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Posts tagged ‘spinach’

10 of the Most Nutritious Vegetables You Can Eat

We have already established that eating healthy is hard. Navigating a Whole Foods is not for the faint of heart. Which fats are bad? Which vegetables are best? Does anyone really know? Maybe, maybe not, but thanks to the Nutrition Action Healthletter, we can at least see how all the famed veggies stack up.

The agency responsible for the newsletter gathered nutritional info made available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database, and it ranked the world’s most popular vegetables, taking into account their calories and Vitamin K, lutein, Vitamin C, Potassium, and fiber content. Some veggies were obvious superstars, racking in scores of over 1,000 points, but others didn’t fare so well, coming in with a score of 54 points, and yes, iceberg lettuce, we’re looking at you.

10. Carrots

Coming up first on our list, sitting at the No. 10 spot is a vegetable that is arguably pretty easy to love: the carrot. One serving of this orange veggie is only 30 calories, and it comes packed with fiber, Vitamin K, and lutein. Lutein is a caretenoid concentrated in the retinas of your eyes, and it’s a necessary component of normal vision. It is suggested that eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables that contain lutein may also decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease, so it appears as though your grandma was actually on to something. There’s a reason she told you eating carrots is good for your eyes.

9. Radicchio (raw)

Radicchio is next! Sounds like the king of the vegetables, yes? And the Nutrition Action Healthletter supports that ranking. Sometimes known as Italian chicory, two cups of this good stuff yields a whopping 20 calories and a score of 467 points on the newsletter’s rank. Radicchio also comes laden with Vitamin K and lutein, along with Vitamin C and potassium. When you’re on the hunt for radicchio in the grocery store, seek out the leaf vegetable with white-veined red leaves. Though it has a bitter and spicy taste as raw, grilling or roasting helps mellow out its flavor. Unfortunately, radicchio is only listed at No. 9 on our list in its raw form, but we won’t blame you if you wade into the radicchio waters roasting the vegetable first.

8. Sweet potato

Coming in at No. 8 is American’s favorite superfood, the sweet potato. The white potato’s healthy counterpart racks up a score of 492 points on the Nutrition Action Healthletter’s list, and it’s all thanks to the ample amount of Vitamin C one small potato with skin provides, along with potassium, fiber, vitamins, and magnesium. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, there’s a reason healthy eaters love to love this naturally sweetened carbohydrate.

7. Mustard greens

But the sweet potato still isn’t healthier than seven other vegetables that reign supreme, and one of them is the mustard greens. One serving of these veggies yields just 10 calories, but its nutritional profile is worth much, much more. Mustard greens are chock full of Vitamin K, lutein, Vitamin C, and fiber. They’ve been noted on lists as the world’s healthiest foods, and just in case you’re ready to give mustard greens a try, look out for the plant that often occurs in some form in African, Italian, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and soul food cuisine.

6. Pumpkin (canned)

Continuing to make our way down the list, we come to another favorite orange veggie, because pumpkin shouldn’t only be purposed as a vehicle for your Halloween jack-o-lanterns. Rather, in its canned form, it racks up 577 points on the list highlighted on the Nutrition Action Healthletter, and there, experts praise its Vitamin K, Vitamin C, potassium, and fiber content. Bake this baby into baked goods and pride yourself on eating one of the top six healthiest veggies.

5. Turnip greens

Back on our greens game, we come to another impressive plant, the turnip greens. Turn up for turnips. One serving of these babies comes to only 20 calories, and for that measly total, you get vitamin K, lutein, vitamin C, and fiber. Sorry, potassium, turnip greens aren’t a vehicle for you. These root vegetables go by a lot of different names, but Americans tend to either roast them, sauté them, mash them (with bacon!), or puree them into a soup. It’s your choice how you consume them, but as their score of 714 points evidences, you should definitely say yes to the turnips.

4. Swiss chard

Swiss chard comes in at the No. 4 spot, boasting an impressive score of 717 points, just slightly higher than the value of turnip greens. This leafy green vegetable is often used in Mediterranean cooking and covers all the nutrient bases, coming packed with Vitamin K, lutein, Vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. It is also rich in minerals and protein. Healthy eaters have been chomping down on this veggie for decades now, but if you’re new to swiss chard land, sauté it or roast the chard leaves first. Cooking mellows out the bitter taste of this vegetable and yields a pleasant, albeit earthy, flavor.

