Spinaches, produced in our backyard is helpful in controlling high blood pressure and the associated weight problem, says a new study. A compound found in spinaches can slow down fat digestion, leading to reduced hunger and food craving especially in men.
“A concentrated extract of thylakoids encourages the release of satiety hormones, which is very beneficial in controlling hunger. The reduction in hunger and the desire for salty foods that we saw might make thylakoids particularly useful for people with high blood pressure and associated weight problems,” said study co-author Frank. L. Greenway from the Pennington Biomedical Research Centre in Louisiana.
Gender specific food craving!
The researchers examined the effect of consuming a single dose of concentrated extract of thylakoids from spinach on satiety, food intake, lipids and glucose compared to a placebo. Sixty people (30 men and 30 women) classified as overweight or obese, consumed either the spinach extract or a placebo in random order at least a week apart. The results showed that the spinach extract containing thylakoids increased satiety over a two hour period compared to a placebo.
There were no differences in plasma lipids and energy intake at dinner but men showed a trend towards decreased energy intake. “Thylakoids consumption may influence gender specific food craving,” the authors said.
A previous study had found that, in women, a reduced urge for sweets was significant after a single dose of the spinach extract and the reduced urge for sweets was sustained throughout the study. The article was published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.
Spinach is super food loaded with nutrients
Spinach is a super food loaded with tons of nutrients in a low calorie package. Dark leafy greens like spinach are important for skin and hair, bone health and provide protein, iron, vitamins and minerals.
Following are some surprising facts about this leafy green:
- It’s wiser to choose tender baby spinach leaves. The larger the leaves, the more mature they are and more likely to be tough or sticky. Also, spinach leaves that are placed under direct light in the stores have been found to contain more nutrients than those stored in darkness.
- Cooking spinach actually increases its health benefits. It may sound surprise but it is true. Just half a cup of cooked spinach will give you thrice of nutrition as one cup of raw spinach. That’s because the body cannot completely break down the nutrients in raw spinach for its use.
- As an exception to the advice above, research studies show that taking spinach in juice form is actually the healthiest way to consume it. Blend spinach with other vegetables or fruits to create a delicious glass of juice, or try a green smoothie.
- There’s a compound in spinach called oxalic acid, which blocks the absorption of calcium and iron. An easy way to solve this problem is to pair spinach with a food high in vitamin C. Mandarin oranges and cantaloupes spring to mind here. Another way to reduce the power of oxalic acid is to boil the spinach leaves for at least two minutes.
- Freezing spinach diminishes its health benefits. The way to get the best from the leaf is to buy it fresh and eat it the same day.
- Do place spinach on your ‘organic shopping’ list, because the leaf tends to be sprayed heavily with pesticides that don’t come off with normal washing.
- Everyone talks about the benefits of spinach in nourishing the eyes and building bones. What few know is that it’s also very good for digestion. Spinach eases constipation and protects the mucus lining of the stomach, so that you stay free of ulcers. It also flushes out toxins from the colon.
- Another lesser known benefit of spinach is its role in skin care. The bounty of vitamins and minerals in spinach can bring you quick relief from dry, itchy skin and lavish you with a radiant complexion. Regular consumption of fresh, organic spinach juice has been shown to improve skin health dramatically.