Eat your spinach if you want to grow up strong and healthy.
That message is credited with increasing spinach sales by a third during the 1930s when the Popeye cartoons were first shown.
Just as “5 servings a day” is the modern message to promote more fruit and vegetable consumption, back in the Great Depression children were encouraged to eat more greens.
It turned out that cartoons were an effective way to do that.
Maybe we need a new successful marketing campaign for spinach. When I looked into it, it turned out to be a nutritional powerhouse like I never imagined. If you think there’s nothing new to say about spinach, keep reading. . .
Continued below. . .
Breast Cancer Survivor was told:
Doctors didn’t give Wiltrude much hope when they diagnosed her with cancer in the year 2000. Wiltrude, a German psychologist, never thought cancer would happen to her. But it did. And it came as a big shock.
One doctor told her, “You’ll be dead in a year.” Late stage breast cancer is virtually incurable using conventional treatments. Even M.D.s admit it. They talk about “buying you more time.” (Don’t count on it. The evidence shows you’re better off doing nothing than chemo.)
When Wiltrude told her doctor she was going to try alternative treatments, he said, “You are committing suicide with what you’re doing.” But she was determined to find a way to beat her cancer.
Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, this European woman came across a book by my good friend Bill Henderson, one of the smartest and wisest people I know when it comes to cancer treatment.
She tried Bill’s top, number one recommendation — a gentle treatment you can do at home for just $5.15 a day. What’s more, the cost goes down to $3.50 after six weeks because you just need a maintenance dose. And it even tastes good.
Not only has Wiltrude passed the five-year cancer survival mark, she’s survived for 12 years. We just interviewed her recently for this publication. The radiologist who tests her every year told her, “You’re the only one with this kind of result.”
You can find out more about Bill’s proven cancer treatment plan if you click here.
When I ask him about some of the treatments that top alternative doctors use, Bill sort of shrugs and says, “They’re fine, but why bother? My treatment works, you can do it yourself, and it costs practically nothing.”
He’s coached thousands of cancer patients with all different types and stages of cancer. Most of the people who follow the detailed, specific plan in this Special Report get over their cancer and live for years.
“Almost any kind of cancer is reversible,” says Bill. “I never give up on anyone.”
Popeye promoted vitamin A not iron
Popeye’s appeal to children to eat spinach is usually put down to its iron content. While it does have a useful amount of this mineral, health authorities actually promoted spinach more for its vitamin A content. In the 1920s doctors found they could improve children’s health with vitamin A from spinach.
Or as Popeye expresses it in a newspaper cartoon:
“Spinach is full of vitamin A an’ tha’s what make hoomans strong an helty.”
Even without knowledge of its full nutritional value, Popeye’s promotion of this nutrient-dense vegetable helped protect children against developing cancer and other diseases, as we now know.
The protective power of vitamin A
The association between vitamin A and cancer was first demonstrated in 1926 when rats developed gastric carcinoma on a vitamin-A-deficient diet. In 1941 patients with gastrointestinal cancer were found to have low plasma vitamin A levels.
This vitamin is important to the immune system, supporting the production and function of T cells in the intestinal tract and elsewhere.
Laboratory studies show vitamin A reduces the risk of colon, breast, prostate, liver and skin cancers.
A study of 82,002 Swedish adults over seven years found that the one-fourth (roughly 20,000) who consumed the most vitamin A (average of 2,277 mcg) reduced their risk of gastric cancer by half compared to the one-fourth who consumed the least (average of 862 mcg).
Just three ounces of boiled spinach provides 2,832 mcg, which is more than three times the recommended daily amount (RDA), so it’s very easy to get all the vitamin A protection you need from a small serving.
Even those in the bottom quarter of the Swedish study ingested RDA levels, so it’s clear you should take quite a bit more than the RDA if you want to enjoy optimum health.
Cancer protection from vitamin K
Spinach is also a good or excellent source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, zinc, iron, vitamins C, E, B2, B6, folate and omega 3 fatty acids, but it’s a real superstar when it comes to vitamin K.
The same three ounces supplies 444 mcg of K, which is well above the RDA of 120 mcg for men and 90 mcg for women.
Various cell line studies demonstrate the anti-cancer effects of phylloquinone (K1), the form found in spinach. These include liver, lung, colon, breast and leukemia cancer cell lines.
Several human trials for liver cancer also showed anti-cancer effects, with many seeing disease stabilization when they took 40 mg a day.
Some researchers believe glutathione and alpha lipoic acid (ALA) are the body’s most important antioxidants. While the body can produce these nutrients for itself, this ability diminishes with aging, meaning seniors often lack the glutathione and ALA they need.
To the rescue comes spinach. It contains a plentiful supply of both.
Glutathione protects and repairs DNA, detoxifies pollutants, boosts immunity and lowers inflammation. ALA helps increase glutathione levels, stabilize blood sugar and reduce free radical damage in both water and fat parts of the cell.
Spinach has a good supply of antioxidant vitamins C and E, and is one of only two vegetables (the other is broccoli) with significant quantities of CoQ10.
