Spinach in the Vegetarian Diet

Whenever Popeye needs to punch and kick his enemies and needs extra strength, what does he do?  He opens his can of spinach, eats the contents, and all of a sudden, he powers up and accomplishes his task.  His ladylove, Olive Oyl is saved and all’s well that ends well.  Spinach doesn’t turn us into instant superheroes though, but it is still good for the body.

You may not be able to punch that big bully in and instant but you will be able to fight something else.  Packed with antioxidants, spinach can help you fight the big C, cancer, and help you live a longer and healthier life.  It’s also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are important in fighting bad cholesterol in keeping the heart healthy.  So in a way, it is still fighting bad stuff, in a whole cellular and metabolic level and keeping long-term diseases at bay.

For those who are very active or to those who are anemic, fresh spinach has a lot of iron, which is needed by the body for red blood cell production.  Spinach also contains minerals, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K, which is essential for strengthening the bones.  For those who cannot take milk because of health or lifestyle reasons (like if they’re lactose intolerant or have switched to a vegan or strict vegetarian diet) this can be a good option for healthy bones.

Just like most vegetarian ingredients, spinach is the easiest thing to keep on the fridge.  They can be stir-fried with other vegetables, steamed, blanched, or even used in soups and salads.  Torn spinach may be mixed in with pasta and risotto for added nutrition value, texture, and color.   They can be made into hearty stews that can be eaten with pita or bread, such as the Indian dish palak paneer, which uses spinach leaves that have been mashed and sautéed with other spices and served with cottage cheese.  This is a very rich and filling dish that is great for sharing and goes well with roti or biryani rice.

Although spinach doesn’t make us turn superheroes, we do get to be healthier and stronger eating the right foods.  Its long-term effects can help us combat microscopic body bullies like cancer and heart disease.  Delicious and healthy recipes are available so we know of ways on how to maximize this green leafy vegetable to something tasty for the family to enjoy.  Take a hint from Popeye, who eats his spinach to help him get strong.


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