HomeLifestyleHealth & FitnessPopeye's favourite food 'spinach' really makes you stronger - study

Popeye’s favourite food ‘spinach’ really makes you stronger – study

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There is no secret that this leafy green vegetable, the secret behind Popeye’s super-human strength, contains high levels of nitrates that help to boost overall body functions, and now new research has revealed that including spinach in your diet can really make you stronger.

Earlier studies have already shown that dietary nitrates help to boost the amount of nitric oxide in the human body as it regulates blood flow and muscle contractility.

To carry out the study to know how eating leafy green vegetables can improve the functioning of the muscle, a team of researchers from Australia’s Edith Cowan University examined data from 3,759 volunteers over a period of 12 years, that included their diets, walking speeds, and their lower limb strength.

The results of the study found that people who are having the highest regular nitrate intake had stronger lower limbs by 11%, and improved walking speeds by 4% than those with the lowest nitrate consumption.

“Our study has shown that diets high in nitrate-rich vegetables may bolster your muscle strength independently of any physical activity,” said lead author of the study, Dr Marc Sim.

“Nevertheless, to optimise muscle function we propose that a balanced diet rich in green leafy vegetables in combination with regular exercise, including weight training, is ideal.”

Still, the team is not sure how nitrate improves the functioning of muscle.

Nevertheless, they point out that nitrates could boost blood flow and vascular function.

“We know from previous research that nitric oxide is a vasodilator, which means that it widens your blood vessels, potentially allowing greater blood flow to your muscles,” as explained by Dr Sim.

“In fact, nitrate supplements are used by athletes to improve endurance and performance.”

“It could be that higher daily nitrate intake consistently increases muscle blood flow, thereby facilitating musculoskeletal health.”

Dr Sim further added that “we should be eating a variety of vegetables every day, with at least one of those serves being leafy greens to gain a range of positive health benefits for the musculoskeletal and cardiovascular system”.

The researchers believe the study will motivate more people to include leafy green vegetables into their daily diets, despite the fact they may be some of our least favourite vegetables.

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