As if we needed another reason to believe that food is good medicine, it turns out spinach extract has lots of powerful effects on blood sugar, satiety, and cravings. You’re probably wondering when we’re going to see a similar study about chocolate or wine. Just remember, drinks and desert do not make a meal. Add some spinach and at the very least, you’ll be on the right track .
Spinach Leaf Extract Found to Suppress Appetite, Increase Meal Satisfaction
Study Published in Journal of the American College of Nutrition
August 5, 2015, CLEARWATER, FL––The nutritional value of spinach is well documented. The vegetable is rich in crucial vitamins A, C, E, and this versatile food that can be sauteed, used as the foundation for a salad, or be an essential ingredient in a festive party dip.
A key element of spinach is thylakoids, a photosynthetic membrane of chloroplasts. In a new study (http://bit.ly/1Da1ONr), a team of medical and nutritional researchers measured subjective satiety (the feeling of being full after eating) ratings and food intake after a single dose of thylakoids from a patented spinach leaf extract, and measured them against participants who consumed a placebo.
They found that a single supplement of five grams of the extract increased satiety measured subjectively over two hours. Adding the extract to the diet may influence food cravings by acting on the brain’s reward system thereby offering a unique way to address the issue of weight gain in a manner that is convenient for the public.
The study, “Acute Effects of a Spinach Extract Rich in Thylakoids on Satiety: A Randomized Controlled Crossover Trial,” is published online in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.
Sixty overweight volunteers (30 male and 30 female) were enrolled in a double-blind randomized crossover study who consumed the spinach extract or placebo in random order for at least a week apart. The spinach extract was mixed with standard beverages but not with the placebo.
Hunger, fullness, desire to eat, satisfaction, thirst and an appetite for sweet, salty and savory foods were assessed. Blood was drawn to assess baseline fats and sugars before a standard breakfast meal, which was followed four hours later by a five gram dose of the spinach extract and a standard lunch. Other measurements were taken to assess appetite satisfaction before lunch and at regular intervals until a dinner was served four hours later.
The researchers found that when compared to a placebo, a single dose of five grams of thylakoids increased appetite satisfaction measured subjectively over two hours. That satisfaction was accompanied by a greater increase in the after-dinner blood sugar response.
The spinach extract contained concentrated thylakoids extracted from spinach leaves. By interacting with fats and retarding fat digestion, thylakoids membranes are believed to promote the release of satiety hormones and reduce the hunger-stimulating hormone ghrelin. This may lead to a release of a mechanism for increasing appetite suppression.
The study also suggests that thylakoids supplementation may influence food cravings by acting on the reward system of the brain. “As obesity remains a critical impediment to good health for millions of Americans, these findings might offer one solution to over-eating, a critical cause of unwanted weight gain,” according to the authors. “Reducing the desire for salt may be particularly helpful for those with high blood pressure,” they add.
The research team was composed of Candida J. Rebello, Robbie Beyl and Frank L. Greenway, all of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, School of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Louisiana State University System, Baton Rouge, La.; Jessica Chu, Louisiana State University School of Medicine, New Orleans, La.; Dan Edwall, Greenleaf Medical AB, Stockholm, Sweden; and Charlotte Erlanson-Albertsson, Department of Experimental Medical Science, Appetite Regulation Unit, Faculty of Medicine, Lund University, Lund, Sweden.
The study was funded in part by a grant from Greenleaf Medical AB, Stockholm, Sweden.
About the Journal of the American College of Nutrition
The Journal of the American College of Nutrition (JACN) publishes original and innovative research articles, commentaries, and other data about nutrition which is useful for researchers, physicians, and other health care professionals. The journal is published six times per year and is the flagship publication of the American College of Nutrition.
– See more at: http://www.americancollegeofnutrition.org/content/spinach-leaf-extract-found-suppress-appetite-increase-meal-satisfaction#sthash.xcoU0DWc.dpuf
Roasted red peppers, mini crab cakes and Brazil nuts can all help to increase fertility. They will all feature in a special Fertility Buffet, laid on by Dr Margaret Rayman, Director of the MSc Course in Nutritional Medicine at the University of Surrey, on 3 July 2003.
A good, balanced diet rich in fruit and vegetables (at least five portions a day) and protein sources such as meat, poultry and fish, is necessary to optimise fertility.
Meat is a good source of animal protein and important minerals such as iron and zinc, the latter being especially important for fertility. “Oysters are by far the best source of zinc, but they are not included in this meal, as they are out of season,” Dr Rayman explained. “Fatty fish is a very good source of n-3 fatty acids, which are important in the development of the fetus’ brain and vision.”
To give yourself the best chance of conceiving, alcohol and smoking should be avoided. This applies to both men and women, as there is evidence that sperm damage through smoking can predispose to cancer in the offspring.
