It probably won’t shock you to hear that spinach is a healthy addition to our diets… but did you know that it can help reduce the DNA damage that has been shown to accelerate aging? Spinach contains a B vitamin called folate. From creating red and white blood cells to producing healthy DNA to converting carbohydrates into energy, the role of folate is a big one. If you are pregnant or a growing child, folate is critical in the growing process (source). But it is also critical as we age.
Beyond the roles of folate listed above, it also plays a part in the function of telomeres. Telomeres are the ends of chromosomes and they get shorter as we age. Studies have found that the shortening of telomeres is linked to “increased incidence of diseases and poor survival” (source). Needless to say, it’s important to mitigate this and do what we can to prevent them from shortening. Recent studies have found that a deficiency in folate may lead to dysfunctional telomeres (source).
As we mentioned above, spinach contains folate. 1 cup of raw spinach contains 58 mcg of folate and 1 cup of cooked spinach contains 263 mcg (that’s more than half of the recommended daily value of folate that the average adult needs). Try our simple sautéed spinach recipe as a side for your lunch or dinner. Your DNA and telomeres will thank you!
Sautéed Lemon Garlic Spinach
• 2 cups of raw spinach
• 1 clove of garlic, minced
• ½ tablespoon of avocado oil, olive oil, or ghee
• ¼ of a lemon, juiced
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 1 tsp lemon zest, for garnish
• In a medium-sized sauté pan, heat your oil of choice over medium heat
• Add minced garlic to the pan and sauté for 30 seconds, being sure not to burn the garlic
• Add spinach into the pan and stir for 1 minute or until wilted
• Transfer spinach to a serving plate and squeeze ¼ of a lemon on top
• Garnish with lemon zest