We know that leafy greens are full of vitamins and nutrients, but did you know that leafy greens can also help you build muscle? According to new research from Edith Cowan University, nitrate-rich leafy greens, like spinach and kale, boost muscle function and prevent injury.
Our bodies convert nitrates found in these greens to nitric oxide which works to open blood vessels, improve blood flow, and fuel exercise performance.
In the study, researchers assessed health data from 3,759 individuals over the course of 12 years and found that those who ate the most nitrate-rich foods had 11 percent stronger lower limb strength. They also had a walking speed that was on average four percent faster than other participants. One of the most surprising findings was that leafy greens boosted muscle strength regardless of individuals’ exercise habits.
Muscle strength is a key component of overall physical health. This nitrate can be found in leafy greens, but it’s also available in fennel, radishes, parsley, cabbage, and arugula. If you’re looking to build muscle or just maintain joint, muscle, and bone health, add some leafy greens to your diet and see if it makes a difference!