The Super-Hero: Spinach
Power packed with nutrients with a fairly low calorie count, it’s no wonder that spinach has been one of the super heroes in the green world. Although it may be lacking in magical powers, you will be surprised to know how this leafy green can contribute towards your weight loss success and overall health. Most of its calories are contributed from proteins and is loaded with powerful antioxidants. When preparing spinach, consuming it raw has more health benefits compared to it being cooked. However, it is always recommended to rinse thoroughly with water before consuming.
The “Super Powers” of Spinach:
- Weight management: Just last year, Swedish researchers have found that the green leafy membranes, thylakoids, contributes to your weight loss by curbing food cravings. Thylakoids gradually slows down the digestion process giving intestinal hormones enough time to signal to the brain that the body is full. In a three month study, a total of 38 overweight women enrolled and 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 feeling of fullness and reduces cravings.
- Antioxidant: Spinach also contains a small quantity of an antioxidant called alpha-lipoic acid, which is vital for energy production. Alpha-lipoic acid has also been shown to lower glucose levels and help 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.
- 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.
- Natural source of vitamins: Spinach is a great source of vitamin A, which is essential for growth of all bodily tissues, including your skin and hair. It is also rich in vitamin C which is imperative for the building and maintenance of collagen, and provides structure for the skin and hair. Iron-deficiency is a common cause of hair loss, which can be prevented by an adequate intake of iron-rich foods, like spinach. Lack of iron in your diet can affect how efficiently your body uses energy. Spinach is also an excellent source of potassium. Because of its high potassium content, spinach is recommended to 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. The only downside is that our body has a harder time absorbing calcium from spinach less than calcium from dairy products.
- Improves quality of sleep: Lucky for us, this delicious leafy green contains high amounts of magnesium. This enables us to sleep better at night by keeping our body relaxed and stress free. With better sleep, it paves way for more effective healing while we are getting some shut eye.