Spinach, Carrot and Strawberry
Smoothie -- Top 7 Heath Benefits
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March 31, 2015


By Susan Callahan, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist




What you choose for your breakfast smoothie combination will
go a long way towards determining how well you feel for the
rest of the day. My favorite?  Spinach base, with added carrot
and strawberries.  What are the special health benefits of
starting your day with a spinach-carrot-strawberry smoothie?
How about thinking more clearly, boosting your immune system
and fighting both anemia and Alzheimer's. And that's just for
starters.


How Much Spinach and How Many Carrots and Strawberries
Should You Use?

I use two cups of raw, washed spinach. I sometimes remove
the stems, though the taste will not change much if you leave
them in.


For reasons listed below, I use a cup of washed strawberries
and a whole carrot, sliced up first. Slicing the carrot before
juicing seems to cut down on the heavy mulchiness.

To this mixture, you can also ad a half a cup of orange juice,
which just helps to make the smoothie thinner and it easier to
swallow and of course boost the Vitamin C content.


There are so many good health reasons for starting your day
with a spinach smoothie. But don't take my word for it. Here's
a look at what scientists have found.

























1.
Spinach Contains Lutein Which Helps Fight Nerve Cell  
Damage

Spinach is rich in lutein. Why does that matter? Lutein is a
carotenoid that is especially good at protecting your nerve cells
against oxidative stress. This turn keeps these cells from dying
early. Neuron oxidative stress occurs in neurodegenerative
diseases such Parkinson's, Huntingon's and Alzheimer's
disease.  Neuron oxidative stress is also what causes nerve pain
---
neuropathy --- associated with diabetes.

In a 2015 study, lutein actually reversed the loss of neural cells
by increasing the levels of a hormone called dopamine in the
bodies of mice. This study, led by Dr. J. Nataraj of Annamalai
University in India, is the first to show that lutein not only
protects cells but can actually reverse neural cell loss.


And the best way to get your lutein is from uncooked spinach,
according to a 2008 study from the University College Cork,
Cork, Republic of Ireland.  This is why a spinach smoothie is
better than even eating cooked spinach at a meal later in the
day.


2.
Spinach Protects Your Eyes from Ultraviolet Light

The lutein in spinach has another important function. It shields
your eyes from the photo-oxidative damage from blue light,
according to the team from University Collge Cork in the
Republic of Ireland.

Your eyes become more damaged as they are exposed to light.
The most damaging type of light to your yes is blue light. Blue
lights damaging effects on your eyes has been proven in many
scientific studies, including a 2015 study from Keio University
of Medicine in Japan.

In scientific terms, blue light has the short wavelengths which
cause more oxidative stress than other kinds of light. It is this
oxidative stress which causes eye diseases such a macular
degeneration as you age.

One way to shield your eyes is to reduce the amount of time
they are exposed to blue light. Another way to protect them is
to eat foods rich in lutein such as spinach. (Read more about
foods to protect your eyes.)


3.
Spinach is Rich in Iron Which Fights Anemia


You need iron to maintain your energy levels, as we've known
since childhood, from Popeye the Sailorman. Iron deficiency
causes
anemia, a chief cause of listlessness and weariness. Iron
deficiency can also make your body' burn fewer calories.

Spinach has one of the highest plant concentrations of iron.
Just a half a cup of spinach ---100 grams ---gives you  2.71
milligrams of iron, according to the USDA. That 20% of the
Recommended Daily Amount.

Boiled spinach gives you even more iron than fresh, uncooked
spinach. In fact, 180 grams of cooked spinach 6.43 milligrams
of iron, compared to 4.42 milligrams in a hamburger oaa 170-g
ground hamburger patty, according to the USDA.

The best strategy for iron is to start your day with the spinach
smoothie, then add a serving of cooked spinach later in the day
as well.


4.
Spinach Has All the Vitamin A You Need

Raw spinach gives you all the Vitamin A you'll need for the day.
In fact, just a cup (100 grams) of spinach gives you 59% of
the Vitamin A you'll need.  And why, pray tell, do you need
Vitamin A? Here is a
complete list of Vitamin A's nutrient value
but the short list includes

-helps you to see at night;

-helps to keep your skin smooth

-helps to form bone and teeth

-helps your body to fight infections.

To get the other 40% of Vitamin A you need, again, add a
serving of cooked spinach later in the day. Or drink another
smoothie for lunch.


5.  
Spinach Is the King of Vitamin K

A cup of spinach gives you 460% of your daily Vitamin K
requirements. Vitamin K is an unusually important vitamin. The
type of Vitamin K found in leafy green vegetable such as
spinach is K-1. This form of Vitamin K helps to coagulate your
blood, keeping you from bleeding to death.



6. And What About Strawberries...

I add strawberries to my spinach smoothie. For one thing, they
taste good. But strawberries also help to complement the
spinach. Strawberries are rich in Vitamin C, which is important
in its own right of course. You need Vitamin C to boost your
immune system.

But Vitamin C has other, less well known benefits. It turns out
that most of us walking around are deficient in Vitamin C.
Doctors learned that by just taking the Vitamin C levels of
people who end up in hospitals.

What doctors also learned was that people, after receiving
enough Vitamin C in hospitals to bring their levels back to
normal, experienced elevation in their moods.

Vitamin C helps to alleviate mild forms of depression. This has
been confirmed in several studies, including a 2009 study led
by Dr. Binfare' of the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina,
Campus Universitário inTrindad.

That's perhaps why I always feel so up after I drink my
smoothie. The feeling gradually increases for about 3 hours
after I down my smoothie.

Strawberries give you 97% of the Vitamin C you need daily.
The serving size you'll need is 100 grams --between 1/2 and
2/3 of a cup.

There's another reason you should add strawberries to your
spinach smoothie. The Vitamin C in strawberries actually helps
your body to better absorb the iron from the spinach.


7.  
Carrots Superboost the Carotenoid in the Spinach Smoothie

Both carrots and spinach contain carotenoids. Spinach is rich in
a carotenoid called lutein, as we've seen.  Carrots and all other
orange-colered vegetables such as sweet potatoes are rich in
beta-catonene, a different kind of carotenoid. Just for the sake
of accuracy, spinach also contains small amounts of carotene
but just a fraction fo what carrots do.

Now, beta carotene's health benefits are bountiful. Beta
carotene protects your eyes from ultraviolet light. It may even
help to stave off cognitive decline, according to an 18-year
study of 4000 physicians led by Dr. Francine Grodstein of  
Harvard Medical School.


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Spinach, carrot and strawberries smoothie.