Tuesday, October 24, 2006

If you’re smart, eat your spinach — and you’ll be smarter

At a time when spinach had gotten such a bad reputation because of E. coli O157:H7 concerns, finally a bit of good news has come out to encourage people to buy it again.

According to an Associated Press article, researchers have “ found that eating vegetables appears to help keep the brain young and may slow the mental decline sometimes associated with growing old.

“On measures of mental sharpness, older people who ate more than two servings of vegetables daily appeared about five years younger at the end of the six-year study than those who ate few or no vegetables,” reported AP.

Best of all: “Green leafy vegetables including spinach, kale and collards appeared to be the most beneficial. The researchers said that may be because they contain healthy amounts of vitamin E, an antioxidant that is believed to help fight chemicals produced by the body that can damage cells.”

After three deaths and more than 200 people becoming ill from the E. coli problem, such medical research and reminders of the healthier aspects of spinach and other vegetables should be a good way for the agricultural industry to rebound, in the consumer’s eye and more importantly, in the pocketbook.

The Western Growers Association has estimated the spinach problem will cost the spinach industry more than $100 million.

While the search continues for the cause of the E. coli outbreak, there are a lot of spinach and other vegetable growers who are doing all they can to ensure food is safe as well as healthy. As consumers, we often take for granted the steps they take.

As well, we need to be more guarded and accept responsibilities ourselves on what we do after we purchase these products: how we transport them home, what type and how long we store them, how do we handle and clean them, how we prepare the food and how do we store leftovers. The US Food and Drug Administration has offered some valuable tips that should be posted in every fridge.

The E. coli problem on spinach made a lot of headlines and broadcast news, but more disturbing was the number of cases that there are in America each year.

E. coli is the leading cause of foodborne illness. “Based on a 1999 estimate, 73,000 cases of infection and 61 deaths occur in the United States each year,” reports the Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .

In conclusion, we need to get smarter about how we handle our food, such as spinach. Eating spinach will help us to be smarter. If we become smarter, then we should know better how to handle our food — such as spinach.

Ironical, isn’t it?


Alzheimer's Association


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


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