All the dishes on the buffet were carefully selected by Vicky Chudleigh, State Registered Dietician from Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge.
“The sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seed bread contains vitamin E, which is claimed to be an aphrodisiac because of its effects on boosting circulation. It is also an antioxidant and needed for fertility,” Vicky explained.
“Brazil nuts and mini crab cakes are both excellent sources of selenium and required for sperm motility. Without adequate selenium, sperm tails kink and break off. Selenium also minimises the risk of miscarriages.”
Roasted red peppers, tomatoes, pesto (containing basil) and of course, chocolate mousse, were all selected for their reputed aphrodisiac qualities.
Spinach, together with other dark green leafy vegetables, provide the folate required to reduce the risk of neural tube defect in the developing baby. The cheese platter not only contains calcium and zinc, but also vitamin A, which aids the production of sex hormones. They are all needed for healthy reproduction and libido.
The fertility buffet will not only be a gastronomic experience, but also forms part of the module, Pregnancy, Infancy & Childbirth in the Nutritional Medicine course, aimed at doctors. But there will be no retiring to the drawing room after dinner, as the doctors on the course will need to complete an assignment on dietary advice to give to their patients.
Retinitis pigmentosa is one of several eye conditions that appears to benefit from nutritional substances. In a study published Monday, researchers found that people with the condition experienced a slowing of the disease process if they took vitamin A supplements and ate a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Retinitis pigmentosa causes night blindness by adolescence and eventually tunnel vision and total blindness by about age 60. Vitamin A has been a standard therapy for the condition since 1993 when studies showed it slowed disease progression.
But adding omega-3s to the mix may be even better. Researchers at Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary looked at data from studies on visual acuity involving 357 patients.
The analysis showed those who had a diet high in omega-3s — which are found in oily fish — had a slower annual rate of decline in acuity. Someone adopting this dietary recommendation by age 35 could have 18 years of additional vision, with most people retaining their visual acuity and central vision field for most of their lives, the authors said.
The study is published online in the Archives of Ophthalmology.
In a 12 month study of 780 children in Australia and Indonesia, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the researchers assessed the effects of adding a specific vitamin and mineral mix to a daily drink.
In Australia, children that received the daily drink with the added vitamin and mineral mix performed significantly better on mental performance tests than children in a control group that received the drink without added nutrients. In Indonesia a similar trend was observed, but only in the girls.
This study confirms that nutrition can positively influence cognitive development in schoolchildren, even in western children who are well-fed.
The scientists studied 396 well-nourished children in Australia and 384 poorly nourished children in Indonesia. In each country, the children were randomly allocated to one of four groups, receiving a drink with either a mix of micronutrients (iron, zinc, folate and vitamins A, B-6, B-12 and C) or with fish-oil (DHA and EPA), or with both added, or with nothing added (placebo).
After twelve months, children in Australia who received the drink with the nutrient mix showed higher blood levels of these micronutrients, which means that their bodies were taking up the nutrients. In addition, they performed significantly better on tests measuring their learning and memory capabilities compared to children in the other groups. A similar trend was observed in Indonesia, but only in the girls. The addition of fish oil to the fortified drink did not conclusively show any additional effects on cognition.
This study adds to the mounting evidence that nutrition plays an important role in mental development in children. Previously, deficiencies in iron and iodine have been linked to impaired cognitive development in young children; there is also emerging evidence that deficiencies in zinc, folate and vitamin B12 compromise mental development in children. More recently, fish oils (EPA, DHA) have also been linked to child cognitive development.
Most studies to date have focused on deficiencies in single nutrients in young age groups. Yet the brain continues to grow and develop during childhood and adolescence. Little is known about the role of nutrition for mental development after the age of 2, nor have many studies looked at the effect of offering a mix of nutrients. Until this study, there were very few randomized controlled intervention studies assessing the impact of a multiple-micronutrient intervention on cognitive function in schoolchildren.
This study confirms that nutrition can positively influence cognitive development in schoolchildren, even in children who are well-fed. The researchers suggest that this finding could be relevant across the western world.
The investigators recommend further research to investigate the exact role of DHA and EPA in healthy school-aged children. Another research focus is the further optimization of cognitive development tests with respect to their validity and sensitivity across cultures. The scientists suggest that the smaller effects of the vitamins and minerals in Indonesia could be a result of a lower sensitivity of the cognitive tests in that country.
This study was performed by the NEMO study group (Nutrition Enhancement for Mental Optimization), which consists of the Unilever Food and Health Research Institute (Vlaardingen, The Netherlands); CSIRO, Human Nutrition (Adelaide, Australia) and the SEAMEO-TROPMED Regional Center for Community Nutrition, University of Indonesia (Jakarta Pusat, Indonesia).