Hello and welcome to today’s edition of Cooking with Fey! Hopefully 2019 is shaping up to be your best year yet, and to kick things off we are starting my new Leafy Recipe series! So today let’s talk about my favorite leafy green- spinach.
I eat spinach with EVERYTHING. From on my pizza, to in every salad I make, to alongside roasted meats. Why? Because spinach is a powerhouse vegetable that is amazing for you. Spinach has many health benefits to add to your diet such as: assisting in immune system function, protecting our heart and protecting our bones.
Spinach also contains these helpful nutrients:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin K
Vitamin A is necessary for human growth and development, cell recognition, sight, proper immune system function, sexual reproduction, as well as helping the heart, lungs, and kidneys to function normally. While Vitamin A sounds like a miracle, be careful how much you take. If you ingest too much it can be harmful to the body. Most doctors recommend that adult men consume 900 mcg per day, and women take 700 mcg per day to stay within healthy levels.
As you may know, spinach is a fantastic source of Vitamin C, which is an important nutrient linked to immune system health. Having a strong immune system helps the body ward off illness or recover faster from sickness. Which is especially important now that cold weather seems to be here to stay for most parts of America.
Vitamin C is also great for the heart. In a research study published by the Harvard School of Public Health, the diets of 126,399 adults were examined over the course of many years to reveal that for every serving of fruits and vegetables a person consumed, there was a 4% reduction in their risk of developing coronary heart disease. The study also pointed out that leafy green vegetables, and foods high in Vitamin C, had the largest positive impact.
Other studies have found that activities such as daily walking, combined with spinach intake, can reduce blood pressure. So if you are concerned about your heart health talk to your doctor about adding spinach to your healthy lifestyle diet.
Vitamin C also increases iron absorption in the body, so if you suffer from an iron deficiency or anemia, then spinach might be the answer you’ve been looking for.
Vitamin K is important to the body because it is needed for the body to product a protein called prothrombin, which allows the body to support bone metabolism and form helpful blood clots (like when you get a papercut and the blood clots to stop the bleeding, not the scary kind of blood clot). Vitamin K creates healthy, strong bones by increasing their density. Denser bones are less likely to break or sustain injury.
Now, you may be thinking, “why on earth do I care about fiber?” But worry not, I am about to explain about the different types of fiber, and why you should care.
Soluble Fiber is like the police force of the body. This type of fiber attaches itself to cholesterol particles in the body and helps them to be removed when we visit the restroom. This is very important because it helps to reduce the body’s overall cholesterol levels, which can be a contributing factor to heart disease.
Insoluble fiber can be thought of like a massive sponge in the large intestines. This type of fiber draws in water and helps regulate the movement of food through our intestines. So if you are having problems going to the restroom, then the insoluble fiber in prunes can help.
Spinach also contain minerals like iron. Iron is a vital part of hemoglobin, which is the stuff found in red blood cells that is responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body. This means that if your body doesn’t have enough healthy red blood cells, your body isn’t getting enough oxygen. A lack of oxygen in the body can make you feel fatigued, like your brain is in a “fog” or decrease your immune system.
Calcium is the essential mineral everyone was taught as a kid would help us build strong bones. And you are right in remembering that from 3rd grade science. Calcium is vital for the health of our bones, and for slowing down bone density loss as we age. The mineral calcium also impacts the muscle that surrounds blood vessels, causing it to relax. Which is important for blood pressure and muscle contraction. Just remember, it is difficult for the body to effective absorb calcium without the presence of Vitamin D in the body, so be sure to have an adequate source of Vitamin D in your diet to maximize the effects of calcium.