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Sat, March 23

What did Popeye really know about spinach?

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It should have been Olive Oyl promoting the virtues of spinach, not Popeye.

While spinach provides a health boost for all of us, women may have a couple more reasons to eat it. Of the 10 million Americans that develop osteoporosis, about 80 percent are women.

Potassium is responsible for preserving bone mineral density, as well as retention of muscle mass, and spinach is a great source of it. One serving contains over 800 milligrams.

Spinach is also high in Vitamin K; studies have shown that low levels of vitamin K are associated with low bone-density in women, but not men. The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends eating spinach for its Vitamin K and magnesium content to help keep bones strong. One cup of cooked spinach contains over 900 percent of the Vitamin K requirement and about 40 percent of the recommended intake of magnesium.

Women are also at risk for iron deficiency anemia and just one cup of cooked spinach contains 36 percent of our iron needs. The health benefits go on and on. In total, spinach contains over 15 vitamins and minerals along with the antioxidant kaempferol, which has been linked to reducing the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. Vitamin K is also important to brain health and research has shown that it can prevent Alzheimer’s if consumed regularly.

Spinach is also a superstar in the kitchen. It can be thrown into soups, salads, sandwiches and even smoothies. Throw it in a casserole or top a pizza with it. Eggs Florentine, sole Florentine anything a la Florentine is delicious. But why do we call food served on a bed of spinach a la Florentine?

It came from Catherine de Medici, the Italian wife of France’s Henry II. The story goes that Catherine so loved her spinach that she brought it to Paris along with her entourage of chefs from Italy so they could prepare it just the way she liked it, and she ate it at every meal.

So for an easy side dish throw some spinach, mushrooms and garlic together and sauté it.

But don’t forget the olive oyl.


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