There are many health benefits of spinach and what is good for your eyes is good for the rest of your body. This is one food that keeps popping up on the top 10 foods to get organic - so for this green, I always buy the more expensive, organic option.
But spinach health benefits include a special shout out as it pertains to our eyes, and especially the macula, a tiny spot in the center of your retina.
One of my favorite authors is Dr Steven G. Pratt. He is an ophthalmologist with a family history of macular degeneration and has written several SuperFoods books, including SuperFoods Rx: Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life.
He writes about the specific nutrients of the top super foods and how they fight diseases but he also includes tips on how to store your fresh produce and how to prepare it. He is a bit passionate about these healthy greens. Here is what he writes:
"Spinach, and it's leafy sidekicks, are among the most nutritious foods on earth. Calorie for calorie, spinach provides more nutrients than any other food."
I won't list all of the vitamins here, but the ones that are of special interest for those of us concerned about our eyes, is that spinach is a rich source of lutein and zeaxanthin. The two carotenoids that make up the macular pigment. It is also a plant based source of omega-3 fatty acids. We often think of fruits like blueberries as a rich source of antioxidants, but there are vegetables high in antioxidants as well - and spinach is one of them.
Green smoothies are a great way to get your daily dose of spinach. I've been trying for years to get my husband to eat more spinach. His father has wet macular degeneration. For those at high risk for AMD it is important to eat several servings of leafy greens every week. Although my husband will eat a spinach salad, I'm still working on getting him to drink this great tasting green smoothie.
Here are the ingredients:
Fresh organic spinach
Fresh organic parsley ( I grow my own in a pot)
Lemon - squeeze a tablespoon of juice
Fresh ginger - about a 1/4 to 1/2 inch
Granny Smith Apple - cored and diced
Fresh pineapple - 1/4 of a cup cut up
Add filtered water and blend.
There are lots of good blenders out there, but I went to a health fair with a friend and we both walked out with a Vitamix blender - the Cadillac of blenders. The ingredients are broken up so small that there are no chunks and even a green smoothie tastes good.
It's hard to keep fresh organic greens in the fridge all the time, so I will also use a green superfood mixed with some frozen blueberries, organic cacao, a couple drops of liquid stevia, filtered water, and if you want it really creamy, (I know this sounds strange) but put in a half of an avocado. You get some good fat for those vitamins that are fat soluble.
Amazing Grass Green superfood includes organic wheat grass, organic spinach, organic barley grass, organic alfalfa, organic spirulina, organic chlorella, organic broccoli and more.Amazing Grass Green Superfood Organic Powder with Wheat Grass and Greens
My friend drinks a greens smoothie every morning and she puts her drink in a plastic cup with a straw and lid, so that she doesn't see what she is drinking :)
Anyway, one way Bill will eat spinach is to saute it with a little olive oil, some sliced onions and minced garlic. Dr. Pratt recommends 1 cup steamed spinach or 2 cups of raw spinach almost every day. This is why:
"Along with two of my favorites, wild salmon and blueberries, spinach is an all-star superfood that packs an incredible nutritional wallop." To find out what other superfoods to include in your diet get the book here:SuperFoods Rx: Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life