Spinach was the favorite vegetable of Catherine de Medici during the Renaissance. When she left Florence, Italy, to marry the king of France, she brought along her own cooks so they could prepare spinach in the ways she preferred. Since that time, dishes prepared on a bed of spinach are referred to as "a la Florentine." The United States and the Netherlands are the largest producers of spinach. Varieties include baby spoon, flat or smooth leaf, red, savoy, and semi savoy.
- calorie for calorie, provides more nutrients than any other food
- high in lutein, a carotenoid that protects agains macular degeneration and cataracts
- an excellent source of iron, especially important for women
- reduces symptoms of asthma, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and rheumatoid arthritis