Health Benefits of Spinach

Lutein and Zeaxanthin are antioxidants in the carotenoid family. They are found in high levels in spinach and they concentrate in the part of the retina where macular degeneration occurs. Once there, they protect the retina from damage caused by sunlight. Harvard researchers reported that people eating the most Lutein and Zeaxanthin had a 57 percent decreased risk of macular degeneration, compared with people eating the least.

At least 13 different flavonoid compounds in spinach have been identified by researchers. These compounds function as antioxidants and as anti-cancer agents. The anti-cancer action of these nutrients has been sufficiently impressive to prompt researchers to create specialized spinach extracts that could be used in controlled studies. These spinach extracts have been shown to slow down cell division in stomach cancer cells, and in studies on mice, to reduce skin cancers. A study on adult women living in New England in the late 1980s also showed intake of spinach to be inversely related to incidence of breast cancer.

Another carotenoid found in spinach and other green leafy vegetables fights human prostate cancer two different ways, according to research published in the September 2004 issue of the Journal of Nutrition. The carotenoid, called neoxanthin, not only induces prostate cancer cells to self-destruct, but is converted in the intestines into additional compounds, called neochromes, which put prostate cancer cells into a state of stasis, thus preventing their replication.

Spinach can be consumed cooked or raw. Baby spinach leaves are especially good in salads with bleu cheese, walnuts, red onions, and a vinaigrette dressing made with Heart Of Gold.  Spinach cooks very quickly and doesn’t need added water. Just place it in a pan, cover, and simmer for two to four minutes until it wilts; spinach is also excellent when steamed or it can be sautéed in olive oil with garlic for three or four minutes. Spinach is a good addition to stews and to soups that contain beans, pasta, or potatoes or to any kind of curry dish.

Don’t have the time to go shopping or to do the cooking, but still want to eat your greens?  The Feast has got you covered! These delicious and highly nutritious, highly assimilable greens are great anytime. Enjoy them with water or juice.