Whats on your to-do list today?
If it’s to reverse ageing, get stronger bones, fight inflammation, clear your skin, lose weight, get alkaline, boost your energy, strengthen your immune system, cleanse your blood, build muscle and boost your libido, then you’re in the right place.
Let’s be clear – I LOVE SPINACH!
Regardless of taste (which I happen to love, and if you don’t love it, don’t worry, I can still sneak it in for you, taste free – read on), spinach is my big love because of how unbelievably, mind-blowingly alkaline and nutritious it is. The health benefits of spinach are so plentiful that no matter what your goal, you’ll get benefits from getting lots in!
It’s the one food I eat every day. In fact, even as I type this at 11am in the morning, I’ve already had 2 serves today (one in a juice and one with my brekkie).
Spinach tops pretty much every alkaline food chart (including mine) and is so wonderful because it’s so versatile and usable. A super-nutritious food with crazy health benefits is of no use if you’re never going to be likely to use it, cook with it and include it in your daily (or thrice weekly, at least) life.
So if any of the above to-do’s are part of your health goals – this could be the most important article you read all year.
My 7 Favourite Health Benefits of Spinach
- Ultra-Alkaline: Spinach is quite simply one of the (if not the) most alkaline foods on earth. You can check out my list of alkaline (and acid) foods here. Even though lots of the lists disagree, conflict with each other etc (you can read the reason for this here) – they will ALL say that spinach is one of the most alkaline foods, it’s indisputable.
If you want to get healthy, get vital, get energy and get to your dream body, health, energy and thrive – you need to get alkaline. This is just a fact.
If you don’t believe me (and of course you do) you can check out my scientific research collection here.
- Blood Cleansing: spinach is super high in iron, folate, B6 and vitamin k which are all excellent blood builders. Spinach, being a dark green leafy food is also full of chlorophyll which has long been reputed to be the most potent blood builder due to it’s close molecular structure to haemoglobin.
- Anti-Inflammatory: Spinach is especially awesome for it’s unique and potent phytonutrient content. Within spinach, research has shown there to be more than eleven different nutrients known as flavanoids that are highly anti-inflammatory.
Research has irrefutably shown that excessive inflammation has been shown to be less likely following consumption of spinach.
This is especially seen in the digestive system where spinach rules. I don’t normally like to impress (or confuse) you with long nutrient names, but these are cool. Spinach contains lots of neoxanthin and violaxanthin.
While both sounds like Norwegian heavy metal bands, they’re actually two anti-inflammatory epoxyxanthophylls that are found in plentiful amounts in the leaves of spinach. So if you have any inflammation-based challenge – get your spinach in!
- Anti-Aging-Antioxidant-Rich: Pretty much all of the nutrients mentioned above are not just great for inflammation – they’re also HUGELY powerful antioxidants. These antioxidants will decrease and reverse the ageing process and help restore your cells. They’re great. They’ll also inhibit free radical formation and give your body a great boost (especially in your energy). This is also awesome for your immune system so don’t skip on the greens in winter or after lots of travel – spinach will stop you from picking up the rounds of colds and flu!
- Bone Up! The vitamin K provided by spinach — almost 200% of the Daily Value in one serve of fresh spinach leaves is awesome for promoting bone health.
Plus, as the scientific literature has shown, an alkaline diet helps promote bone strength generally, and spinach is one of the most alkaline foods of all!
When we live an acidic-lifestyle the body has to draw alkaline minerals from around the body to help buffer the excess acids it can’t digest and neutralise. The #1 source of these buffering minerals is calcium, which the body draws out of the bones.
So getting lots of spinach will provide you with both lots of bone strengthening vitamin K, and lots of alkalinity to buffer acids without compromising your bone health!
- Blood Pressure: So alongside the long-named-heavy-metal-band-sounding-antioxidants, spinach is also abundant in more recognisable antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and manganese — as well as a very good source of the antioxidant zinc and a good source of the antioxidant selenium.
Given these incredible amounts of antioxidants, it’s hardly a surprise that spinach can help to lower risk of so many health problems related to oxidative stress.
Blood pressure and atherosclerosis is the most common of these and oxidative stress is a core contributor to high blood pressure. With the huge amounts of antioxidants in spinach its no wonder that spinach can help here.
- Clear Skin: The high amount of vitamin A in spinach also promotes healthy, clear and glowing skin by allowing for proper moisture retention. This not only helps you to glow generally, but can also help to fight psoriasis, acne and even wrinkles!