3. Collard greens

And you don’t have to be from the South to enjoy this next highlighted vegetable, although that’s where collard greens enjoy the most fanfare. These plants are known for their large, dark-colored, edible leaves, and they’re easily made into a number of popular dishes, including good old sautéed collard greens with bacon. Loaded with Vitamin K, lutein, Vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, there really is no reason you shouldn’t be at least trying to incorporate collard greens in some of your meal plans, especially considering one serving only yields 20 calories. C’mon now.

2. Spinach (raw)

Getting closer to the distinction of best, vegetable, ever, we come to spinach, a vegetable that many consumers have grown to love — no pun intended. In its raw form, spinach totals 968 points on the scale provided by the Nutrition Action Healthletter, and it’s no surprise, considering the green vegetable is teeming with vitamin A, lutein, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, folate, betaine, iron, vitamin B2, calcium, potassium, vitamin B6, folic acid, copper, protein, phosphorus, zinc, niacin, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids. Hide spinach on your salad, in your eggs, in your smoothies, or even in your desserts, and you’ll be benefiting from its impressive nutritional profile.

1. Kale

And the greatest vegetable of them? King Kale, killing the competition with its score of 1,392 points. It’s hardly a surprise that kale takes the No. 1 distinction, considering it’s the it veggie healthy eaters love to love, but now we fully understand why. This vegetable has been around since the dark ages, but it’s now one of hottest greens that can be found on foodies’ plates, especially if it is massaged. Raw kale previously seemed almost unpalatable due to its bitter taste and unappetizing texture, but now that chefs and foodies have discovered that massaging the vegetable with olive oil and salt can break down its tough cellulose structure, healthy consumers are all about reaping the benefits of the greens packed with Vitamins A, C, and K, B6, and calcium. Case in point? Eat your kale, and like it too.

Leesa recommends always chooseing organic vegetables!

By Emily Cole
Photo credits iStock

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Healthy Highway is a Healthy Lifestyle Company offering Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!   We help people who are…

  • Wanting Work Life Balance.
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Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author of two books…
     Melodies from Within ~ Available Now! 
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7 Superfoods to Help You Feel Like Spring is Here

7 Superfoods to Help You Feel Like Spring is Here

Snow and cold winds have still been blowing on the east  coast. Wintry weather regardless, it feels like it is time to start  working in the garden and to think ahead to a crisp salad.

March was the first month among the ancient Romans and appropriately so, as  it is the time of year when the world seems to be “waking up” after winter. In  honor of a time of new growth and new beginnings, here are seven spring  superfoods that can help you celebrate with a good blast of nutrients on your  plate.

1) Artichokes

I’ve always thought of artichokes as signs of spring. Growing up in northern  California, we’d eat them as the season started. My favorite part was the  artichoke heart, which you only discovered after working your way through the  leaves and past the prickles.

There are real benefits to eating them as artichokes contain some unusual compounds including cynarin, which stimulates  the taste bud receptors; inulin, a prebiotic that promotes the growth of  good-for-the-gut bacteria and antioxidants (more than any other fresh food, says  the USDA), plus fiber, vitamin C and more.

2) Asparagus

For all that you can get asparagus year-round, the green stalks (endowed with vitamins A and K, B vitamins, protein and  folate) are the greenest, tenderest and tastiest now. Asparagus is high in  fiber and can help to cleanse your system (it’s been suggested as a hangover  remedy).

Asparagus is actually from the lily family and has more uses than adding  color and nutrients to your meals. African species of asparagus are grown  as ornamental plants. Asparagus is also cultivated in underground in parts  of France to prevent the development of chlorophyll.

3) Lettuce and Leafy Greens

Another green vegetable that you can get year-round (grown in California) but  that’s best in spring is lettuce. Get yours grown locally and organically  and you’ll know it may not have any pesticides or chemicals, such as  perchlorate, which is found in rocket fuel. In previous years, perchlorate was discovered in the Colorado River, which provides water for California’s  crops.

The dark green varieties of lettuce (such as romaine) as well as other dark  leafy greens, like collard greens and kale, are rich in B vitamins. Arugula is a  sort of “multivitamin” all on its own as it  contains beta-carotene, vitamin C, folate, vitamin K, magnesium, fiber and calcium.

4) Scallions

A mainstay of the simple Cantonese stir-fries I sometimes make , scallions or green  onions are rich in the antioxidant quercetin, which helps to lower  blood pressure and can help allergy sufferers as they act like a histamine.   Scallions also contain vitamins A, C and K, as well as B-complex vitamins.  But take note: if you use them raw as garnish or in a salad, make sure you wash them carefully to remove any dirt — less-than-clean scallions have been linked to outbreaks of hepatitis A.

