Spinach is an edible flowering plant native to the Middle East and Asia. It is a healthy green known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant cancer fighting properties. Baby spinach is very popular in salads and mature spinach is also available in red which is popular in South Asian cooking.
Your mission this week is to add some spinach to your anti-cancer diet.
Why Eat Spinach?
Spinach is rich in anti-oxidants which protect us from cancer causing free radicals and also has anti-carcinogen properties. Its anti-inflammatory phytonutrients like flavonoids, carotenoids, beta-carotene, lutein, oxalic acid, epoxyxanthophylls and a new category of nutrients called glycoglycerolipids, have been shown to reduce the risk of breast, colon, ovarian, prostate and pancreatic cancers in numerous studies.
Spinach and the Research
Oregon State University researchers produced findings that spinach can offset the damaging effects of carcinogens in cooked meats, a cause of colon tumors. “The scientists also found that consumption of spinach can partially offset the damaging effects of the carcinogen. In tests with laboratory animals, it cut the incidence of colon tumors almost in half, from 58% to 32%.”
A controlled study in Italy from 1992 to 1999 investigated the relationship of flavonoids with ovarian cancer risk. Published in the International Journal of Cancer, their findings are, “In logistic regression models… an inverse relation with significant trend in risk was found between ovarian cancer and flavonols as well as isoflavones. Further adjustment for fruit and vegetable intake did not modify these associations, suggesting that isoflavones and flavonols may have a distinct role in explaining the effect of fruit and vegetable against ovarian cancer.”
Rutgers University conducted a study of lutein on prostate cancer cells. Their findings were dramatic. “Flow cytometry analyses showed that lutein improved drug-induced cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in prostate cancer… These findings highlight that lutein modulates the expression of growth and survival-associated genes in prostate cancer cells.”
The University Medical Center Utrecht investigated the impact of carotenoids on pancreatic cancer. Their controlled study with 446 people had the following conclusion, “Our results show that higher plasma concentrations of b-carotene, zeaxanthin and aj-tocopherol may be inversely associated with the risk of pancreatic cancer, but further studies are warranted.”
Kobe-Gakuin University in Japan conducted a study on the important role of spinach glycoglycerolipids as angiogenesis inhibitors or tumor blood supply blockers. “The effect of these glycoglycerolipids on cancer cells, angiogenesis and solid tumor growth might be mediated via their inhibition of replicative DNA polymerase activities. On the basis of these findings, we discuss the mode of action of plant chloroplast glycoglycerolipids as anti-cancer therapeutic agents.”
Important- Oxalic Acid and Breast Cancer
The foodforbreastcancer.com website provides this special information regarding oxalic acid in spinach and breast cancer patients: “Spinach contains oxalic acid, which interferes with calcium absorption, and therefore spinach should not be eaten at the same time as calcium-rich foods by breast cancer patients and others to whom calcium levels are important. Boiling reduces the oxalic acid content of spinach and increases iron availability.”
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Garlic Sauteed Spinach
Scrambled Eggs with Spinach & Parmesan
Be sure to choose organic and/or omega 3 rich eggs.
Butternut Squash Ravioli with Spinach Pesto
Spinach Salad with Citrus and Roasted Beets