Couple this with the anti-aging effects of all of the other antioxidants and you’ll be looking and feeling amazing in no time.
TAKE ACTION! How to get more spinach in your daily life (Cheats Guide)
I’ve been living and coaching the alkaline diet for nine (super-fast) years now. And one of my skills, I believe is to be able to constantly develop, learn, pick up and create new ways of doing things faster and more easily, super-tips, work arounds, short cuts, “cheats” ways and any other term you want to use to describe me making the alkaline diet:
as easy, enjoyable and sustainable as possible
My passion and skill is in helping people to implement not just learn, but in the past few years I think I’ve really taken this up a notch with my ability to make it EASY and effortless too.
So let’s get into my Top Three Tips for Getting Spinach Every Single Day:
Spinach Tip One: Make it Tiny!
Spinach is so awesomely helpful. When you steam it, it goes tiny. This is such a cool thing and makes it so easy to cheat your way to an extra serve or two of green foods. When you just don’t feel like it you can make a whole serve of greens this small:
Woo-haa! All you have to do is steam it for a few minutes. You can even cheat by speed steaming: throw it in a saucepan with a little bit of water and wait until it wilts down. Then just dress with some flax oil, maybe some lemon, sesame seeds, Himalayan salt and pepper.
Delicious and fast and easy. That’s how eating alkaline should be and how I made all the recipes in my alkaline recipe book.
Spinach Tip Two: Sneak it In!
This one is just as easy and just as fast as the one above. Due to this spinach-shrinkage, simply throw it into any sauce you’re making, or saucy meal such as a pasta, ratatouille, curry etc. Simply throw in one handful (serve) of spinach per person. It disappears! You can’t taste it, you hardly notice it!
This works EVEN BETTER if you are then blending the sauce.
Even things like a salsa – throw tomatoes, garlic, red onion, capsicum (bell pepper), chilli – all the core ingredients for salsa into your blender…and a handful of spinach. Again, you can’t taste it, see it, notice it – but you’re getting all the nutrition from it!
Spinach Tip Three: Juices
You didn’t think I could get through a WHOLE guide without mentioning juicing right? Juicing spinach is just about the fastest way to get a LOT, fast. My green vegetable juices always include at least 1-2 handfuls of spinach per serve (alongside all the other most alkaline foods like cucumber, kale, celery, green bell pepper etc).
I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep on saying it again…if you juice every day it will change your life.
How to Buy & Store Spinach for ZERO Wilted, Yellow Throw-Aways
Let’s face it, we’ve all been there. The old bag of spinach. You bought it with such high hopes, great intentions, a new start…but seven days, three takeaways, a dinner out and no packed lunches taken to work (the most broken new years resolution of all time) later and you’re left with a bag of yellow spinach.
If you’ve been particularly bad, the bag ain’t just yellow, it’s liquified, and the yellow liquid has somehow escaped the bag and spilt onto the floor of your fridge tray.
Yeah, we’ve all been there.
Now, of course, by following my tips above I’ve made sure that this will never happen again. Right?! Yeah of course!
But here is my spinach buying and storage tips, to make sure you’re not only getting the best spinach, cleaning it right but that you’re also storing it right too.
- Buy organic where possible: I know organic is not affordable for everyone and for everything, but spinach (leafy greens generally) are always on the list of things I try to get organic wherever possible. They are simply subjected to a lot more pesticides than other vegetables due to their susceptibility to be mauled by little creatures.
- If organic isn’t possible: remember, one of the best benefits about using a water ionizer is that the super-strong alkaline water (pH 11 and above) completely removes all pesticides and toxins from foods (and even infuses them with MORE antioxidants). I don’t have the time here to go into how that works, but if you want to find out more – watch the video about ionized water here.
- No Yellow!: always chose ONLY spinach that is vibrant, deep, green and with stems that have zero sign of yellowing. Once yellow, the flavour changes dramatically and is disgusting. Plus, if the yellowing has already started you’ve got about 12 hours before you’ll have to throw the whole bag out.
- How to Store: once you get the leaves home, store in an airtight storage bag and keep dry. Keep the bag in the fridge.
- For EXTRA Lengthy Freshness: wrap the spinach in a paper kitchen towel before putting into the bag, this will draw out any extra moisture that could prematurely yellow the goodies.
- Always Wash, Even If Bought Pre-Washed and ‘Ready to Use’: do you honestly trust the food manufacturer’s washing skills? Do you think they’ve simply cleaned the dirt off so it looks nice or do you think they’ve actually washed thoroughly enough to get rid of a heap of the toxins on there? It’s not worth risking – always wash.
