Why Does Spinach Give Us Strength?

Spinach has long been associated with strength, but why the leafy vegetable makes us stronger has remained unknown until now. 

Researchers at the Karolinska Institute say that nitrate, found naturally in spinach and several other vegetables, significantly increases muscle strength.

In the study, the team placed nitrate directly into the drinking water of a group of mice for seven days and then compared their muscle strength to a control group. According to the researchers, the amount of nitrate given to the mice was roughly the equivalent to that which a human would obtain by consuming 200 to 300 grams of fresh spinach or 2 to 3 beetroots a day.

Spinach and beetroot are two of the main sources of nitrate, but it is also found in several other vegetables, such as chard and lettuce.

After 7 days, the researchers examined different muscles on the mice’s legs and feet. They discovered that those given nitrate had significantly stronger muscles than mice in the control group. According to the researchers the greatest effect were observed in the extensor digitorum longus muscle, which extends down the tibia, and the flexor digitorum brevis muscle of the foot.

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