Whilst Popeye’s belief that eating spinach leads to instant gains in muscle mass is unfortunately not true, this green leafy vegetable does provide a number of more subtle health benefits. A recent study by researchers at Lund University in Sweden has shown that the daily intake of spinach extract (in a lovely green drink) helps to curb food cravings and improves weight loss!
In this study, thirty-eight overweight women were asked to avoid snacking between meals and to increase their levels of physical activity for 12 weeks. During this time the women consumed a drink containing 5 grams of spinach extract or a placebo every morning before breakfast.
Over the 12 weeks the women on the placebo lost an average of 3.5 kg of body weight whereas the women on the spinach extract lost an average of 5 kg! Consuming spinach extract was also found to decrease the urge to snack on chocolate and sweets, and increased blood levels of GLP-1 (a hormone that suppresses feelings of hunger)
Spinach is a great source of vitamins and minerals including iron, calcium, vitamins A, C and K, magnesium and folate. Spinach also contains compounds called glucosinolates that are thought to provide important cardiovascular health benefits. The intake of spinach extract, which can be purchased from many food stores, may also facilitate weight loss by suppressing hunger and subsequently reducing food intake. Therefore, aim to incorporate spinach and other leafy vegetables into your diet and consider adding a scoop of spinach extract into your morning protein shake if weight loss is your goal!