Spinach: Popeye Was Right

Take heart! Among its many health benefits, spinach is one way to maintain cardio-vascular health, packed as it is with lutein, folate, potassium and fiber.

In fact, this highly nutritious leafy vegetable, native to Asia, is one of the most nutritionally rich members of the vegetable family. Folate and potassium can relieve hypertension, and folate may also help blood vessels relax, improving blood flow to reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems. And spinach contains abundant amounts of lutein, an antioxidant carotenoid that can prevent and reduce atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, one of the major causes of heart attacks.

 But nutrition isn’t the only way spinach is contributing to heart health. In March, scientists announced they have found a way to use spinach to build a working heart muscle. Spinach leaves, with their network of thin veins that bring water and nutrients to cells, replicate how blood moves through human tissue. By modifying spinach leaves in the lab, leaving a frame of cellulose, scientists hope to eventually be able to replace damaged tissue in heart attack patients with modified leaves of the super food.

Back on the food front – look for spinach leaves that are dark green. Refrigerate in an airtight container, and clean well just before you use it. You can boost its nutritional value by eating spinach raw, with foods rich in Vitamin C, to improve the absorption of iron and calcium – which makes this recipe for spinach salad with grapefruit an especially power-packed choice: http://bit.ly/2qt7s8A



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