Monday, February 20, 2012

Superfoods Challenge: Week 7

We are now officially halfway through the Superfoods Challenge, with #7 of the Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life. So far, the list on your fridge reminding you what to eat should look like this:

Broccoli (Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, turnips, cauliflower, collards, bok choy, mustard greens, Swiss chard): 1/2 to 1 cup per day
Wild Salmon (Alaskan halibut, canned albacore tuna, sardines, herring, trout, sea bass, oysters, clams): 2 to 4 times per week
Yogurt (kefir): Two 8 ounce servings per day
Walnuts (almonds, pistachios, sesame seeds, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts, pecans, hazelnuts, cashews): five 1-ounce servings per week
Tea, green or black: 1 cup per day
Turkey Breast (chicken breast): three to four ounces, 3-4 times per week

This week's Superfood is a rather common, but powerful, one: spinach! I used to think I hated spinach. You know why? Because it was big, tough, sandy leaves. Ick. Later in life, "baby spinach" pre-washed in bags and clamshells became popular, and once I tried it that way I was sold! It is clean, flavorful, and tender and so convenient to use. I just grab a handful to add to a protein shake or an omelet or soup. It also makes a fantastic salad. Even if you are not a big spinach fan, try mixing it with your usual salad greens for a big nutritional boost. Here's some guidance on How to Build a Great Salad. (And if you have a Farmer's Market and want to buy fresh, local spinach like I do in the summertime, just plunge the leaves into a sink full of cold water, soak, swish and rinse. Do this several times for grit-free, fresh spinach.)

According to WHF, spinach is beneficial because of its antioxidant and antiinflammatory properties (which help those of us with arthritis and also help ward off cancer). The vitamin K1 in spinach promotes strong bones, too. Boiling spinach for one minute will help remove oxalates for those avoiding them due to kidney or gallbladder issues. One cup of cooked spinach provides 5.4 g protein, 7 g carbs, 0.5 g fat, 4.3 g fiber, 377% daily value of vitamin A, 29% DV of vitamin C, 66% DV of folate, and 1110% DV of vitamin K1 along with many other vitamins (including B's and E) for only 41 calories! You can't beat that.

Spinach has many sidekicks, and some of them we have already covered as they are sidekicks to other Superfoods as well:
kale, collards, swiss chard, mustard greens, and bok choy (also Sidekicks to Broccoli)
turnip greens (turnips themselves are also a Broccoli Sidekick)
arugula, Romaine lettuce, and orange bell peppers

One of my all-time favorite ways to eat spinach (besides in a salad) is in spinach dip. In this healthy recipe, you can use either frozen spinach or freshly boiled spinach. It's great as a dip for veggies or whole grain crackers.

Here's a post I did back in June all about arugula. It's a green I had heard about but never tried. If you're already eating plenty of spinach, maybe arugula can be your challenge veggie this week! Another recipe you can try for the Sidekicks is this one: yummy stuffed peppers are even better made with colorful orange (or red or yellow) peppers instead of plain old green ones.

The Superfoods Rx book recommends eating about 2 cups of spinach or its sidekicks nearly every day. So make it a point this week to enjoy this Superfood! If you have a recipe to share, head over to my BlogFrog community and post it! Have a great day :)

1 comment:

MizFit said...

LOVE the superfoods posts.
and when's chia?
shall I mail you some chia?! :)