This powerful antioxidant and immune system booster works synergistically with vitamins C, E and glutathione. It’s a key player when it comes to the skin’s defense against sun damage.
Prevents tumor growth
Of ten vegetables tested on human liver cancer cell lines, spinach had the highest antiproliferative activity followed by cabbage, red pepper, onion, and broccoli.
The authors suggested a bioactivity index (BI) to help consumers choose the most beneficial vegetables. The BI measures antioxidant and antiproliferative activity.
Spinach came out on top here with a score of 0.95. Next highest was red pepper with 0.78 and broccoli with 0.66
In 2009 scientists from Canada tested extracts from 34 vegetables on eight different tumor cells lines.
Results were divided into four categories ranging from little activity (inhibitory effect of 50% on less than two cell lines) to very high activity (inhibitory effect of at least 50% on all cell lines).
Only eight vegetables made it into the top category, spinach being one of them. The others were Brussels sprouts, cabbage, curly cabbage, green onion, leek, kale and garlic (included as part of the allium group of vegetables).
The authors noted that well over half the vegetable intake of US adults come from potatoes, carrots, tomatoes and lettuce, all of which have weak effects on tumor cell growth, according to current science. Those with the highest anti-cancer properties “make up a minuscule amount” of overall consumption.
And by the way, don’t count potatoes at all when you add up how many servings of vegetables you eat. They have little nutritional value, and are actually harmful due to their high starch content. Potatoes are one metabolic step away from eating table sugar straight.
Cancer-fighting phytonutrients in spinach
The bioflavonoid luteolin is a potent antioxidant and reduces inflammation. It helps to prevent damage to DNA and aids in its repair.
In one study, luteolin’s anticancer properties were described as inhibition of tumor growth, tumor spread and angiogenesis (building new blood vessels to feed tumors) as well as inducing apoptosis (death of cancer cells).
In another study, luteolin blocked the activity of cell-signaling pathways in colon cancer cells. This prevents cancer cells from dividing and leads to their death.
Kaempferol, a polyphenol antioxidant found in spinach, has been noted in many studies for its anticancer properties. Population studies show the more kaempferol in the diet the less the incidence of cancer.
A review of this phytonutrient mentioned its “remarkable catalog of cancer-fighting properties” including apoptosis, inhibition of angiogenesis, metastasis and inflammation. The authors continue that its “value in its ability to distinguish between healthy and malignant cells cannot be overstated.”
Another spinach nutrient, the flavonoid quercetin, can neutralize free radicals, relieve inflammation, induce apoptosis and block the growth of cancers cells, including cancer stem cells.
Myricetin has “potent anticancer-promoting activity.” Higher levels of dietary myricetin are associated with reduced risk of prostate and pancreatic cancer. In laboratory studies it was shown to be effective against bladder cancer and it exhibited “potent anti-leukemia activity.”
Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids that help prevent and repair DNA, inhibit angiogenesis and encourage apoptosis.
Another carotenoid, neoxanthin, “induced evident apoptotic cell death” on human prostate cancer cells. During digestion much neoxanthin is converted to neochrome, which in turn inhibited cell proliferation.
A class of plant compounds called glycoglycerolipids — specifically MGDG and SQDG — has been shown to suppress cancer cell proliferation, inhibit angiogenesis and promote apoptosis.
Out of eight foods tested, spinach came out top for SQDG by a considerable margin and was third for MGDG behind parsley and green tea.
Aside from cancer, spinach has particular benefits for the cardiovascular system and helps reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.
Steven Pratt, a medical doctor and author of Superfoods, writes, “It’s very simple: you must eat your spinach. [It’s] right up there at the pinnacle of the Superfoods powerhouse choices. Spinach has more demonstrated health benefits than almost any other food.”
I’m sure Popeye would agree.
Our previous issue talked about another nutritional powerhouse, which happens to be in season right now. If you missed the article, you can see it just below.
This American-Grown, Cancer-Fighting Fruit is Most Delicious Right Now
It turns out that the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” is backed by far more research these days than it was when you heard the old adage as a child.
So don’t overlook this boring old standby as you race through the produce section looking for something exotic from Asia or South America. Apples have some potent anti-cancer benefits.
They’re a lot cheaper than their intriguing cousins from the far ends of the earth, especially this time of year when they’re in season. And here’s a plus: You can eat them raw without any preparation. The perfect snack food.
In my view, off-season apples do NOT taste as good. The autumn – our autumn, in the Northern Hemisphere – is the best time to enjoy.
But don’t make three common mistakes, because you can lose the apple’s anticancer benefits. . .
7 SHOCKING VITAMIN RIP-OFFS
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Scads of new research points to the apple’s anti-cancer benefits…
They’re now known to help prevent at least five types of cancer – liver, colon, breast, prostate, and lung. Here’s the evidence…
At the University of Wisconsin researchers took two cell lines each of human prostate cancer and human breast cancer and exposed them to an extract of the peels of organic Gala apples.
