Meet our new blog contributor, nutritional therapist Sally Beare.
We are delighted to welcome Sally as an expert contributor to our blog on matters nutritional. As well as being a practitioner, Sally has a keen interest in the role of food in slowing down the ageing process and has written two books on the subject, The Live-Longer Diet and 50 Secrets of the World’s Longest Living People. She has also developed an easy-to-follow healthy eating plan, the Stacking Plan, which helps people to develop good eating habits over 10 weeks by adding one new good habit a week.
In her series for Miller Green, Sally is going to take one plant-based ingredient each month and analyse its health giving, anti-aging properties and its role in a balanced diet. And we are going to come up with a lovely recipe using that ingredient in case you fancy cooking it at home.
In her first blog, Sally is going to tell us all about the health-giving properties of spinach and there’s a lovely recipe at the end for creamed spinach – vegan, of course
Spinach is a popular part of the healthful Mediterranean diet and, of course, it was credited with giving the legendary cartoon character Popeye his bulging muscles.
Although Popeye’s creator did, in fact, misplace a decimal point and thus give spinach ten times more iron than it actually contains, it is true that this mineral-rich leafy vegetable is a top source of plant iron. Plant iron, or ‘non-heme’ iron, is best absorbed when accompanied by vitamin C; spinach is an excellent source of vitamin C and you will also find it in tomatoes, so the Miller Green chickpea, spinach and tomato curry is a great way to get the best from your spinach.
Spinach also contains the minerals magnesium and calcium, which are vital for the health of our bones and muscles, including the heart muscle. Magnesium is known as the ‘relaxation mineral’ and can be a powerful sleep aid; it also provides tryptophan which our bodies use to make serotonin, the feel-good brain chemical which promotes sleep. But spinach is rich in B vitamins too, which we need for energy and metabolism during the day, so it can help us to feel good around the clock.
As if this weren’t enough, spinach is also a top source of at least thirteen powerful anti-ageing antioxidants including beta-carotene, which is invaluable for lung health, and lutein and zeaxanthin which keep our eyes healthy. Spinach is secretly orange beneath the green because of these, but is given its rich dark green colour by its high levels of chlorophyll, an antioxidant which has been found to have some exciting anti-cancer properties. 1, 2
Simonich, Michael T (2008). Low-dose dietary chlorophyll inhibits multi-organ carcinogenesis in the rainbow trout. Food Chem Toxic 46(3):1014-1024.
Suparmi Suparmi (2016). Comparisons of Curative Effects of Chlorophyll fromSauropus androgynus(L) Merr Leaf Extract and Cu-Chlorophyllin on Sodium Nitrate-Induced Oxidative Stress in Rats. Journal of Toxicology 2016
Chickpea, spinach and tomato curry
Like a number of our recipes, this one originated from one we came across online. Although we have adapted and developed it, we’d love to credit the originator. If you recognise it, please let us know!
3 cardamom pods, crushed
3 onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
piece of ginger, thumb sized and finely chopped
green chilli, half the seeds removed and finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chilli powder
1 heaped tsp grd coriander
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tbsp tomato purée
pinch of sea salt
twist of pepper
4 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
500g chickpeas, cooked without salt (cooked weight) or 2 x 400g tins chickpeas
1/2 can coconut milk
100g spinach, washed
squeeze of lemon
Heat the olive oil in a large pan and then add the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and fennel seed.
Let them cook for a few seconds before adding the garlic, ginger and green chilli.
Stir fry for a couple of minutes then add the onion.
Let all that cook away for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and golden.
Add the dry spices, tomato purée and a pinch of sea salt and stir it all so the onion is nicely coated and cook for another minute or so.
Add the chopped tomatoes and the water.
Bring to the boil and then add the chickpeas.
Cover the many and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Reduce heat and stir in coconut milk. Simmer for 5 minutes and add the spinach to wilt.
Squeeze in a few drops of lemon juice from half a lemon
Taste and season with salt and pepper.