It all started with picking up a healthy habit. It became an obsession. Now I am a total spinach junkie, and like most addicts I plan my day around it. Sometimes I do it twice a day and it feels great. The more I do it the more I love it, and it seems like I just can’t get enough. Folate, iron, calcium, and vitamins A, C, E and K; all this and more from a naturally zero-fat, low-calorie food – c’mon you know you want to try it.
It doesn’t matter how you do it, you will derive health benefits from eating spinach. The beauty of this plant is that when you combine it with anything, you increase the body’s ability to absorb the nutrients; for example a fat soluble vitamin, such as vitamin K. All the more reason to add bacon and cheese as far as I’m concerned.
Let’s start with the antioxidants. It sounds healthy, but why? Antioxidants are vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that protect and repair cells from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals can interfere with your immune system. Oxidation is a natural occurrence in normal cellular activity. In the process of metabolizing oxygen, some cells are damaged and lose components, becoming free radicals. Free radicals are unstable atoms in your body which are missing a critical molecule, frantically looking to replace their missing piece. Healthy cells are attacked and robbed by free radicals, in turn transforming into free radicals as well. The body has a natural system of checks and balances of controlling this process with antioxidant molecules which deactivate free radicals. Daily life, through exposure to chemicals, pollutants, and pesticides, increases free radical production. A diet high in fruits and vegetables compensates the body with additional antioxidants to offset environmental toxins.
Spinach provides a powerhouse combination of antioxidant vitamins and minerals, which work together neutralizing free radicals in different ways. Beta-carotene protects cells, well known antioxidants vitamin C and E as well as zinc and selenium boost the body’s immune system as a team. Lutein and zeaxanthin, in the dark green pigments of spinach, benefit the eyes and the heart. Vitamin A boosts cell division and is essential for retinal function, Vitamin K is essential for bone health. Phytonutrients, meaning plant nutrition, are nature’s source for natural vitamin consumption. Flavonoids and polyphenals are important antioxidant phytochemicals found in spinach which are attributed and being studied for anti-cancer qualities.
When your immune system is in full force, and your cell production is right on schedule you feel better and look better (all that cell protection provides anti-aging benefits!) All the more reason to eat spinach every day, spinach every way!