February 8, 2011

New Study: Nitrates in Dark, Leafy Greens Build Muscles, Not Iron

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Spinach and kale are foods I equate with healthy eating. I feel good when I eat spinach, and I always assumed it was from the iron-rich dark leafy greens. A new study has found it's actually nitrates in greens, like chard and spinach, that helps us build muscles.

The Globe and Mail reports: 

In the study, healthy people took nitrate supplements - the equivalent of 1.5 cups of cooked spinach - for three days. At the beginning and end of the experiment, participants rode an exercise bike while their oxygen intake was measured.

Taking nitrate supplements resulted in more efficient muscles - the amount of oxygen needed to fuel exercise was reduced by as much as five per cent.

It's thought that dietary nitrate helps the mitochondria - the power plant inside every cell - run more smoothly and effectively.

I would think that fresh, dark leafy greens would yield better results than supplements.

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Posted by Jennifer Lance at February 8, 2011 5:13 PM

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