We all know that eating our leafy greens are meant to be good for us. The superfood spinach has been getting pretty popular recently, packed with antioxidants and a variety of vitamins and minerals. One cup (100g) of spinach provides double the daily dose of Vitamin K required for bone health and provides 2.7 mg of iron (15% of your recommended daily allowance) essential for optimal energy and brain function. However, is it now possible that spinach extract has another benefit as a new miracle weight loss pill?
A study of over 30 women found that supplementing spinach resulted in an additional weight loss of 1.5 kg than those who did not use the spinach supplement.
What you need to know: Spinach may increase weight loss over a period of time in conjunction with an increase in physical activity. It is also packed full of so many other nutritious nutrients that it can only increase your feeling of well-being, so really it’s a win win!!
How to use: Spinach is in season now and is so versatile, throw it into salads or hot dishes such as soups & curries just before serving to give dishes an extra nutrient boost. Start the day on a high by throwing a handful of spinach into your smoothie in the morning, as per my favourite green triple recipe.
The Science Part: Thirty-eight overweight women between the ages of 40-65 years participated in a study during which they were asked to supplement with either a placebo or 5 g of spinach extract every morning before breakfast for 12 weeks. They were also instructed to eat only 3 meals daily and increase their physical activity. The results of the study found that over the 12 week period the group that supplemented with the spinach extract lost 5 kg of body weight compared to those in the placebo group that lost 3.5 kg. However, there was no significant difference across groups. Supplementing with spinach was also found to decrease the urge to snack on sugary treats and increased a hormone called, GLP-1, which suppresses the feeling of hunger.
The mechanism by which spinach is thought to contribute to weight loss is through various compounds found in the green membrane of the plant. These compound are not unique to spinach and are found in all leafy green vegetables and are thought to delay fat digestion which increases GLP-1 and reduces a hormone known as grelin, which increases hunger.