A Surprising Benefit of Spinach, Plus a Delicious Recipe!

shutterstock_161756207Leafy green veggies like spinach are chock full of dietary fiber and essential nutrients to support a healthy gut and body, but did you know this beneficial super food may also come in handy when you’re trying to lose weight?

Researchers from the United States and Sweden recently reported that plant membranes called thylakoids—found in spinach and other green plants—play a role in managing hunger by slowing down the digestive process and triggering the release of certain hormones that help us feel full after eating. Add to that the fact that spinach is low in calories, tasty, and versatile enough for every meal, and the possibilities are endless! Try this simple and delicious omelet recipe today:

Spinach and Goat Cheese Omelet
Serves 1
Ingredients:
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp. coconut oil
2 cups firmly packed baby spinach
¼ cup diced sweet onion
½ cup artichoke hearts, quartered
¼ cup goat cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions: Heat 1 tsp. of coconut oil in a small sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add spinach and stir, cooking for 1 to 2 minutes (until slightly wilted). Remove spinach from pan and place in a small bowl. Heat the remaining 1 tsp. coconut oil over medium heat. Add onion and artichoke hearts; sauté for 2 minutes until tender. Stir in eggs and cook 1 minute to set, gently lifting the edges to ensure all the egg is cooked. Reduce heat to low; cook 3 to 4 minutes until firm. Flip the omelet and immediately spread all but 1 tsp. of the goat cheese on top. Cover with spinach; cook 2 minutes. Fold the omelet in half and transfer to plate. Top with remaining goat cheese and season with salt and pepper. Serve and enjoy!

Sources:
http://www.americancollegeofnutrition.org/content/spinach-leaf-extract-found-suppress-appetite-increase-meal-satisfaction
http://www.universityherald.com/articles/21869/20150804/spinach-may-reduce-hunger-cravings.htm
http://www.scienceworldreport.com/articles/28410/20150802/obesity-spinach-extract-reduce-hunger-cravings.htm
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19548286
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/270609.php
http://www.livescience.com/51324-spinach-nutrition.html
http://foodfacts.mercola.com/spinach.html
http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2626/2

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Early Life Stress Affects Gut Microbes, May Lead to Anxiety & Depression

shutterstock_42539698As scientists continue to explore the link between gut bacteria and mental health, Canadian researchers recently discovered that stress in the early stages of life can alter the bacterial population in the gut—which may have lasting implications when it comes to a healthy brain and mood in adulthood.

In a study published online last month in the journal Nature Communications, experts from the Family Digestive Health Research Institute at McMaster University in Ontario revealed that stress in infancy may trigger changes in the developing microbiome, which in turn may increase the risk of developing anxiety and depression later in life.

For the purpose of the study, researchers used two groups of newborn mice: one with normal gut bacteria and one with no gut bacteria. To analyze the effects of early life stress, the mice in both groups were separated from their mothers for a few hours each day for nearly three weeks.

Interestingly, while both groups of mice exhibited elevated stress hormone levels, those with normal gut bacteria displayed anxious or depressed behavior as well as impaired digestive function—symptoms not seen in the mice with no gut bacteria. Lead author Dr. Premysl Bercik and his colleagues believe even small changes in gut bacteria during a child’s early years may have “profound effects” on mood and behavior as an adult.

Sources:
http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2015/150728/ncomms8735/full/ncomms8735.html
http://www.newswise.com/articles/mcmaster-scientists-show-a-link-between-intestinal-bacteria-and-depression
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/gut-bacteria-mental-health-connection_55b8d6d6e4b0a13f9d1ade20
http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2015/07/31/early-life-stress-gut-bacteria-affect-later-risk-for-anxiety-and-depression/
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/297382.php
http://www.techtimes.com/articles/73402/20150801/researchers-find-link-between-gut-bacteria-and-mental-health.htm
https://www.mcmaster.ca/
http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/09/gut-feeling.aspx

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