It’s an image embedded in our collective subconscious: Popeye eats his spinach and his biceps turn into mountains or engine pistons, allowing him to perform all kinds of awesome strength feats. This is all entertaining and fun, but can spinach actually make you stronger? The answer may surprise you.
Can Spinach Actually Make You Stronger?
Thanks to popular culture, spinach has earned a reputation as a muscle builder. And while the results may not be as swift or spectacular as Popeye’s creators may want you to believe, there may be some degree of truth to this popular belief.
While the jury is still out on this matter, many scientists believe that spinach can really make you stronger.
The secret to spinach’s strength-boosting powers would be nitrate, a set of compounds that contain nitrogen and oxygen and are believed to improve muscle endurance.
Spinach is high in nitrates, so adding this leafy vegetable to your diet is a good idea if you want to try a natural alternative to boost your strength.
German scientists are so impressed by the effect of spinach on athletic performance that they are calling the World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA) to include spinach in their list of forbidden substances.
In the study conducted at the Freie Universität Berlin, athletes who were given ecdysterone capsules every day saw their physical strength increase three times as much as participants who received a placebo. Each capsule contained an amount of ecdysterone equivalent to almost nine pounds of spinach.
More Than Strength
And even if building strength is not your priority, there are other good reasons to add spinach to your diet: this green vegetable is rich in fiber, vitamins (A, C, and K1 in particular), iron, and calcium. It also contains other important compounds, such as lutein, kaempferol, quercetin, and zeaxanthin.
Hungry for Tips and Ideas?
At Chef Gourmet, we know good food, and we love sharing that knowledge with you. If we have whetted your appetite for interesting food facts, here are some previous posts you may find interesting:
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