Spinach, Wonderful Spinach

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Papers recently have reported that Popeye was right about the muscle strengthening power of spinach. The secret is in the nitrates contained in the spinach. It helps muscle cells become a lot more efficient, needing less oxygen, 5% less to be exact. The amount needed is 300g a day, but most green leafy matter will contain nitrates too. The effects can be realised after just 3 days.

The idea of eating more greens, especially raw, in order to produce more muscle power and greater endurance is not new to me. A colleague of mine in Canada convinced one of his marathon running patients to swap from a traditionally used carbohydrate rich diet and ‘carb loading’ to a caveman, or stone age diet – meats, eggs, nuts, seeds, berries, fruits and lots of raw veg. The effect was a 1/2 hr faster marathon.

This makes total sense to me as the food we evolved eating provides a much cleaner fuel than modern processed wheat or rice based carbs.

Written by Dr Chris Pickard

Published on 6 Feb 2011

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