Spinach helped Popeye become strong, but did you know it can help you lose weight? When we consider which foods to incorporate into our diets to lose weight faster, we somehow often overlook spinach, but according to some researchers, spinach has great potential for aiding in healthy weight loss. This article will discuss the role of spinach for weight loss.
Spinach & Weight Loss – Scientific Approach
The effect of spinach on weight loss was recently the subject of a study conducted at Lund University in Sweden. The author of the study was Charlotte Erlanson-Albertsson, professor of Medicine and Psychology Chemistry.
The study included 38 overweight women and it lasted for 3 months. Every morning before their breakfast, participants had to take a green drink. One group received the drink that contained 5 grams of thylakoids (green leaf membranes found in spinach) and the second group of participants received a placebo. Participants didn’t know which group they belonged to, and the only instructions they received were to eat a healthy and balanced diet comprised of three meals a day. They were strictly advised not to go on any other diet.
Findings of the study were published on Lund University’s official website and in the journal Appetite. Results showed that the group who drank the placebo lost on average about 3.5 kg, while the group that received thylakoids lost 5kg on average. Furthermore, participants from the thylakoid group reported that they found it easier to stick to the three meals a day plan without experiencing any cravings.
How Can Spinach Help Us Lose Weight?
First, we have to take a look back to the most common cause of excess weight and obesity – cravings. Most people experience hedonic hunger, which is another term for cravings. They usually crave unhealthy foods such as fast foods, sweets, etc. Most people are unable to resist the temptation which leads to unhealthy eating habits and obesity.
The key is the feeling of suppression and satiety of cravings of hedonic hunger versus homeostatic hunger which is, actually, a true hunger that deals with the basic energy needs of every person. Fast foods, sweets, and other processed foods are broken down quickly, and the hormones that transmit satiety signals to our brain and suppress cravings aren’t able to keep up with these foods. However, according to professor Erlanson-Albertsson and the team of scientists who worked on the study mentioned above, the extract from spinach slows down the digestion process, which gives instestinal hormones enough time to be released and signal to the brain that we are full. Thylakoids extend digestion, produce feeling of satiety, and prevent cravings. They act as appetite suppressors. This means that we are able to follow our diet without experiencing cravings for snacks and other unnecessary and unhealthy foods. Scientists from Lund University also revealed that thylakoids reduce hedonic hunger by 95% and increase weight loss by 43%.
Various Ways To Use Spinach For Weight Loss
Since the beneficial effect of spinach in reducing body weight is scientifically proven, and spinach boasts a broad range of nutritional benefits to boot, you should definitely include it into your weight loss plan. Below you can find a few tips and tricks for different ways to incorporate spinach into your diet:
- Smoothie – make a smoothie with spinach to get all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients it contains early in the morning. Many people aren’t thrilled about the idea of a spinach smoothie or weight loss shakes, but once you blend it in with other ingredients you won’t even notice it. You can also add some berries into the mix as well.
- Spinach frittata – you can prepare this meal on Sunday to eat it on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday for lunch. Famous TV personality Jamie Oliver recommends making frittata with spinach, feta cheese, and red onion, but of course there are innumerable variations on this easy and nourishing dish.
- Instead of a sandwich, opt for a spinach-based salad for lunch.
- Have a side of spinach with dinner; you can sauté it with pine nuts or garlic or even make a spinach curry.
- Make a spinach dip with low-fat cream cheese, a pinch of salt, and artichokes, and eat it with celery or carrot sticks.
Spinach Fun Facts
- Just half a cup of raw spinach counts as 1 of the 5 servings of fruits and vegetables you should eat throughout the day.
- The word spinach is derived from the Persian word ispanai, which means green hand. In Latin, it became spanachia which, eventually, evolved into the word we use today.
- Spinach is associated with Popeye and the popularity of the beloved cartoon character increased domestic spinach consumption by 33%. The spinach-growing city Crystal City, Texas, even erected a statue of Popeye in 1937.
- During the Medieval period, artists extracted green pigment from spinach to use it as paint for their art work.
- Spinach is also known as the first superfood.
Spinach belongs to the superfood group and has numerous health benefits in addition to being able to help you lose weight. Include spinach into your diet to curb your appetite and supply your body with the components it needs for optimal health.
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