5) Spinach

This leafy green has been called the “first superfood.” It gives you a full share of vitamin C,  folate, lutein, omega 3 fatty acids and zeaxanthin, a phytochemical that can help age-related  macular degeneration. Even more (no wonder it was the food that gave superhuman  strength to Popeye), spinach contains anti-inflammatory and  anti-cancer agents and can help to strengthen your bones.

Forget about those bricks of frozen spinach in the freezer case. Spring is  the optimum time to eat spinach as, says OrganicGardening.com, warm days and “cold, nearly frosty  nights” draw out its natural sugars best.

6) Rhubarb

Rhubarb is a vegetable that is usually treated as a fruit; it belongs to the  same family as sorrel and buckwheat. Sour, fibrous and containing few calories,  the stems (the only edible part of the plant — the leaves are toxic) must be  cooked to be eaten in pies, jam and chutneys. It is used as a diuretic and laxative and also contains potassium  and vitamin C. One study suggests that chemicals extracted from rhubarb  called polyphenols could point the way to new drug treatments for leukemia and  other cancers.

7) Radishes

Another bright red spring superfood, radishes, can provide you with a good  wallop of your daily vitamin C requirement; you’ll get even more if you eat the  leaves. As radishes have a high water and fiber content, they can add bulk and crunch  to your meals with fewer calories. Even more beneficial is combining radishes with broccoli as their cancer-fighting  compounds are enhanced by myrosinase, an enzyme in radishes.

Wishing you a very nutritious, and colorful, start to the spring!

By Kristina Chew

Photo from Thinkstock

(Leesa recommends choosing Organic Produce!)

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Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life?   Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today!  I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

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9 Brain Superfoods…Are You Enjoying Them Daily?

9 Brain Superfoods

 

Your brain controls every function in your body yet we rarely give it a  second thought.  And, few of us choose foods that protect or heal our  brain.  Here are some of the best foods for thought (literally):

1.  Spinach—More than Just for Popeye

A study of middle-aged rats fed diets with added spinach, strawberry extract,  or vitamin E for nine months found that spinach proved most potent in protecting  nerve cells against the effects of aging in two parts of the brain.  More  research needs to be done but it looks like Popeye was building more than  muscles when he ate spinach.

2.  Benefits of Blue for Grey Matter

Blueberries contain a group of plant nutrients called  proanthocyanidins.  Proanthocyanidins have a unique capacity to protect  both the watery and fatty parts of the brain against damage from some  environmental toxins.  Proanthocyanidins decrease free radical activity  within and between brain cells.  Blueberry proanthocyanidins have greater  antioxidant properties than vitamins C and E.  Blueberries appear to have  some of the highest concentrations of these powerful antioxidants.  In  other studies, researchers found that compounds in blueberries may reverse some  age-related memory loss and motor skill decline.

Blueberries are excellent anti-inflammatory agents. They increase the amounts  of compounds called heat-shock proteins that decrease as people age, thereby  causing inflammation and damage, particularly in the brain. By eating  blueberries regularly, research shows that these heat-shock proteins stop  declining and inflammation lessens, not to mention that they just taste  fabulous.

3.  From the Vine to Your Palate

A plant nutrient found in grapes, grape juice and red wine appears to protect  the brain against Alzheimer’s disease.  It’s called resveratrol, and it is  an antioxidant thought to be responsible for many of the purported benefits of  red wine on brain cells.  The researchers found that resveratrol protected  brain cells by mopping up free radicals before they can cause brain  damage.  And while people may prefer to hear that red wine is the best  source, the alcohol in wine is still damaging to brain cells.  Red or  purple grapes are the best option to load up on resveratrol.

4-7.  Omega 3s to Maintain a Healthy Brain (Wild Salmon,  Walnuts, Flax or Hemp Seeds)

The brain is 60% fat and requires healthy fats to reduce inflammation (linked  to most brain disorders) and maintain a healthy blood-brain barrier—a mechanism  intended to protect the brain from harmful substances.  Omega 3 fatty acids  like those found in salmon, walnuts, flax seeds or flax seed oil, or hemp seeds,  help to quell inflammation and support a strong blood-brain barrier, while  boosting our memory.  Be sure to choose only wild salmon  since high levels of mercury and PCBs have been found in farmed salmon and both  of these substances may have adverse effects on the brain.  Also, be sure  to choose raw walnuts, flax or hemp seeds or the oil made from  them since the fats contained in these nuts and seeds can have damaging effects  on brain health when heated.