It is best to choose loose baby spinach leaves that you can pick yourself. Alternatively, baby spinach can be purchased pre-bagged from greengrocers. Store, unwashed, in a plastic storage bag. Wash just before using. English spinach: Look for fresh, crisp green leaves without blemishes or slime. Use within two days of purchase. Wrap, unwashed, in a damp tea towel or kitchen paper, or in a plastic storage bag, and store in the fridge. Before using, wash in one or two changes or water to remove any dirt or grit.
If you are absolutely convinced that you will be using the whole bag within 24-36 hours….
EXTRA! Spinach Tip Five: FAST ACTION USAGE!
This is what I often do, and it allows me to increase my green foods consumptions dramatically:
Step One: when you get home with the bag of spinach, wash it, dry it in a salad spinner and then pat dry with paper towel. Store in an airtight container wrapped in fresh paper towels. The spinning, drying and paper-towel-idge should prevent any premature yellowing…but now you have fresh, WASHED spinach.
Step Two: always have delicious omega oil-based, preferably flax oil-based, flavoursome salad dressing handy. Here’s a good start omega oil dressing, but you can also just infuse flax oil with garlic, basil, chilli etc – whatever you fancy.
Step Three: with every single meal you have (except brekkie, unless you’re brave like me) you have a side salad that has at least one serve of the leaves. You can put other bits in there if you like (avo, tomato etc), or just have a bowl of dressed leaves.
Because the dressing is ready to go and the leaves have been pre-prepared it will literally take you less than sixty-seconds to make this side salad – but voila. If you do this you will get an extra 3-5 serves of green foods every single day.
This alone will revolutionise your health, energy and vitality.
Energise Alkaline Recipe Containing Spinach
So there you have it.
This is why I:
a) love spinach
b) eat it every day
c) encourage you to do the very same thing
If you have any spinach tips of your own, or if you have any questions at all, please do leave me a comment below!
Ross “Glows Green on the Inside” Bridgeford
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Asai A, Terasaki M, Nagao A. An epoxide-furanoid rearrangement of spinach neoxanthin occurs in the gastrointestinal tract of mice and in vitro: formation and cytostatic activity of neochrome stereoisomers. J Nutr. 2004 Sep;134(9):2237-43. 2004. PMID:15333710.
Asai A, Yonekura L and Nagao A. Low bioavailability of dietary epoxyxanthophylls in humans. Br J Nutr. 2008 Aug;100(2):273-277. 2008.
Bergman M, Varshavskiy L, Gottleib HE, Grossman S. The antioxidant activity of aqueous spinach extract: chemical identification of active fractions. Phytochemistry. 2001 Sep; Volume 58, Issue 1, September 2001, Pages 143–152; 10.1016/S0031-9422(01)00137-6
Cao, G; Serum Antioxidant Capacity Is Increased by Consumption of Strawberries, Spinach, Red Wine or Vitamin C in Elderly Women; J. Nutr. December 1, 1998vol. 128 no. 12 2383-2390
Chung HY, Rasmussen HM, Johnson EJ. Lutein bioavailability is higher from lutein-enriched eggs than from supplements and spinach in men. J Nutr. 2004 Aug;134(8):1887-93. 2004. PMID:15284371.
Edenharder R, Keller G, Platt KL, Unger KK. Isolation and characterization of structurally novel antimutagenic flavonoids from spinach (Spinacia oleracea). J Agric Food Chem 2001 Jun;49(6):2767-73. 2001. PMID:12950.
Gates MA, Tworoger SS, Hecht JL, De Vivo I, Rosner B, Hankinson SE. A prospective study of dietary flavonoid intake and incidence of epithelial ovarian cancer. Int J Cancer. 2007 Apr 30; 2007. PMID:17471564.
Song W, Derito CM, Liu MK et al. Cellular antioxidant activity of common vegetables. J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Jun 9;58(11):6621-9. 2010.
Tang G, Qin J, Dolnikowski GG et al. Spinach or carrots can supply significant amounts of vitamin A as assessed by feeding with intrinsically deuterated vegetables. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Oct;82(4):821-8. 2005.
Wang Y, Chang CF, Chou J, Chen HL, Deng X, Harvey BK, Cadet JL, Bickford PC. Dietary supplementation with blueberries, spinach, or spirulina reduces ischemic brain damage. Exp Neurol. 2005 May;193(1):75-84. 2005. PMID:15817266.
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