Finally Researchers have discovered what those of us over 50 knew all along...Popeye was right, eating a bowl of spinach a day makes your muscles "profoundly" more efficient. Recent studies confirmed eating just 300g of the vegetable reduced the amount of oxygen needed to power muscles by as much as five per cent when exercising. The secret is not in the iron as was previously thought, but in the abundance of nitrates in the vegetable. The effect is so powerful it works after only 3 days...
"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.
The study found that the difference in energy in take was between three and five per cent – a significant figure. Thus the "Superfood," made popular by Popeye the Sailor Man in the 1950's, who popped open a can of spinach whenever he got in trouble has passed the test of time.
According to the study...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. The nitrate seems to stop this waste so the muscle works more efficiently. "We know that diets rich in fruits and vegetables can help prevent cardiovascular disease and diabetes, but the active nutrients haven't been clear...this is a profound and significant effect. It shows that Popeye was right all along."
Physical Strength is too often overlooked as one of the keys to living a long and productive life. As you age getting stronger becomes more difficult and injuries take longer to heal, but with proper diet and exercise you can keep the strength you have for a long time...likewise retaining lean muscle mass improves appearance and weight management, but exercise requires energy and there is little doubt Spinach is a great "Muscle Fuel."