8.  The Memory-Boosting Power of Tomatoes

Tomatoes contain a powerful memory-boosting phytonutrient called “lycopene.”  Research shows that those who consume lycopene in their daily  diets had sharper memories than those who didn’t consume high amounts of  lycopene.  Tomatoes aren’t the only source.  Another great source of  lycopene is watermelon.

9.  Tea for Two Hemispheres

Researchers found that people who drank two or more cups of tea each day were  less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease.  Black and green tea  (especially green tea) contains potent antioxidants with twenty times the power  to protect against free radicals than vitamin E.  Green tea also lowers the  risk of blood clots and clumping linked to stroke.

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international  best-selling and 14-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine,  whose works include: 60 Seconds  to Slim, Healing Recipes, The  Vitality Diet, Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, Total Body Detox, The  Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan,  and The Phytozyme Cure.  Check out her natural health resources and  subscribe to her free e-magazine World’s Healthiest News at WorldsHealthiestDiet.com  to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow her on Twitter @mschoffrocook  and Facebook.

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Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life?  Please complete the information at www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html to schedule your consultation.  I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.HealthyHighway.org

consult ~  www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

chews ~ www.Chews4Health.com/Leesa

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Top 10 Spring Superfoods

Top 10 Spring Superfoods

Spring is finally here and along with it starts the cascade of vibrant  superfoods.  Obviously, some take a little longer than others, but here are  my picks for the top 10 spring superfoods.  Enjoy!

Artichokes—A medium-sized artichoke is loaded with fiber (about 10 grams) and vitamin  C. It also contains plentiful amounts of the heart- and muscle-health minerals  magnesium and potassium.  It’s also high on the ORAC list of foods that have  high antioxidant values.  High amounts of antioxidants translate into reduced free radicals linked to aging and disease.

Asparagus—An excellent source of nutrients like vitamin K  which is necessary for bone health and folate, asparagus also contains good  amounts of vitamins C, A, B1, B2, niacin, B6, manganese, potassium, magnesium,  and selenium.  Its high folate content makes it especially good for pregnant women who have higher folate needs than most  people.

Chives—Potent in antibacterial, anti-yeast and  antifungal compounds, chives has many similar properties to its  relatives garlic and onion.  Chives also help boost glutathione levels in the  body.  Glutathione is a powerful detoxifier and anti-cancer compound.

Collards—Research shows that collards are among the best  foods for lowering cholesterol levels due to its superior ability to bind to  bile acids in the intestines.  Collard also shows excellent anti-cancer  properties thanks to its naturally-occurring components, including:  glucoraphanin, sinigrin, gluconasturtiian, and glucotropaeolin.

Kale—Proven to lower the risk of bladder,  breast, colon, ovary, and prostate cancer, kale is among the best superfoods  available.  Great for building healthy bones largely due to its high calcium  content, kale also improves the body’s detoxification systems by increasing  isothiocyanates (ITCs) made from the vegetable’s glucosinolates.  Researchers  have identified over 45 phytonutrients in kale, including  kaempferol and quercetin, giving it impressive antioxidant and  anti-inflammatory properties.

Rhubarb—High in fiber, vitamins C and K, rhubarb stalks (not  the leaves which are poisonous), rhubarb is an excellent spring food but most  people don’t know what to do with it.  Sorry, dumping cups of sugar into it for  jams and pies wrecks any superfood qualities this food might otherwise have.  I  enjoy it stewed or added to chutneys.

Spinach—Not just for Popeye anymore, spinach is high in  iron, calcium, beta carotene (which turns into vitamin A in your body), and  vitamin K, which is important for bone and blood health.  The chlorophyll gives  spinach their green color and is a powerful blood cleanser.  High in neoxanthin,  which is proven to aid prostate health, spinach also contains the phytonutrients  lutein and zeaxanthin which strengthen the eyes and help prevent macular  degeneration and cataracts.

Spring greens—Spring greens contain high amounts of calcium  and magnesium needed for strong bones, muscles, and a relaxed nervous system.   Like spinach, they also contain the blood cleansing  phytonutrient chlorophyll.

Strawberries—Just eight strawberries pack more vitamin C  than one orange.  Whether you want to evade heart disease, arthritis,  memory loss, or cancer, these berries have proven their ability to  help.

Watercress—If ever there was a vegetable made for smokers,  watercress is it.  In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical  Nutrition, researchers found that eating raw watercress daily increased the  ability of cells to resist free radical damage to DNA, which reduces the  risk of cell changes linked to cancer.  Their research showed that this protective benefit was pronounced in smokers.  But, anyone can  benefit from this spring nutritional powerhouse.  It is also high in beta  carotene (essential for skin and eye health), B-complex vitamins (important for  nerves, energy, and mood balance), and vitamin E (critical for skin and immune  system health).

