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Amazing Benefits Of Spinach (+5 Refreshing Recipes)

Amazing Benefits Of Spinach (+5 Refreshing Recipes)

Spinach had a long way to go before it got into Pop-Eye’s can… It was cultivated as far back as ancient Persia and by the 12th century, mothers all over Europe were telling their children to “eat your spinach”!  Spinach is in the goosefoot family, making it a relative of other healthy edibles like beets, chard and quinoa. And it’s not only delicious, it is incredibly good for you.  Read on to find out more about the benefits of spinach.

Spinach Treats Anemia

Spinach is an incredibly iron-rich food, one serving clocking in at 21% of the recommended daily allowance.  It is actually one of the best plant-based source of this mineral that you can eat. This makes it a great choice for those who suffer from iron-deficiency anemia.

Without enough iron in the body, it is impossible to make enough red blood cells which take oxygen from the lungs to all the cells in the body. People who have this condition can suffer from severe fatigue even when they are getting adequate rest.  An diet which includes spinach can help to bring back iron up to healthy levels.

Spinach Makes Your Bones Stronger

Calcium, like iron, is an important mineral. The body needs it to keep bones and teeth healthy and strong. If you are a woman, you have probably been told that eating/drinking a lot of dairy products is important for you so that you get enough calcium to keep your bones from becoming weak and brittle, a condition called osteoporosis.

However, dairy is not the only way to do this! Spinach gives you of 99 mg of calcium in the single serving (which is 10% of the recommended daily allowance), but with less fat and fewer calories than dairy products!

Spinach Has Anti-Cancer Properties

One of the best benefits of spinach is its anti-cancer properties.  It is rich in a group of plant compounds called carotenoids which in many studies have found to have a positive effect on cancer cells, even with aggressive forms of prostate cancer.  It is also a rich source of chlorophyll, another compound which studies have shown to lower cancer risk.

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Spinach Promotes Eye Health, Too

The antioxidants in spinach don’t just help to reduce your chances of getting cancer. They can also help you see better!  Spinach contains generous amount of another antioxidant compound called lutein.  Lutein has been shown to help promote good vision and to slow or prevent macular degeneration, a serious eye disease that can lead to blindness.

Spinach Helps Stop Bleeding

Vitamin K does many things in the body, but perhaps the most important is that it helps the blood to clot. Since blood clotting is one of the main ways that the body stops itself from bleeding uncontrollably if you get a cut.

However, if you are taking a blood thinner like Coumadin, you should talk to your doctor to find out how much spinach you should be eating: too much can reverse the affects of this medication. A single serving of spinach will give you 483 micrograms of vitamin K — 460% of the recommended daily allowance.

Spinach Helps with Cholesterol and Weight Loss

Spinach is not only rich in vitamins and minerals but is a great source of fiber, too.  Fiber is incredibly important for human health and affects many systems. To begin with, clinical studies have found that a diet rich in fiber can help lower cholesterol levels (to reduce the risk of a heart attack).

It has a great effect on the digestive system, too: it is linked with a decreased risk of constipation and is also helpful for those trying to lose weight as it can help to suppress the appetite and reduce hunger pains while dieting. Each serving of spinach will give you 2.2 grams of fiber.

Spinach Helps to Ward off Asthma

Spinach is also incredibly rich in beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant also found in carrots.  Studies have shown that those who have high levels of beta-carotene in their system are least likely to develop asthma, a chronic breathing disorder which can lead to emergency room visits and seriously impact your quality of life.  Eat lots of spinach, though, and you will literally breathe easy.

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Spinach is an Extremely Versatile Food

Apart from the health benefits listed above, spinach is attractive for another reason: it is very versatile to cook with, as you will see in the five delicious, easy-to-make recipes below:

Spinach and Strawberry Salad

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      This is not only a delicious dish with sweet strawberries and crunchy almonds, but the vitamin C in the strawberries makes it easier for your body to absorb the iron in the spinach! It makes a great first course for an elegant meal.

      Curried Spinach Soup

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        Come in from the cold and warm up with a bowl of this delicious soup, which brings together spinach with a ton of healthy spices like turmeric! You can serve this up with warm bread rolls for dipping!

        Spinach Quiche

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            For brunch, lunch or even a light dinner, this quiche is packed with protein and pairs well with a fresh fruit salad.

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            Best Spinach Dip Ever

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              Whether it’s a Super Bowl party or just friends over for dinner, this chunky, tangy dip is sure to be a hit.  It goes great with crackers or tortilla chips.

