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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 July 8, 2020

                  18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

                  18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

                  The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

                  1. Understand Yourself Better

                  Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

                  Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

                  2. Keep Track of Small Changes

                  I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

                  Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

                  3. Become Aware of What Matters

                  As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

                  You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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                  4. Boost Creativity

                  The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

                  When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

                  You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

                  5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

                  A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

                  Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

                  6. Process Life Experiences

                  When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

                  Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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                  7. Stress Relief

                  In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

                  Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

                  8. Provide Direction

                  Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

                  One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

                  9. Solve Problems

                  Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

                  Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

                  When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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                  10. Find Relief From Fighting

                  Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

                  Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

                  11. Find Meaning in Life

                  Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

                  12. Allow Yourself to Focus

                  Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

                  13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

                  When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

                  14. Let the Past Go

                  I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

                  15. Allow Freedom

                  Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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                  16. Enhance Your Career

                  Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

                  Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

                  17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

                  All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

                  18. Catalog Your Life for Others

                  No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

                  We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

                  Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

                  Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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