The gravel-voiced sailor man was smart to make spinach his vegetable of choice. This green giant has a wealth of nutritional highlights, including vitamin K, vitamin C and lutein, a potent antioxidant. Higher intakes of lutein have been linked to healthier cholesterol levels (for better heart functioning) and improved eye health, according to The Journal of Nutrition and JAMA.
If you want to soak up more lutein from your spinach, consider giving it a ride in the blender. In a study published recently in the journal Food Chemistry, Swedish researchers found that heating methods like boiling and frying caused spinach to lose some of its lutein, with losses rising as cooking times and temperatures increased. In contrast, raw spinach retained the most lutein, while liquefied greens (think smoothies and juicing) delivered the biggest antioxidant punch. Interestingly, adding dairy to blitzed spinach enhanced lutein levels even further.
When uncooked spinach is chopped into small pieces, it’s believed that more lutein is released from the leaves, and dairy fat increases the solubility of lutein. That makes this verdant smoothie an excellent option for a quick breakfast or postworkout refresher. Serves one.
3/4 C milk
1/2 C baby spinach
2 T hemp seeds (hemp hearts)
1 t honey
1 t lime zest
1 medium orange, peeled
1 C ice cubes
Place all of the ingredients in a blender container in the order listed and blend until smooth.