Popeye had the right idea all along. If you want to punch out aging the way everyone’s favorite Sailor Man handled Brutus, grab some spinach.
Because it turns out delicious nutrient-packed spinach really can help “turbocharge” your muscles.
To stay strong well into your Golden Years, stop chugging so much milk and start munching on more of this delicious veggie instead. Research has uncovered a crucial compound locked inside those tasty green leaves that can be a potent weapon against muscle loss.
This nutrient supports muscles in two key areas vital for healthy aging. And that, in turn, can help ensure you maintain your independence today, tomorrow, and for the rest of your life.
Support stronger muscles with spinach
Now don’t get me wrong. You don’t have to quit milk to maintain strong, age-defying muscles.
In fact, unless you’re sensitive to it, a daily dose of full-fat fresh dairy is still a great idea. It contains muscle-boosting protein and healthy fats, and other essential nutrients inside every mug.
But greens don’t get the attention they deserve when it comes to muscles. And the new study shows it’s time to stop overlooking this superfood. Because spinach might be exactly what your muscles have been begging for.
Researchers had older volunteers begin a workout program designed to help support their aging muscles. It wasn’t anything too strenuous. They worked out three times a week, doing exercises that pretty much any one of us could handle.
Some participants got a mini version of Popeye’s famous “muscles in a can.” But instead of the can, they got capsules containing 500mg of a spinach extract called Spinacia oleracea four times a day. The rest got a look-alike placebo.
Just 12 weeks later, there were major differences between the two groups. And the changes could only be explained by the spinach capsules.
The folks who were given the capsules had bigger improvements in:
- muscle function
- muscle quality
That, in turn, led to significant improvements in physical and emotional health, too.
Putting spinach to work for you
Now I know it might seem a little odd. Because despite Popeye’s obsession, it’s hard to see what spinach could possibly have to do with your muscles.
But spinach is far more than just filler for your salads.
Those leafy green leaves are loaded with nitrates. Nitrates support the mitochondria that supply the power to your muscle cells. The cells are able to take in oxygen more efficiently, leading to improved performance.
That means the muscles require less oxygen. Plus, they do more with the oxygen they do receive. This leads to better function, especially when you put those muscles to work during exercise.
Dietary nitrates are also essential to blood vessel function and can help reduce blood pressure. But that’s a story for another day.
The new study tested capsules containing a potent spinach extract. And that’s certainly one way to get it. But it’s not necessarily the best way.
Studies have found you don’t typically need a highly concentrated form like that for your muscles to reap the benefits. You just need to eat spinach and other nitrate-rich greens more often than you do right now.
One study last year found extra nitrates from diet alone can improve muscle function in men and women alike, even WITHOUT additional physical activity.
Someone should tell Wimpy.
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