Putting together your weight loss diet can be a challenge with all the possibilities. What about spinach, is it good for weight loss?
Spinach is a popular leafy green vegetable known for being full of valuable vitamins and minerals. The ways to eat spinach vary from raw, on its own, to a small part of dishes like soup, omelets, and lasagna.
Like most vegetables, many people will benefit in terms of weight loss by eating more spinach. Find out just how good spinach is, how you want to eat it for more weight loss, and how it compares to certain other popular vegetables.
Micronutrients in spinach
The first thing to look at is the amount of micronutrients in spinach.
Micronutrients are a group of nutrients your body absolutely needs to survive and thrive. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals. These are involved in basically every aspect of your health, including weight loss.
100 grams of raw spinach provides you with approximately (1):
- Vitamin K: 604% of the DV (Daily Value)
- Vitamin A: 188% of the DV
- Folate: 49% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 47% of the DV
- Manganese: 45% of the DV
- Magnesium: 20% of the DV
- Potassium: 16% of the DV
- Iron: 15% of the DV
- Riboflavin: 11% of the DV
- Vitamin E: 10% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 10% of the DV
- Calcium: 10% of the DV
- Copper: 6% of the DV
- Thiamin: 5% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 5% of the DV
And some other vitamins and minerals in less significant amounts. The amount of other vitamins and minerals in spinach is extremely good compared to many other whole foods.
If you have trouble reaching your daily vitamin and mineral goals spinach is a very good food to add to your diet.
Spinach also contains certain kinds of antioxidants, substances that help your body deal with oxidative damage. It is not entirely clear if and to what extent antioxidants help weight loss.
Fiber in spinach for weight loss
Another very important factor for weight loss is the amount of fiber in your food.
Spinach contains around 2.2 grams of fiber per 100 grams.
That’s a good amount of fiber per 100 grams compared to many whole foods.
Fiber has multiple benefits for weight loss. First of all, it feeds your microbiome, the microbes that live in your intestines. The health of your microbiome influences your body’s health and weight. Feeding it well is usually not a bad idea.
Fiber also helps you feel less hungry without adding a lot of calories to your diet. Hunger and cravings can be a big pitfall for people trying to lose weight, so avoiding this is a big plus.
With the amount of fiber in spinach you can reduce the time you spend craving for food a good amount.
Can spinach help you lose weight?
Before knowing whether or not spinach deserves a spot in your weight loss diet you still need a final piece of the puzzle. The number of calories in spinach.
Spinach contains 23 calories per 100 grams. 12.8 of these calories come from the carbohydrates (3.6 g per 100 grams of which 2.2 g fiber).
You can definitely fit in some spinach in low carb diets like the keto diet.
There are vegetables lower in calories than spinach but spinach is still generally very low in calories. Fruits, legumes, meats, and everything in between are usually higher in calories than spinach.
Spinach is a very low-calorie food that can help you feel fuller with its fiber content. This can help you avoid higher-calorie foods. For most people that, and thus eating more spinach, is enough to help them lose weight.
On top of that spinach contains great amounts of vitamins and minerals, like for example magnesium, which may indirectly help your weight loss.
Spinach is not the only food with nutrition values like this but it does stand out. You will still be able to lose weight without spinach in your diet but this food can help a lot.
If you are gaining weight while eating spinach the first place to look at is the rest of your diet and other lifestyle habits. Spinach is generally not fattening.
One thing you have to keep in mind is that spinach contains relatively high amounts of vitamin K1. This may interfere with certain blood-thinning medication (2). If you take this kind of medication you want to consult with your doctor before implementing large amounts of spinach in your diet.
How much spinach should you eat a day to lose weight?
Nutrition is always a bit of a puzzle in terms of what the perfect diet looks like. It’s a pretty individual thing.
Consuming enough vitamins and minerals is important for both your short and long-term health and weight loss. Spinach will provide you with a lot of vitamins and minerals but you will need other nutritious foods as well.
That’s why something like a spinach diet, mostly eating spinach, is not that good for your health and long term weight loss.
A typical serving size for spinach is about 1 cup which is about 30 grams spinach.
Some people use this serving size as a daily recommendation for everyone but every situation is different. Most people will benefit from eating spinach every day, more than 30 grams can be good too.
Does spinach help you lose belly fat?
Targetting fat loss in a specific area like your belly is generally not possible. Not by eating more of a specific food or by doing a specific exercise. To burn belly fat you have to lose weight overall.
Since spinach can help you lose weight in general this food can also help you lose belly fat once your body wants to lose fat in your abdominal area.
How to eat spinach for weight loss
There is a wide variety of uses for spinach. Some are better than others for weight loss.
The best ways to eat spinach for weight loss would be just raw or as an ingredient in healthy dishes. You can for example add spinach to these popular healthy recipes:
Adding some cream to spinach is also acceptable when it comes to losing weight. In this case the quantity of cream you use matters a lot.
Some dishes with spinach that are not optimal for weight loss include quiche, lasagna, pasta, and pizza. These will likely not be the end of your weight loss journey but you generally want to avoid them.
Spinach vs other popular vegetables for weight loss
You now know how good spinach is for weight loss but how does it compare to certain other vegetables? Find out how good spinach is for weight loss vs kale, arugula, broccoli, and collards.
Spinach vs kale
A popular comparison is spinach vs kale. If you look at the calorie amounts you can see that kale contains a relatively high amount more. Spinach contains around 23 calories per 100 grams vs the 50 calories per 100 grams of kale (3).
Kale contains around 2 grams of fiber per 100 grams, spinach 2.2 grams. Kale contains higher amounts of certain vitamins and minerals but spinach has a different distribution that is likely more useful for most people.
Spinach will likely be better for weight loss than kale. Even with that in mind kale is still a good food when trying to lose weight.
Spinach vs arugula
Arugula is another type of vegetable with a distinct bitter, peppery taste. It is often used to top off salads. Arugula is a negligible amount higher in calories than spinach, 25 calories per 100 grams (4).
There is also a difference in the amount of fiber in these vegetables. Spinach had about 2.2 grams of fiber per 100 grams vs arugula with 1.6 grams. Spinach contains higher amounts of vitamins and minerals than arugula.
All in all spinach will likely be better than arugula for weight loss.
Spinach vs broccoli
Broccoli is slightly higher in fiber, 2.6 grams per 100 grams. In terms of vitamins and minerals, spinach takes the lead.
The difference will not be very big but spinach is likely better for weight loss than broccoli.
Spinach vs collards
Lastly the comparison between spinach and collards, another green leafy vegetable. Collards are slightly higher in calories than spinach, 30 calories per 100 grams vs the 23 calories per 100 grams of spinach (6).
Collards contain around 3.6 grams of fiber per 100 grams so a good amount higher than spinach. Spinach has again higher amounts of vitamins and minerals.
Spinach and collards will have a very similar effect on weight loss.
Chart of spinach vs other popular vegetables
All in all, the differences between these vegetables won’t make that much of a difference when it comes to losing weight. If you like all these vegetables equally you might as well choose the ones that are slightly better for weight loss.
The amount of vitamins and minerals in the foods does matter for weight loss and health but you can’t simplify that in one number. You can check out the numbers for spinach (1), kale (3), arugula (4), broccoli (5), and collards (6) to compare.
|Values Per 100g||Spinach||Kale||Arugula||Broccoli||Collards|
|Calories||23 calories||50 calories||25 calories||34 calories||30 calories|
|Fiber||2.2 g||2 g||1.6 g||2.6 g||3.6 g|