Popeye ate spinach to build muscles, but we now know that spinach is even better for your eyes. This is because it is one of the richest sources of lutein, a phytonutrient that helps give spinach its color and helps shield it from the sun's harmful rays.
In the same way that lutein protects spinach, it also helps protect our eyes from damaging UV light – which can cause macular degeneration. This phytonutrient also helps fight off inherited diseases of the eye such as retinitis pigmentosa, better known as tunnel vision, and cataracts.
The main pigment in spinach is chlorophyll. In plants, this substance uses sunlight to generate food in a process called photosynthesis.
In humans, chlorophyll has been used as a breath freshener and skin deodorizer, but new research shows an even more potent use — cancer fighter. Studies have demonstrated correlations between chlorophyll and inhibition of tumor cells in mice and rainbow trout.
To increase your spinach intake, sauté it with mushrooms and garlic in olive oil and eat it as a side; make fresh spinach salads, or add it to pasta dishes. Other sources of lutein include kale, collard greens, okra, and red peppers.