We've been fed with Popeye fables of the goodness of spinach. But if you've never been a fan, this latest revelation will make you one.One of the most valuable sources of iron, spinach is known for its nutrient richness. These lovely greens are loaded with Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, manganese and folate. A new study conducted at the Lund University in Sweden suggests that spinach extract may also help in fighting off your weight woes. The researchers explained that spinach extract contains green leaf membranes which can dramatically decrease cravings for unhealthy foods and help you lose weight. According to experts, spinach extracts can tame the hedonic hunger. In simpler words, hedonic hunger is nothing but those unhealthy and untimely cravings that hit most of us and are also the leading cause of weight gain and obesity.The important thing is to develop a feeling of satiety and suppress the hedonic hunger instead of focusing on the homeostatic hunger that only deals with our basic energy needs. Modern processed food is broken down and digested so quickly that the hormones in the intestines which send satiety signals to the brain to suppress cravings cannot seem to keep up. This is where spinach extracts can play an important role. The green leaf membranes slow down the digestion process and allow the intestinal hormones to function smoothly and communicate the correct signals to the brain.During the study, experts carried out experiments on 38 overweight women. 14 women were given 5 grams of spinach extract and the others were given a placebo, all for a period of three months. The participants did not know which group they belonged to - the only instruction they received was to eat a balanced diet including three meals a day and not to follow any other diet. Every morning the participants were given a green drink just before their breakfast.At the end of the term, it was found that that the intake of green leaf membranes, called thylakoids reinforced the body's production of satiety hormones and suppressed hedonic hunger, which lead to better appetite control, healthier eating habits and increased weight loss. The study concluded that spinach extracts decrease hedonic hunger by 95 per cent and increase chances of losing weight by 43 per cent.Charlotte Erlanson-Albertsson, Professor of Medicine and Physiological Chemistry at Lund University said, "Our analyses show that having a drink containing thylakoids before breakfast reduces cravings and keeps you feeling more satisfied all day.""In the study, the control group lost an average of 3.5 kg while the group that was given thylakoids lost 5 kg. The thylakoid group also found that it was easier to stick to three meals a day - and they did not experience any cravings," he added.Inputs from PTI
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