Eating one bowl of spinach per day increases your muscle efficiency, say researchers from the Karolinska Institue, Sweden. Consuming 300gm of spinach a day reduces the amount of oxygen by 5% required to power the muscles while exercising. This effect is evident just after three days of regular intake. Initially it was thought that the iron content in spinach makes it a power food, but studies revealed that this effect was due to the abundance of nitrates in the vegetable and had nothing to do with its iron content. Nitrates make the mitochondria (cells derive energy from mitochondria) more efficient.
The subjects who participated in the experiment were fed pure nitrate supplements- equivalent to the amount available in a plate of spinach. This was done for three consecutive days. At the beginning and end of the experiment these people were asked to pedal exercise bikes and their oxygen intake was measured while doing this.
Researchers found that the difference in energy intake ranged between 3-5% thus proving that nitrates are the real energy boosting ingredient in spinach. Lead author of the study, Dr. Eddie Weitzberd said, “It is like a fuel additive for your muscles – it makes them run much more smoothly and efficiently.”