By Michelle Schoffro Cook

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international best-selling and twelve-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine, whose works include: Healing Recipes, The Vitality Diet, Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, Total Body Detox, The Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, and The Phytozyme Cure. Check out her natural health resources and subscribe to her free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News at WorldsHealthiestDiet.com.

 

8 Benefits of Spinach: The First Superfood

8 Benefits of Spinach: The First Superfood

Spinach was a powerfood even before there was the term powerfood.

We’re referring of course to Popeye the Sailor Man. “TOOT TOOT!” One can of the green stuff and he turned into muscle popping tornado of energy.

Even without Popeye’s recommendation, spinach contains more nutrients per calorie than any other food on the earth.

8 Benefits of Spinach:

1. Loaded with Vitamins: like A, K, D, and E and a host of trace minerals.

2. Good Source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids: the kind most of us need in North America.

3. Anti-Cancer and Anti-Inflammatory Antioxidants: Researchers have identified more than a dozen different flavonoid compounds in spinach that function as anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer agents. In a recent study on the relationship between risk of prostate cancer and vegetable intake (including such healthy vegetables as broccoli, cabbage, and brussel sprouts) only spinach showed evidence of significant protection against the occurrence of aggressive prostate cancer.

4. Alkalizes the Body: All those minerals helps to balance off the highly acid diet which most of us subject our bodies to and which drains our energy, increases obesity and a creates host of other health problems.

5. Nourishes the Eyes: The carotenoids found in spinach protect against eye diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration.

6. Strengthens the Bones: One cup of fresh spinach (or 1/6 cup of cooked spinach) contains TWICE your daily vitamin K needs. This along with the calcium and magnesium in spinach is essential to maintain healthy bones.

7. Perfect for Green Smoothies and Salads: Organic pre-washed spinach is now readily available in most grocery stores. If you haven’t yet tried a green smoothie yet and think they might taste yucky then try one with the main ingredient as spinach. Spinach is so sweet, we guarantee you will be impressed. To see Diana make her own special brand of green smoothie click here: Diana’s Green Smoothie

8. Spinach is FRESH! Studies have shown that even the artificial light in the grocery store shining on those plastic tubs of spinach can actually help keep the leaves from spoiling. This indicates the spinach is still metabolically active and fresh.

Tips and Cautions:

Tip #1: Make sure you only choose organic spinach. Non-organic spinach is on the list of top foods with lots of chemical pesticides. You can assume that canned spinach is NOT organic. I can’t imagine anyone eating canned spinach anyway but since we mentioned Popeye I thought I had better mentions that. (Leesa agrees!)

Tip #2: Choose the GREENEST looking spinach you can find. Probably you would have anyway, but studies have shown that the greenest spinach has the most vitamin C.

Tip #3: Because spinach contains high levels of so many nutrients it also has significant levels of oxalic acid. This has been associated with kidney problems and interference with absorption of other minerals.

There is much debate whether the oxalates in spinach would have this kind of effect but just to be sure, if you have a pre-existing kidney problem, it’s better to consult your doctor before eating too much.

At Real Food For Life, we recommend that a person balance their body enough so that they can use their own bodies as a gauge on how much or little to eat of a particular food.

For example, I usually crave spinach but sometimes I just don’t want it in my body. I suspect that perhaps I have reached my limit for something, (like the oxalates) within the food.

This personalized approach to your nutrition is the easiest and ultimately the most powerful approach to nutritional choices. We explain this more in our “Three Secrets” report.

Recipes with Spinach:
Power Spinach Salad: You just HAVE TO know how to make a good spinach salad. This one is great.
Miso Soup with Spinach and Mushrooms: This is fast, tasty, and contains at least three powerfoods.
Diana’s Green Smoothie With a Difference: Watch video to learn how to make a green smoothie.

This article was co-authored with Randy Fritz

Related:
Eat Your Spinach
Go Gorgeous Greens
Brown Rice vs. White Rice

by Diana Herrington

Diana Herrington, now living in Northern Canada, turned a debilitating health crisis into a passion for helping others with healthy, sugar free, gluten free, eating and cooking. After testing and researching every possible healthy therapy on her delicate system she has developed simple powerful principles which she shares in her recent book Eating Green, Clean and Lean, and as host to Care2 groups: Healthy Living Network and Healthy Cooking. Check out her blog Real Food for Life or follow her on Twitter: http://twitter.com/DancinginLife.
 

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