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There are LOTS of people these days touting the advantages of "green smoothies" and how healthful they are. I'm not really a smoothie kind of girl, normally because I don't find them to be quite filling enough. However, that doesn't stop me from making one every once in a while, and since I have spinach on the brain and a huge bag in the fridge, I decided to throw one of these little smoothies together.

For those of you who aren't sold on the idea of green smoothies, or more specifically, the idea of spinach in a smoothie, there are actually a lot of positive aspects to spinach that you should consider! I even did a bunch of the research for you! Hopefully, it's enough to convince some of those non-believers out there that spinach is at least worth a try.

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Fresh spinach!
Benefit #1: Spinach is a great source of plant fiber (8g in every 10oz). Fiber helps aid in digestion, preventing constipation, maintaining a low blood sugar level, and fills you up so you can curb overeating! Fiber also helps prevent the build up of cholesterols and proteins in the bloodstream (keep reading to see why that's important).

Benefit #2: The flavonoids in spinach are thought to have anti-cancer properties. It slows down the cell division of stomach and skin cancer cells and can help protect again prostate cancer...ick.

Benefit #3: It's full of all kinds of helpful antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and a few others. They help to prevent conditions like osteoporosis (the weakening of bones), atherosclerosis (when arteries become thick because of the build up of fatty stuff like cholesterol), and high blood pressure.

Benefit #4: Your eyes get help! Beta-carotene, one of the antioxidants, helps to prevent cataracts from developing. Cataracts are areas that develop and cloud your vision; it sometimes leads to blindness. Also, lutein, one kind of plant chemical in spinach, helps to prevent the degradation of certain parts of your macula, a little spot at the back of your eye that's responsible for clear vision directly in front of you. This means that as you age, spinach will sometimes help in preventing vision loss.  

Benefit #5: All the vitamin A in these leafy greens allows the upper layers of your skin (epidermis) retain moisture. What that means is that it acts as an anti-ager, helping to stave off unwanted things like acne and even wrinkles, if you eat enough of it, hahaha.

Benefit #6: Apparently, spinach is a HUGE source of vitamin K! Why does that matter? Because it helps to activate the production of the protein in your body that maintains our bone strength and density, while simultaneously preventing the over-production of the chemical that breaks down our bones. So it's doubly working to help out your bones. In addition, vitamin K apparently also gets the body to produce more of the good fat that protects the nerves and keeps the nervous system and brain functioning healthily.

You see! Popeye wasn't just scarfing that stuff down for nothing! It's totally worth eating cans and cans of the stuff....even though I've never seen canned spinach, haha. 


Green Morning Smoothie

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Ingredients in Magic Bullet cup.
Makes 1 serving

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 of a cucumber, cubed
  • 1 kiwi, peeled
  • Handful of spinach
  • 1/2 C orange juice
  • 1/4-1/2 C fat-free greek yogurt

Directions:
  1. Place all ingredients in blender, heaviest things on top to weigh down the lighter ingredients. (If you're referencing my picture to the right, I had to add my ingredients in reverse for my Magic Bullet; the cup flips onto the mixing blade.)
  2. Blend all ingredients until smooth and all spinach leaves are broken down.
  3. Recommended served cold!

Optional: Feel free to throw in other things like a scoop of protein powder, flax seed meal, chia seeds, or whatever you think might add more nutrition to the cup!


Sources:
http://www.healthdiaries.com/eatthis/11-health-benefits-of-spinach.html
http://www.livestrong.com/article/423203-is-spinach-high-in-fiber/
http://home.howstuffworks.com/spinach3.htm
La Vonne Richardson
1/16/2013 07:57:37 am

Love it!!! Thanks for this. Been wanting access to the recipes that are attached to some of those fantabulous pictures of healthy food you've been posting on FB for months now. Can't wait to try stuff out.

Keep it going. Your "healthy eating intent" has more fans than just me!

Reply
9/6/2013 10:36:20 am

That smoothie recipe is what I've
been looking for.
Thanks- great post!

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