Is Spinach Really Good For Muscle Growth?
Children have been taught for generations that spinach makes them healthy, large and strong. The vegetable is associated with the comic hero Popeye, who develops enormous powers through spinach. Does the leafy vegetable actually help build muscle?
Does spinach really make you strong?
Spinach is healthy and contains valuable nutrients such as iron, folic acid and vitamin C. However, the vegetables are not particularly popular with children. Therefore, some parents try to convince their offspring with sentences like "You will grow tall and strong". But is it really true that spinach is good for muscle growth? A German expert says "no" to this, but studies indicate that spinach promotes muscle growth.
One of the most famous nutritional errors
Helga Strube, nutritional medicine consultant at the German Society for Nutrition, Lower Saxony, explains in a message from the dpa news agency: "It is probably one of the best-known nutritional errors that spinach contains a lot of iron."
According to her, this is probably due to a simple printing or transmission error from old nutritional tables: "Instead of 35-40 milligrams, about 3.5 to 4 milligrams of iron are contained in 100 grams of spinach, which is not enough to build muscle à la Popeye."
Consume spinach with vitamin C.
In addition, the vegetable iron contained in spinach is not as useful as, for example, that in meat. The nutritionist therefore recommends eating spinach together with vitamin C, as this can improve iron utilization. Strube emphasizes that muscle building is fundamentally not only possible with the consumption of food.
Nitrates in vegetables improve muscle performance
There are, however, some foods for natural muscle building. According to scientific studies, spinach is probably one of them. This is because of the nitrates contained in the green leafy vegetables.
For example, Swedish researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm reported in the trade magazine "Cell Metabolism" that spinach strengthens the muscles, since the nitrates in the vegetables improve the ability of the muscles so that they perform the same with less oxygen.
At the time, the researchers pointed out that their discovery showed that nitrates did not deserve their bad reputation. The nitrogen compounds are still considered harmful or even carcinogenic. However, it is not clear whether the cancer risk from nitrates that has been shown in animal experiments also applies to humans. (ad)