For those who are too young, Popeye was a sailor who loved his spinach. Whenever he needed energy he'd pop open a can (yes, a can) of the green stuff and behold he would snap into action. Today is National Spinach Day and I'd like to pay tribute to this super food.
Spinach is a native food of China and Southwestern Asia. They are also the top producer of the leafy greens. The United States is the second largest producer with California, Arizona and New Jersey being the top producers. Interesting fact, the Queen of France, Catherine de Medici (makes me think of Megan Follows of the Reign series. Haven't seen it? Watch it!!) liked spinach so much that she was said to have requested it for every meal. Italian spinach dishes known as "Florentine" are named for her birth in Florence, Italy.
Spinach has so many health benefits. It is the best source of iron. The calcium in spinach helps strengthen bones. Vitamins A and C, fiber, folic acid, and other nutrients fight against colon and breast cancers. It also helps to lower damaging protein levels in the blood and can protect against high blood pressure and heart disease. It is also believed to benefit gastrointestinal health.
There are many ways to eat spinach but two of my all time favorite ways are as a dip and a salad.
Spinach Artichoke Dip
Mix together in baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until browned. Serve hot with chips, crackers.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sugar, olive oil, vinegar, paprika, Worcestershire sauce and onion. Cover, and chill for one hour.
In a large bowl, combine the spinach, strawberries and almonds. Pour dressing over salad, and toss. Refrigerate 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
Take some time today and enjoy the healthy benefits of spinach. #nationalspinachday
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