Spinach Really Does Boost Your Muscles As It did on Popeye
Spinach is well-known as the vegetable that gave Popeye his mighty strength. The famous Cartoon character Popeye is known for munching endless cans of spinach when he wants his biceps to bulge, and scientific evidence proves that eating spinach really does boost your muscles.
Read also: 15 health benefits of spinach
Previously, it was thought that the high iron content in spinach made it a power-food. But a recent study in Sweden has found that nitrates are the true energy-boosting ingredient in the vegetable. The chemical was found to make the mitochondria, the “engine rooms” of every cell, more efficient.
The researchers discovered that eating 300 grams of spinach reduced the amount of oxygen needed to power muscles by as much as 5 per cent when exercising.
“It is like a fuel additive for your muscles. It makes them run much more smoothly and efficiently,” said the lead author Dr Eddie Weitzberg of the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.
“It is a profound and significant effect. It just shows that Popeye was right.”
Previously Prof Weitzberg and colleague Professor Jon Lundberg showed that dietary nitrate increases levels of nitric oxide in the body with the help of friendly bacteria.
Nitric oxide is an important molecule which opens up blood vessels, lowers blood pressure, and improves circulation.
Mitochondria, like all engines, lose a lot of energy through heat loss and the nitrate seems to stop this waste and make the cell run more efficiently.