Lutein Abundant in Dark Green and Colorful Vegetables
Lutein, is a carotenoid antioxidant related to beta carotene and Vitamin A that has been shown to have many wonderful nutritious benefits especially for heart and eye health. Lutein is found abundantly in dark green and also colorful yellow vegetables like broccoli, kale, Swiss chard, Brussels sprouts, spinach, corn, winter squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots and more.
Lutein is Found in Macula of Eyes and Protects the Eyes
Lutein is also found in the macula of the human eye and acts as a protective yellow filter that protects the eyes from harm.
Baby Spinach used in Swedish Study Showed Best Results when Prepared as Smoothie or Juice
Spinach is a common lutein-rich vegetable, so researchers from Linkoping University in Sweden set out to scientifically find out which is the best way to get the maximum amount of lutein from eating spinach. They discovered that eating raw spinach as a smoothie or juice is the best way to get the lutein. The results of their study were published in the journal Food Chemistry and reported by Science Daily, December 21, 2018.
Previous Research Showed that Lutein has Heart Healthy Benefits
Lutein was found in previous research at Linkoping University to be able to reduce inflammation that leads to atherosclerosis and heart attacks. The researchers also discovered that lutein can be stored in immune cells in the body and thus can be built up as a reserve.
Researchers Experimented with Various Preparation Methods for Baby Spinach
The researchers chose to use baby spinach which they purchased in a supermarket. They prepared the spinach in the same ways that food is cooked at home. They fried, steamed, boiled and reheated the spinach in a microwave oven at various different temperatures and heating times. They checked the lutein content for each of the methods. They also examined spinach when it was eaten cold in salads and smoothies.
Results of Various Cooking and Preparation Methods of Spinach
The longer spinach is boiled the less lutein remains in the spinach.
When spinach is fried at high temperatures a large amount of lutein is destroyed after only two minutes.
Steaming the spinach also resulted in a loss of lutein.
Reheating in a Microwave
Ironically, they discovered that reheating spinach in a microwave led to more lutein being extracted from the spinach and the microwaved spinach contained more lutein and compensated for the amount that had been lost in boiling, steaming or frying.
Liquefying the raw spinach obtained the most released lutein and adding a dairy product made it even more accessible.
Best not to Heat Spinach at all
The researchers concluded that it is best not to heat spinach at all and the best way to eat spinach to get the most lutein is to make a raw spinach smoothie with milk, yogurt or dairy cream. The smaller the particles of spinach are chopped the more lutein is released from the leaves and the fat from the dairy product aids the absorption of lutein in the smoothie.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the number one leading cause of death in the United States.
- About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year which is 1 in every 4 deaths.
- Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, but more than half of the deaths due to heart disease are usually in men.
- Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the most common type of heart disease, killing over 370,000 people every year.
- Every year about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack. Of these, 525,000 are a first heart attack and 210,000 happen in people who have already had a heart attack.
Choose a Short or Long-term Facility with Heart Healthy Cuisine
If you or your loved one are in need of short or Long-term rehabilitation and skilled nursing care, choose a facility that has good heart healthy nutrition like the Van Duyn Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Syracuse, New York.
It certainly pays to eat healthy foods that have been scientifically shown to be protective against heart disease and heart attacks like lutein rich foods such as dark green leafy vegetables like spinach.