Let’s face it, we’ve all been there. The old forgotten bag of spinach in the fridge.
Maybe you travel out of town for work . Maybe you go out with coworkers for dinner. Maybe you get caught up snacking on saltines and sour skittles while you’re at home binge watching a show. And maybe you just like having pizza delivered- a lot.
For whatever reason you may have, I think I can guess how the story goes: You’re left with another gross bag of wasted yellow spinach and a funky smell in your fridge because you didn’t eat it.
It stinks. (metaphorically and literally)
But don’t worry- your days of forgetting about spinach are over.
5 Health Benefits of Spinach
Full of nutrients and delicious taste, spinach is a winter superfood not to be forgotten. I’ve outlined five of my favorite health benefits that you can reap by adding spinach to your daily diet.
STAY SHARP MENTALLY
People who ate 1-2 servings of dark leafy greens a day had the mental abilities of those over a decade younger, according to research presented at the American Society for Nutrition conference in 2015.
Why? Researchers believe vitamin K plays a main role by helping create sphingolipids—special fats that are critical to brain function.
The lutein, folate and beta carotene in the greens may also help.
GET STRONGER BONES
I think for anyone who’s seen Popeye is familiar with the fact that the dairy aisle isn’t the only place to find calcium-rich foods; dark leafy greens such as spinach are also a great source.
Calcium is needed to build bones and teeth, as well as keep your muscles and nerves working.
MAINTAIN A HEALTHY BLOOD PRESSURE
Spinach has a very high content of potassium and a low content of sodium, which makes its composition very beneficial for high blood pressure patients as potassium lowers and sodium raises the blood pressure.
The folate present in the veggie also contributes to the reduction of hypertension and relaxes blood vessels, while maintaining proper blood flow.
HAVE KILLER 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 people from suffering from vitamin A deficiency, itching eyes, eye ulcers, and dry eyes.
This is also due to some of the anti-inflammatory properties of it, which can reduce the puffiness or irritation in the eyes.
According to the National Institutes of Health, arthritis, which is joint inflammation, affects about one in every five people in the United States.
Luckily research suggests eating vitamin K-rich veggies can dramatically reduce inflammation. In fact, spinach has more than a dozen anti-inflammatory compounds.
This makes spinach is one of the most powerful vegetables when it comes to reducing inflammation throughout the body.
The Arthritis Foundation recommends trying to get in nine or more servings daily of a colorful fruit or veggie like spinach daily to maximize benefits. One serving is 2 cups of raw greens or 1 cup of cooked.
4 EASY WAYS TO PREPARE THIS LEAFY GREEN SUPERFOOD
Dark leafy greens are some of the most nutritious foods on the planet that you can eat. They’re packed with fiber and vitamins A, C and K, and have countless benefits beyond the 5 I have outlined above.
Spinach is the one food that I eat almost every day because I find it easy to prepare, affordable, and satiating .
I have 4 favorite ways to prepare spinach that work well for breakfast, lunch, a snack, or dinner.
The first, which I have a lot for breakfast, is scrambled green eggs. I just throw some baby spinach leaves in a pan while I’m whipping up some scrambled eggs.
The second is simply sauteed. I will take a bag of the dark leafy greens and cook it down on the stove with a couple drops of water and a pinch of salt. I always find a pair of tongs to be my best utensil for this.
The third is what I like to call green nachos. I microwave spinach along with a little layer of cheese on top. This is a favorite of mine after working out.
The fourth is just a salad. It’s not too overwhelming to take a bag of the dark leafy greens raw and throw together a fresh salad with gorgonzola, cranberries, and some fresh nuts with a simple pre-packaged vinaigrette dressing.
RESPECT FOR POPEYE THE SAILOR
I’ll be the first to admit, even though I basically eat spinach everyday, I still have the occasional slip up.
Sure, I’ve forgotten a bag or two (or 10) of it in the fridge since making it my 2016 new year’s resolution to never let a bag go bad again. But that’s a lot less than I wasted last year. And I feel healthier and am happier for it.
Maybe you don’t see yourself eating it everyday like me, but I do hope reading this has at least given you a new-found appreciation for Popeye’s legendary love of spinach- and perhaps ignites your own love affair with my personal favorite green leafy vegetable.