Whether trying to get rid of a few extra pounds or implement a lifestyle change, the weight loss process usually includes making different dietary choices. There are many approaches to healthily losing weight, and some choose to eat more leafy greens, like spinach.
So, is spinach good for weight loss? Like any other powerhouse food, spinach can be beneficial when trying to shed some weight, but it doesn’t have a miraculous effect.
Still, by including spinach in your already modified diet, you might experience some great results. Here’s everything you need to know about eating spinach to lose weight.
- The Nutritional Richness of Spinach
- Spinach and Weight Loss
- Can You Eat Spinach for Weight Loss Every Day?
- How to Eat Spinach for Weight Loss
- Eating Spinach to Achieve Your Goal Weight
The Nutritional Richness of Spinach
Most people know that eating your greens is good for you, but when it comes to spinach, that’s even more true. Spinach is a super vegetable and a complete heavyweight in the nutrients it contains.
Furthermore, it’s only seven calories per cup, which makes it one of the least caloric foods. This fact alone answers the “Is spinach good for weight loss” question, especially if you eat it as a side dish instead of rice or potatoes.
However, before we explore how spinach can help you lose weight, we should highlight its nutritional profile. Here are the main nutrients in spinach and their health benefits.
Spinach is probably best-known for having high iron content. This mineral is essential in helping the body produce oxygen-carrying red blood cells and preventing anemia.
Consuming enough iron prevents chronic fatigue, which many people experience. It’s also vital to point out that while spinach is rich in iron, the human body can’t absorb it easily through food, so it’s best to pair it with vitamin C for better absorption.
Vitamin B2 and B6
Spinach also contains riboflavin, or vitamin B2, essential for proper cell function. In addition, it helps the body break down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, while vitamin B6 helps maintain skin health and boosts the circulatory system.
This essential mineral helps regulate nerve function, sugar levels, and blood pressure and strengthens bones. But magnesium is also efficient in repairing DNA and aiding the fight against depression.
Another essential mineral found in spinach is calcium. Many people struggle with ingesting enough calcium, which helps promote bone health, build stronger muscles and allow nerves to function correctly. Including spinach into your diet for weight loss is especially important if you’re trying to avoid dairy products or don’t eat fish.
While carotenoids, chemical pigments produced in plants, are primarily associated with carrots, peppers, tomatoes, and oranges, you can also find them in spinach.
They aid in helping maintain better eyesight and are rich in antioxidants. Remember that they are more easily absorbed when cooked with a bit of fat.
Spinach and Weight Loss
There’s no doubt that spinach is healthy, but is spinach good for weight loss? It certainly can be and in several different ways. So let’s take a closer look at how spinach affects losing weight.
Helps You Stay Satiated
What is one of the most challenging aspects of losing weight? Staying satiated becomes problematic whenever we change dietary routines and lower calorie intake.
That’s especially the case with hedonic hunger, or cravings, which is more about eating for pleasure than because you’re hungry. But according to a 2014 study from Lund University in Sweden, the thylakoids, or spinach membrane vesicles, help decrease food cravings.
Research from 2019 confirmed these findings and showed that eating spinach before breakfast can impact satiety levels throughout the day.
The group participating in this study reported that their cravings for sugary and high-fat foods were significantly reduced, precisely what those wishing to lose weight typically avoid.
High-Fiber Content for Gut Health
One of the ways weight loss is difficult for some people is due to poor digestion. Many people struggle with bloating and generally don’t have good enough gut health to help them absorb and digest food efficiently.
But because spinach is incredibly fibrous, it promotes better digestion. Furthermore, eating food rich in fiber, like spinach, is linked to losing belly fat, which can be pretty damaging for cardiovascular health.
Those struggling with constipation, which can also deter weight loss, might find eating spinach helps them become more regular.
Helps Manage Insulin Resistance
Insulin resistance occurs when the cells in the body don’t respond to insulin as they should and don’t absorb glucose from the blood.
When that happens, the pancreas produces more insulin, and as this continues, the blood sugar levels increase too. Insulin resistance is considered a pre-diabetic condition and can be treated with medicine and a modified diet.
Those trying to avoid this condition or who need help managing it could benefit from incorporating spinach into their meals. Spinach contains Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), essential for carbohydrate breakdown and energy production. Because insulin resistance inhibits weight loss, consuming foods that help fight against it can be immensely beneficial.
Alpha-lipoic acid can increase insulin sensitivity and better manage glucose levels. Furthermore, foods rich in Alpha-lipoic acid, like spinach, can help decrease symptoms of peripheral neuropathy or nerve damage, a frequent symptom among people with diabetes.
Non-Organic vs. Organic Spinach
If you plan to eat spinach for weight loss, it’s crucial to discuss several more important characteristics. First, you can choose between baby spinach and the leafy vegetable with more mature leaves. Baby spinach is the go-to option for salads and is more commonly consumed raw.
On the other hand, mature leaves are more frequently cooked and served as a side dish. Another relevant feature is whether to buy organic or non-organic spinach.
This is particularly interesting regarding spinach because this plant belongs to the so-called “dirty dozen,” a 12-item list of fruits and vegetables that require exceptionally high levels of pesticides to be mass-produced.
That’s why some only buy organic spinach, grown entirely pesticide-free. However, organic foods tend to be more expensive, so they will not fit into everyone’s budget.
Can You Eat Spinach for Weight Loss Every Day?
Not only is spinach good for weight loss, but you should also eat it as frequently as possible for its numerous health benefits.
Naturally, it’s possible to consume too much of anything, so eating spinach in excessive amounts can lead to abdominal pain, diarrhea, and other forms of discomfort.
However, eating a couple of servings of spinach every day is perfectly fine.
How to Eat Spinach for Weight Loss
If you haven’t included spinach in your diet as much before, you might not be sure where to start now, when it’s time to lose some pounds. But, of course, how one chooses to eat the tasty vegetable depends on personal preference.
For example, blending spinach leaves into a smoothie with other superfoods like kiwi, flaxseeds, blueberries, and some oat milk can be a fantastic option, especially if you’re trying to manage cravings.
Another excellent solution is to make a fresh baby spinach salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, feta cheese cubes, and any other fresh ingredient you like.
Baby spinach, in general, works with most salads, and throwing a handful of leaves in any salad you eat can be a pretty good strategy.
Some will use cooked spinach as a replacement for calorie-rich foods like rice. You can also sauté spinach, blend it, mix with a bit of oil, and use it as a spread on toast.
Eating Spinach to Achieve Your Goal Weight
Let’s face it – losing weight is hard. Many people struggling to drop some pounds have tried doing so before without great results. A balanced diet and moderate exercise are the two most essential elements of successful weight loss.
However, some foods are more helpful than others, that’s for sure, and spinach is one of them. So, is spinach good for weight loss? It undeniably is, especially if you swap it for other foods and eat it in the mornings.
But it’s not an almighty solution, and it’s unlikely to yield noticeable results if you don’t change your diet substantially. Still, if you like the taste of spinach and have great ideas for eating it, it can be a fantastic ally in your weight loss efforts.