Prevention Through the Eyes of a Spinach Skeptic

Prevention Through the Eyes of a Spinach Skeptic


by Don Ingwerson

The sight of spinach on my dinner plate can – for me – ruin an otherwise good meal.

Although I’ve always been told that eating spinach makes you healthy, this does little to change my feelings about the value of it. I’m not sure exactly what would make me reconsider my view of this green, leafy vegetable, but research supporting preventative activities that may lower health care costs and eliminate unnecessary hospital and doctor office visits could be compelling.

Similar to my hesitancy about eating certain vegetables, some view other aspects of health with a dose of skepticism, including a mental approach to physical health.

However, many individuals believe and understand that spirituality has an affect on health – but not church attendance or religious activities. Yet studies document positive health effects from spiritual as well as religious involvement.

Such “effects on health are diverse, ranging from such tangible and easily understood phenomena such as a reduction of health-risk behaviors in churchgoers, to more elusive phenomena such as the effects of prayer on health and physiology.”

As medicine expands from a western-style, drug-based domain to also include alternative and complementary options, some caregivers are finding that spirituality can be a key ingredient for good health – especially when considering prevention.

The positive health effects of inward practices, such as prayer and meditation, are not new. The Bible is chock full of accounts of individuals who healed others and were healed of mental, social, and physical problems.

It is no surprise that today medical academic programs include topics on spirituality and alternative/complementary medicines. This trend is mirrored by the fact that nearly 40% of Americans spend $34 billion on complementary or alternative health care per year.  Most of this money is being paid for out of pocket.

Evidently, many see the pursuit of health as more than the exclusive domain of drug-based medicine. Based upon current research, it would seem appropriate that health care include considerations for mind-body connections, which would help reduce the costs of medically based health care as well as strengthen prevention components.

According to Charles Kenny, a fellow at the Center for Global Development, “Americans get terrible value for money from their health spending.” The World Bank indicates that the U.S. spends $8,608 per person per year on health care, but the U.S. has a lower average life expectancy than Chile, where health expenditures are $1,292 annually, or Israel, where expenditures are $2,172 per year.

Given the fact that we need better use of our funds, we might consider preventive aspects further, including those addressing mind-body connections.

When discussing complementary medicines, Dr. Patricia Herman, who published a systematic review of cost studies on complementary and alternative medicine, stated, “I’m tired of this talk that there is no evidence for cost-effectiveness of complementary and integrative medicine. There is evidence. We need to move onto phase two and look at how transferable these findings are. We can take this evidence and run.”

While we consider this, I just may reexamine my perspective on spinach.

Article first published in Blogcritics.

About the author

Don Ingwerson Don regularly blogs on health and spirituality and lives in Laguna Beach with his wife - both Christian Science practitioners. He brings his years serving the public in education to his work as a liaison of Christian Science, where he maintains contacts with the media and legislative offices.


  1. says

    Great article! I love the concept! We seem to be a society where we’re driven to medicine by commercials describing diseases, the symptoms, warning signs ect! In societies where there is less “marketing of diseases” these conditions are virtually unknown and the people live long, happy lives! Your article reminds me of a statement Mary Baker Eddy writes about on page 240 of her publication Miscelanious Writings she writes “if a cold could get into the body without the assent of mind, nature would take it out as gently, or let it remain as harmlessly, as it take the frost out of the ground or puts it into the the ice cream to the satisfaction of all.”. One of the promises in the Bible is “nothing shall by any means hurt you!” I really enjoyed your article, and I love salmon and spinach with cream sauce on noodles!

  2. Tracy says

    Great post, Don! I think re-examining any belief (about spinach or otherwise) allows us to create new room in our thought for solutions we hadn’t thought of before. The more open we are to constantly discovering new ways to let our thinking out of the box – on any subject – the better off we become.

    And smoothies are a great way to sneak in a little spinach every now and then. :)

  3. Pamela says

    Thaks for that great Post Don, I don’t need to reconsider becasue I already love spanich, but then my family think I’m wierd. Ha Ha.

    All kidding aside creating room for new thoughts about solutions to health care from a different perspective is always helpful. If we go through life only doing something one way and never explore new ideas we get stagnant. My mom always said, “People don’t grow old, they become old by not growing.” So it would bhoove us to grow spiritually, intellectually and in any way that would help us and our society with a better view of health – what works and what doesn’t.

  4. says

    Doctors and nurses and research scientists, who are genuinely searching for the best methods and the best outcomes, are open to new approaches that become more and more available to mankind. What a progressive era we are privileged to witness!

  5. Marva Kaufman says

    I’m a Melbourne-based health writer who provides a diversity of health content on how spirituality and thought affect health.