They dripped a bit of the extract on the cancer cells, then a little more, and more again. By the end, the cancer cells had gone to wherever cancer cells go when they die.
This wasn’t chemo, mind you. Just apple peel extract.
At Cornell, food scientists induced mammary cancer in lab rats, and then fed them apple extracts equivalent to one apple per day. Tumor incidence dropped 25 percent compared to the controls. When the dose was raised to three apples a day (equivalent), tumor incidence fell by a shocking 61 percent.
In the Nurses Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, regular fruit and vegetable consumption was linked to a 21 percent lower rate of lung cancer in women. And apples were the real standout when consumed individually.
A Finnish study of 10,000 men and women showed much the same result… higher intake of flavonoids from apples was linked to less lung cancer.
Similar findings show the apple’s perks against liver and colon cancers.
In general, apples can reduce your risk of cancer and slow its spread if it does develop. But scientists are unsure of the exact mechanism for the benefit, probably because the fruit contains many different natural chemicals.
However, scientists do have some idea of how it works. . .
Certain compounds in apples talk to your genes
Recently it’s been discovered that substances found in apples can turn off or turn on certain genes:
Maspin – a tumor suppressor protein — slows the growth of new blood vessels needed for initiating and spreading cancer. Tumor cells can actively turn off maspin. Amazingly, apple peels can turn maspin back on.
Research shows that maspin becomes even more effective as increasing amounts of blended apple peels are used. So you don’t want to peel your apples. Eat the skins.
Flavonoids: Super antioxidants scavenge free radicals that destroy your cells and run roughshod over your DNA – the first step on the road to cancer. Apples are rich in flavonoids – especially in the skins. They turn genes off and on. In other words, they’re talking to your genes.
Procyanidins. Super antioxidants that give fruits color and protect your DNA from damage – averting the first step in cancer formation. Scientists know these nutrients suppress a pro-inflammatory leukotriene called LOX1. Also, they suppress EGFR, a tumor growth factor receptor that’s prevalent in many breast cancers.
Plant fibers and pectin are prebiotics, that is, they promote good intestinal flora, which in turn controls inflammation, detoxification, and hormone metabolism.
Quercetin is also found in the skin of red apples (and other red foods, including red onions, pomegranates, and cranberries). It has more than 30 known functions in your body.
Quercetin needs the help of intestinal flora to become bioavailable. And as I just mentioned, the apple’s own plant fibers and pectin support good intestinal flora. Quercetin also controls inflammation, inhibits growth factors common to many cancers, and helps express tumor suppressor genes.
Vitamin C is a potent cell-protective antioxidant that regulates a host of functions from preventing infections to protecting your nose, throat, and lungs, to controlling your genes.
Incidentally, apples are also known to improve digestive health, counter anemia, energize weak muscles and improve muscle tone, control diabetes, protect your brain, resolve respiratory issues, improve night vision, aid in weight loss, and reduce wrinkles and signs of aging.
But this is par for the course for natural foods, which almost always influence multiple systems and functions at once. And it’s why food should be your medicine.
In all likelihood, there are a whole lot more ‘secrets’ about apples yet to be discovered.
These mistakes cause apples to lose nutritional value
Want to maximize apples for your fight against cancer? Do everything possible to avoid these three mistakes:
Mistake #1: Don’t throw out the most nutritious part!
The apple processing industry discards an estimated 9,000 metric TONS of apple peels per year. Yet that’s where the bulk of the cancer-fighting nutrients resides.
Some people object to the texture, or the bitterness of the peels. (I don’t get this at all, but apparently some people feel this way.) But the peels contain the most beneficial nutrients. So embrace the taste. Apple peels activate your anticancer genes.
Mistake #2: Don’t drink your apples – eat them!
Apple juice is not the health-promoting liquid so many people believe it to be. In fact, it may be worse than sugar water. It has the same effect of boosting your blood sugar and uric acid levels.
Conventional apple juice also often contains contaminants such as fungal toxins and pesticides.
Mistake #3: Not springing for organic apples.
Scientists project that if half the U.S. population ate just one more serving of fruits and veggies a day, it could prevent 20,000 cancer cases annually – possibly including yours. At the same time the added chemicals would only cause an extra 10 cases of cancer.
Can we trust those stats? It’s hard to say. But why risk it?
Conventionally grown apples are the second most contaminated kind of produce on Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list of foods that contain the most farm chemicals. That’s why I choose organic whenever possible, and why I suggest you do too.
Fun ways to eat more apples, more often
Apples have been called a food of the gods – and of mere mortals too. How many ways can you think of to enjoy them? Try these:
- Apple slices with nut butters
- In a green salad or fruit salad
- Cooked with vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes and winter squash
- Baked or poached with cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves, or red wine
- As an accompaniment to pork chops
- As a sugar-free applesauce (with the peels included)
Enjoy a trip to the apple orchard if you can, this fall.
What are your favorite ways to eat apples? Give us your comments on our Facebook page.
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