Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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

Berry-Feta-Spinach-Salad-6

    shutterstock_181462094

      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

      Advertising

      f252cc7fa920001285f2a5a6540ad82e

        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

        shutterstock_112788778

          54e3c30d66eb24e314ed63b7a24c1fce

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

            Advertising

            Best Spinach Dip Ever

            15a52c661a0b3ce5ff0d05a8f7ef786c

              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

              14042606471_4fd2810eda_z

                shutterstock_306247664

                  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

                  More by this author

                  Brian Wu

                  Health Writer, Author

                  Amazing Benefits Of Cucumber Water (+5 Refreshing Recipes) How To Improve Your Health With Matcha Green Tea How To Enjoy Green Tea By Reducing Caffeine In It 8 Amazing Health Benefits Of Chia Seeds You Shouldn’t Miss 7 Superfoods To Restore Energy When You’re Burnt Out

                  Trending in Food and Drink

                  18 Things to Watch for If You’re Considering Being Vegetarian 210 Surprising Benefits of Tequila You Never Knew 315 of the Best Fruits for Weight Loss and How to Enjoy Them Daily 417 Healthy Vegetarian Recipes for the Meat Lovers in Your Life 521 Healthy Dinner Recipes to Lose Weight and Gain Muscle Strength

                  Read Next

                  Advertising
                  Advertising

                  How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

                  How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

                  Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

                  Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality.

                  I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

                  You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

                  Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

                  When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

                  I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

                  Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

                  Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

                  Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

                  1. The Inner Critic

                  This is your constant abuser. He is often a conglomeration of:

                  • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
                  • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
                  • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
                  • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

                  He is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

                  Why else would he abuse you? And since “he” is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

                  2. The Worrier

                  This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

                  He is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it.

                  Occasionally, he is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

                  Advertising

                  3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

                  He is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

                  He can be set off by words or feelings. He can even be set off by sounds and smells.

                  He has no real motivation; he has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

                  4. The Sleep Depriver

                  This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

                  His motivation can be:

                  • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
                  • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
                  • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
                  • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

                  How can you control these squatters?

                  How to Master Your Mind

                  You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

                  Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

                  There are two ways to control your thoughts:

                  • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
                  • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

                  This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

                  The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

                  Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

                  For the Inner Critic

                  When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

                  You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

                  For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

                  Advertising

                  You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

                  “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

                  If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

                  • He riles up the Worrier.
                  • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
                  • He is often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
                  • He is a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
                  • He is the destroyer of self-esteem. He convinces you that you’re not worthy. He’s a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get him out!

                  Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

                  Replace him with your new best friend who supports, encourages, and enhances your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

                  For the Worrier

                  Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

                  Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

                  You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

                  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
                  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                  • Muscles tense

                  Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

                  If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

                  Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

                  “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

                  Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

                  If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

                  Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

                  Advertising

                  Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

                  For example:

                  If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

                  “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

                  Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

                  “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

                  Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

                  For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

                  Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

                  The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

                  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
                  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                  • Muscles tension

                  I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

                  Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

                  Breathe in through your nose:

                  • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
                  • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
                  • Focus on your belly rising.

                  Breathe out through your nose:

                  • Feel your lungs emptying.
                  • Focus on your belly falling.
                  • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

                  Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

                  Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

                  Advertising

                  One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

                  Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

                  For the Sleep Depriver

                  (He’s made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

                  I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

                  Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

                  1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
                  2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

                  When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

                  From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

                  For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

                  If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

                  You can also use this technique any time you want to:

                  • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
                  • Shut down your thinking.
                  • Calm your feelings.
                  • Simply focus on the present moment. 

                  Becoming the Master of Your Mind

                  Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

                  You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

                  Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

                  Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                  Read Next