The Benefits of Spinach
Power-packed with nutrients and a fairly low-calorie count, it’s no wonder that spinach has been one of the superheroes of the greens world for a while now. Its powers come from its high protein, fibre, vitamin and mineral levels. For such a small green, the benefits spinach provides are pretty impressive.
Here are some of the benefits of spinach:
Helps Weight Management:Recently, Swedish researchers identified that the green leafy membrane, thylakoids, contributes to weight loss by curbing food cravings. Thylakoids gradually slow down the digestion process giving intestinal hormones enough time to signal to the brain that the body is full. In a three-month study, 38 overweight women were instructed to run every day. In addition, every morning before breakfast all participants consumed a green drink. Half of the group was given 5g of spinach extract in the drink and the other half of the group was given a placebo drink. After three months, the group that was given the placebo drink lost an average of 3.5 kg while the group given the spinach drink lost 5 kg. Interestingly, the group consuming spinach found that it was easier to stick to three meals a day and they did not experience any food cravings. What can be gathered here is that thylakoid-rich spinach reduces hunger, increases the feeling of fullness, and reduces cravings. Therefore, to enhance your weight loss journey, we recommend adding spinach to your diet. The spinach extract supplement form may work, but we do suggest trying to work in the raw leafy green.
Enhances Antioxidant Intake:Spinach contains a small quantity of an antioxidant called alpha-lipoic acid, which is vital for energy production. Alpha-lipoic acid has been shown to lower glucose levels and turn glucose into energy. Spinach also contains other types of antioxidants known as lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants are known to protect the eyes from cataracts. This suggests that should you need an energy boost or develop a long-term strategy to protect your eyes, add spinach to your diet.
Promotes Regularity:Spinach is high in fiber and water content. One hundred grams of fresh spinach provides about 2.2 g of fiber and about 90% of it is water. A diet high in fiber helps to prevent constipation and promote a healthy digestive tract. The high water content helps your body to flush out toxins that can interfere with digestion. However, it is important to keep in mind that too much of anything is never good for you. In this case, consuming too much spinach can cause digestive problems such as bloating, gas, and cramping.
Provides Vitamins:Spinach is a great source of vitamin A, which is essential for the growth of all bodily tissues, including your skin and hair. It is also rich in vitamin C which is imperative for building and maintaining collagen levels in the body, while also protecting skin and hair cells. Spinach is also packed with iron, which helps the body efficiently use energy. It's also an excellent source of potassium, helping those with high blood pressure to negate the effects of sodium in the body. Another hero quality of spinach is that it is rich in calcium, however, the body has a harder time absorbing calcium from spinach than from dairy products as it’s in a different form.
Improves Sleep Quality:Spinach helps improve sleep quality because of its high magnesium levels. Magnesium helps us sleep better at night by keeping our bodies relaxed and stress-free. Quality sleep is essential in maintaining a healthy body, mind, and lifestyle because it’s when our bodies heal. Therefore, consider adding a spinach salad as your side for dinner a few times a week to get more sleep and help your body recover from the day.
Now that you know the benefits of spinach, it's important to note that consuming it raw has more health benefits than eating it cooked. This is because most of the vitamins and minerals within spinach are heat sensitive. That’s why we usually recommend a spinach salad on the side of your plate rather than sautéed spinach; however, some is always better than none.
Regardless if you’re eating spinach raw or cooked though, we always recommend rinsing it thoroughly with water, and maybe a splash of white vinegar, before consuming it. This will ensure that any pests or toxins are removed from the spinach so you’re putting the purest form of its nutrients in your body.
Here are a few Herbal Magic recipes you can make small changes to so that they provide you with the benefits of spinach:
- Take our Citrus Kale Salad and switch the kale for spinach, while cutting the steaming time in half (because you want those nutrients) – we promise it’ll still taste delicious!
- Add a spinach base to our Classic Waldorf Salad – it may not be “classic” anymore, but it’ll be healthy and tasty.
- Finally, instead of a mixed greens base, just make it a spinach base for our Shrimp & Feta Summer Fresh Salad — we promise this protein-packed salad will be just as good.