Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Spinach: Full of Surprises

Spinach is the quintessential "green leafy vegetable" so often recommended for overall health. In fact, that's what spinach basically is — big green leaves (though the stems are great too). What's in those leaves borders on the miraculous.

Calorie for calorie, spinach is a valuable power food. The nutritional benefits are so abundant — and the calories so negligible — you can eat virtually all you want of this amazing plant. Like tomatoes, broccoli, and bell peppers, spinach is a Tier 1 vegetable that you can eat in unlimited amounts during Waves 1, 2, and 3.

Spinach is full of pleasant nutritional surprises. It's a natural, low-calorie source of iron and, like broccoli and almonds, it's a rich nondairy source of calcium. The combination of calcium and vitamin K (which spinach also delivers in abundance) promotes bone health and helps prevent osteoporosis. Plus, the flavonoids in spinach are thought to slow the cognitive decline that accompanies aging. Like most Mediterranean power foods, spinach provides a generous and varied supply of antioxidants that fight heart disease. It's also a great source for folic acid, which helps the body make healthy new cells.

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