyesight: Spinach is a rich source of beta carotene, lutein and xanthene, all of which are beneficial for eyesight. Beta carotene is supplied to the eyes by cooked spinach. It can prevent vitamin A deficiency disease, itching eyes, eye ulcers and dry eyes.

Age-related Macula Degeneration (AMD): AMD or Retinitis pigmentosa is responsible for causing blindness. It is due to the degeneration of lutein and xanthene which form central part of the retina. According to research conducted by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, consumption of spinach can result in regaining of the two pigments and preventing AMD effectively.

Blood Pressure: Spinach has high content of potassium and low content of sodium. This composition of minerals is highly beneficial for high blood pressure patients, as potassium lowers and sodium raises the blood pressure. Folate contributes in reducing hypertension and relaxes blood vessels, maintaining proper blood flow.

• Strengthens Muscles: A component of spinach, factor C0-Q10 which is an anti-oxidant, plays important role in strengthening muscles especially heart muscle which continuously pumps blood to all parts of the body. As per the Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, C0-Q10 can be used to prevent and treat many cardiovascular diseases like hyperlipidemia, heart failure, hypertension and coronary heart diseases.

Cataract: Lutein and zeaxanthin present in spinach act as strong antioxidants thus preventing the eyes from harsh effects of UV rays that lead to cataract.

Atherosclerosis and Heart Attack: Atherosclerosis is caused due to hardening of arteries. A pigment named lutein found in spinach has been shown to reduce the occurrence atherosclerosis, heart attack as well as stroke. This is due to the fact that spinach proteins tend to reduce the cholesterol and other fat deposits in the blood vessels.

Neurological Benefits: Several components of spinach like potassium, folate, and various antioxidants are known to provide neurological benefits. According to Neurology, folate which reduces due to occurrence of Alzheimer's disease can be revived by spinach.

Bone Mineralization: Spinach is a good source of Vitamin K, which functions in retaining calcium in the bone matrix thereby leading to bone mineralization. Minerals such as manganese, copper, magnesium, zinc and phosphorus also help in building strong bones. This in turn can aid in the prevention of osteoporosis of bones.

Anti-Ulcerative: It has been found that spinach and some other vegetables have the ability to protect the mucous membrane of stomach thereby decreasing the occurrence of gastric ulcers.

Anti-Cancerous Property: Spinach made up of various important constituents has been found to be promising in fighting various types of cancer, such as bladder, prostate, liver and lung cancer. Different constituents in spinach like folate, tocopherol, and chlorophyllin act via different mechanisms to treat and protect patients suffering from cancer.

Skin Protection: Different phytonutrients and pigments have been shown to protect the skin from harmful rays of sun including the UV rays. These not only protect, but also repair the damaged genes to some extent, thereby preventing skin cancer in the long run.

Fetus Development: Folate found in spinach is needed by the growing fetus for proper development of new nervous system. Defects like cleft palate or spina bifida may occur due to deficiency of folate. Vitamin A offered by spinach is advised to be consumed in more quantities by the mother. Vitamin A is required in lung development of fetus as well as during breast feeding.

Protein Rich for Infant’s Proper Growth: Popeye the Sailor Man is known for his obsession for spinach. The cartoon was deliberately shown to eat spinach and get strong. Infants are advised to be fed with spinach which is a rich in protein, vitamins minerals and phytonutrients. These will result in proportionate development in their growing stages.

Raw or cooked, spinach is versatile. Use it as a salad base, toss some in a Vitamix for a smoothie base, add it to an egg scramble, and make it the last thing you add to a batch of soup. Breakfast, lunch and dinner, you can count on spinach as a source of vital nutrition. Remember, spinach "shrinks" as you cook it, so be generous in your portion. When cooking, we suggest steaming or "wilting" by cooking in low temperatures.

As always, we suggest organically grown produce to reduce your body's toxic burden.


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