Healthy GreensPosted: Aug 09 in Healthy Eating Menu by
Maybe the creators of Popeye were trying to tell us something. The lovable sailor would down his spinach and grow a few extra muscles on the spot, while his beloved Olive Oyl was thin as a whistle. Here in the real world the effects of a healthy diet don’t set in so quickly, but there is still something to be said about eating spinach to lose weight in Fayetteville and Syracuse.
Spinach is one of the healthier side dishes that you can find, with twice as much fiber as other leafy greens. This means that a salad chocked full of spinach is going to keep you full for longer than many other leaf varieties.
In addition to fiber, spinach is loaded with iron, vitamin A and potassium. The leaf is also a rich source of beta-carotene, which is a particularly powerful antioxidant that can improve your eyesight and prevent heart disease.
Spinach makes a tasty dish on its own when cooked with olive oil and garlic, though if you toss it on a sandwich or in a salad and consume the leaves raw you will benefit from a nice kick of vitamin C to boot.
Spinach: A Healthy Choice for Strength and Weight Loss
With all of these nutritious benefits, you may finally begin to understand how the leafy green came to have such a powerful reputation. It’s not just Popeye’s muscles that will grow from indulging in this healthy vegetable. While the high iron content took most of the praise for spinach’s muscle making capabilities for a long time, researchers are now starting to point to the inorganic nitrate in spinach as well.
One team of researchers were interested in seeing how spinach could affect the strength of exercising volunteers, and particularly pinpointed nitrate as the key ingredient by providing participants with a small dose while they were engaging in activity. While magical muscles didn’t pop out of their forearms (which is for the best—that would have been strange), participants were able to exert energy with less need for oxygen.
With less oxygen, the participants’ performance should have decreased dramatically. However, the nitrate boosted cell metabolism, giving the participants less need for the oxygen as they powered through their activity.
This isn’t saying you won’t need air if you eat your spinach, and having nitrates in your system isn’t going to stop your body from inhaling oxygen. However, this research does imply that nitrates might actually improve your strength. Another research study that focused on mice instead of human participants found that the equivalent of 200 to 300 grams of fresh spinach significantly improved the strength of the rodent’s muscles.
If you are looking to mix up your dinner plate with a few new flavors, then spinach might be worth a try. With its low calorie content and high nutritional value, the leafy green can be a healthy component of any weight loss plan, especially as you transition off your medical weight loss diet.
While more research is needed to confirm the effects of spinach on muscle mass, it may be worth the while to add a little spinach to your salad a few nights a week.