              Chicken and Spinach Ravioli

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                  This elegant dish takes a bit more time to make, but it is great for a special dinner or for when company is coming over and is great served with garlic bread and a fresh green salad.

                  Featured photo credit: vkuslandia via shutterstock.com

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                  Brian Wu

                  Health Writer, Author

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                  Last Updated on January 14, 2019

                  7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

                  7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone

                  From Atkins to Paleo to eating gluten-free despite not being one of the rare few people afflicted with celiac disease, fad diets are everywhere. It drives me crazy because I believe these diets do more harm than good. Your body is made up of a variety of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals, and losing weight healthily isn’t possible when you fill your body with unnecessary synthetic plastics, sugars, and powders. There’s no easy button in life.

                  What you need to do is exercise, which isn’t very appealing to many people. Workouts take work, so there’s already a stigma involved in going to the gym. Starting a healthy workout regimen becomes easier when you make it fun. If you want to live long and prosper, get off the couch and try these methods to turn your workout into a playout.

                  1. Take the scenic route.

                  Walking is an easy way to transition to a healthy lifestyle, and it’s free. Not only do you burn calories (check out this calculator for how many calories you burn based on your weight), but you see the world in a different way. Hiking in nature is great if you have access to it, but don’t let living in an urban area deter you from walking.

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                  Whenever I’m creatively stuck I get my head straight by walking a couple of miles. It’s also how I discover new paths, meet new people, and stumble upon hole-in-the-wall spots I never would have found otherwise. You could drive past the same place every day and never appreciate the beauty, nor even notice it’s there.

                  2. Distract yourself.

                  No matter what exercise routine you choose, use the time to meditate. You may wonder how marathon runners are able to put so many miles on their bodies. It’s because the pain from running that you avoid is something they’ve learned to harness to enter a transcendental state. If you’re aware of the benefits of meditation and exercise but don’t have time to do both, you can combine them, killing two birds with one healthy stone.

                  3. Listen to music or podcasts.

                  There are few experiences in life more pleasurable than turning up the music and drowning out the world around you. With so many podcasts and music apps available on your smartphone, you can easily find entertainment options perfectly suited to your personal tastes. Never worry what people may think of you when working out;instead, crank up the volume and get lost in your own world. You’ll be in shape before you know it.

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                  4. Bring a friend.

                  Some people can’t go anywhere alone. While I highly recommend dining out and seeing a movie in a theater alone, having company while exercising is very helpful. It allows you to pace yourself with someone else, and gives you a coach to motivate and push harder than you may have on your own.

                  Many exercises are safer when done with a friend, and some sports can only be played with another person. Involving others in your goals can mean the difference between success and failure. Just remember to continue exercising if the other person flakes, or they’ll be in control of your health.

                  5. Accessorize.

                  There are accessories that can make exercise easier, and sometimes buying a new toy can add some much-needed fun to your routine. With apps like RunKeeper and Nike+, your smartphone is capable of tracking your vitals and progress. Wrist weights can add a new dimension to your workout, and, if you exercise at night, a headlamp can help you see what’s in front of you so you don’t trip.

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                  For urban runners and power-walkers, one of the biggest obstacles is other people. It’s difficult to get in your meditative zone and enjoy your music when you constantly have to dodge people. To resolve this vexing issue, Runbell, a startup in Tokyo, has developed the runner’s version of the bicycle bell. With this lightweight brass bell warning people you’re approaching from behind, you’re free to maintain your transcendental state while continuing your workout. Head to their Kickstarter campaign to pledge your support.

                  6. Compete.

                  A little healthy competition can motivate you to push yourself further in your workout regimen. There are apps like Zombies, Run! which turns your run into a video game, and MyFitnessPal which allows you to connect with others in the exercise community. Whether you’re directly competing with a friend, an online community, or against your previous self, setting goals is the key to reaching them. Running with no destination can feel like an impossible task, and it’s easy to get distracted.

                  7. Relax.

                  The best part about exercising is how much you enjoy the downtime. If you think laying on your couch all day is enjoyable, it has nothing on that hour you spend as a couch potato after a rigorous workout. Jay-Z said it best, “in order to experience joy, you need pain.” The harder you push yourself while exercising, the better you’ll feel when you’re relaxing.

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                  With that said, don’t relax too much, or it loses the effect. It’s okay to indulge every so often. Treat yourself to some junk food you’re craving, imbibe a drink here and there, and spend a day vegging out on your couch. Staying healthy doesn’t have to be torture. Just turn down when you can and dedicate some time to better the health of your body. You only get one.

                  Featured photo credit: tpsdave via pixabay.com

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