Spinach is a green leafy vegetable that we all know to be really healthy, due to the presence of high levels of antioxidants in it. However, the best way to eat spinach is not after blanching or boiling it, but rather adding it to your smoothies or juicing it, says a new study. Researchers at Linkoping University in Sweden have found that the best way to preserve lutein that is found in dark green leafy vegetables is to consume them in the form of smoothies or juices. While a green vegetable juice or adding spinach to your breakfast smoothie may not seem very appetising, but it is certainly quite healthy for you. In the study that was published in the journal Food Chemistry, a group of researchers from the University compared the different ways of preparing spinach, to see which finished food product has the highest levels of lutein in it.
The researchers compared various methods of cooking baby spinach, which are commonly used in everyday meal preparations, including frying, steaming or boiling it for upto an hour and a half, all the while measuring the levels of lutein in it at the different points of time. They found out that the amount of time that spinach is boiled for is crucial in determining the levels of lutein in it and that the longer it is cooked, the less lutein the spinach contains. They also found that the method of cooking also matters for the level of lutein present in the spinach. For example, frying spinach at high temperature degrades its lutein content at a very high rate. Surprisingly, the researchers found that reheating the cooked spinach may to some extent compensated for the lost lutein in cooking, as the heat provided by the microwave further breaks down the plant structure, releasing more lutein.
Also Read:10 Healthy Spinach Recipes
Lena Jonasson, professor in the Department of Medical and Health Sciences and consultant in cardiology was quoted as saying in an article on the University website: "What is unique about this study is that we have used preparation methods that are often used when cooking food at home, and we have compared several temperatures and heating times. We have also investigated methods of preparation in which the spinach is eaten cold, such as in salads and smoothies." The principle author of the research study, Rosanna Chung said in the article that it was best to not cook the spinach at all and that it was even healthier to consume spinach in combination with fat from dairy products like cream, milk or yogurt. She was quoted as saying in the article: "When the spinach is chopped into small pieces, more lutein is released from the leaves, and the fat increases the solubility of the lutein in the fluid."
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Looking for some ways to add spinach to your smoothies? Here are some spinach smoothie recipes that you may want to add to your healthy diet:
1. Green Apple And Spinach Smoothie: Blend some chopped green apple with clean baby spinach leaves, along with a little bit of yogurt or curd and some honey, to make a healthy and antioxidant rich breakfast drink.
2. Avocado, Pineapple And Spinach Smoothie: Toss some chopped avocado pulp in with some pineapple and baby spinach leaves, and add a natural sweetener of your choice, to make a perfectly delicious and healthy spinach smoothie.
Add spinach to your smoothies to load up on lutein
3. Papaya, Banana And Spinach Smoothie: Spinach and banana go well together in smoothies. Add some fresh chopped papaya to the mix to enhance the digestion-boosting properties of your healthy smoothie, along with some yogurt and you've got yourself a winner.
Spinach is immensely rich in essential nutrients and vitamins and is very low in calories, making it the perfect addition to your healthy weight loss diet as well. Try including those healthy greens in your daily meals, as much as is possible, to get a healthy and glowing skin as well as a slim figure!
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