Spinach Overview

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You can usually recognize SuperFood fans in the grocery store: Their carts are loaded with spinach. Nothing makes me happier than seeing how people have jumped on the spinach bandwagon. In the US we’re now eating five times more fresh spinach than we ate in the 1970’s. This is the highest levels of spinach consumption since the 1950’s when parents were urging their kids to eat spinach so they’d be as strong as Popeye. There are two reasons for this renaissance of spinach in the diet. For one thing, it’s never been easier to get spinach on the table. You can buy pre-washed baby spinach at most markets. Some can be microwaved right in the bag and on the table in three minutes. Baby spinach is great in a salad that can be made in an instant. To my mind, however, the most important reason for the popularity of spinach is its powerful health benefits. Spinach and it’s green, leafy sidekicks, are among the most nutritious foods on earth. Calorie for calorie, spinach provides more nutrients than any other food. Along with two of my favorite SuperFoods, wild salmon and blueberries, spinach is an all-star SuperFood that packs an incredible nutritional wallop. Low in calories and jam-packed with nutrients, spinach should be a regular part of your daily menu.

Spinach seems to be able to lessen our risk for many of the most common diseases of the twenty first century. Overwhelming research has demonstrated an inverse relationship between spinach consumption and the following:
  • Cardiovascular disease including stroke and coronary artery disease
  • Cancer including colon, lung, skin, oral, stomach, ovarian, prostate and breast cancer
  • Age related macular degeneration (AMD)
  • Cataracts
In addition, preliminary research suggests that spinach may help prevent or delay age-related cognitive decline.

What makes spinach and its sidekicks such powerful health promoters? The list of compounds that have been discovered in spinach is truly impressive. Beyond the iron that Popeye was yearning for, spinach contains carotenoids, antioxidants, vitamin K, coenzyme Q10, B vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll, polyphenols, betaine and, interestingly, plant-derived omega-3 fatty acids. This is a condensed list and it’s hard to convey the powerful impact of these nutrients as they work synergistically to promote health.
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