You know you need veggies to be strong and healthy, well the evidence keeps stacking up - according to new research published in the Journal of Nutrition, eating just one cup of leafy greens can improve muscle function.
Research done by Edith Cowan University suggests that those who have a nitrate-rich diet (mainly from veg of course!) had ‘significantly better’ muscle function in the lower limbs.
Aside from robbing you of the gains you deserve, poor muscle function can lead to a higher risk of fractures and falls. Muscle function is considered to be one of the primary indicators of general health and wellbeing.
Who and what was studied?
3,759 Aussies took part in Melbourne's Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute AusDiab study.
The study was conducted over 12 years.
People who consumed the highest nitrates had 11% stronger lower limbs strength. This result is independent of physical activity.
4% faster walking speeds were also found.
Whether you’re training hard or not, then studies like this show that small tweaks in your nutrition can really make a difference. If you’re chasing aesthetic or performance gains, then every little bit counts. Not only for how you look and feel in your prime but for how your health pans out later in life. One in three Aussies over 65 are suffering falls each year, with often serious consequences. By looking after yourself now, focusing on optimising your micronutrient intake NOW, you are giving yourself the best kind of health insurance for life.
Though we all know the importance of including veggies in our diet, it's great to have science digging into the details for us. This particular study builds on past research regarding muscle function and nitrates in older women. Studies focusing on vegetables and cardiovascular health have also been a key focus for many researchers.
Aside from muscle function, leafy greens assist:
Energy and vitality
Your immune health
Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels
Fighting free radicals in the body
The challenge is....
Getting enough of those leafy greens in! Though they may not taste amazing sometimes, they certainly do amazing things for us.
Less than one in ten Australians are getting the required level of five to six serves of vegetables per day, according to Dr. Marc Sim, lead researcher from ECU's Institute for Nutrition Research.
Make it easier for yourself by focusing on the colours of the rainbow - you don't need to always eat the same veggies, in fact, it's better if you don't! Prioritise leafy greens for at least one of those serves.
If you meal prep at the start of the week, you will have a much easier time consuming enough veg, compared to just eating 'on the fly'.
Nitrate-rich veggies to include in your grocery list:
- Mustard Greens
- Swiss Chard
- Bok Choy
Though we always advise eating your greens, sometimes life gets in the way. This is why we bring you some of the best products in nutrition today - including these superfood powders that supply you with all the goodness of organic greens and more!
Edith Cowan University. "Green leafy vegetables essential for muscle strength." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 March 2021.
Marc Sim, Lauren C Blekkenhorst, Nicola P Bondonno, Simone Radavelli-Bagatini, Peter Peeling, Catherine P Bondonno, Dianna J Magliano, Jonathan E Shaw, Richard Woodman, Kevin Murray, Joshua R Lewis, Robin M Daly, Jonathan M Hodgson. Dietary Nitrate Intake Is Positively Associated with Muscle Function in Men and Women Independent of Physical Activity Levels. The Journal of Nutrition, 2021; DOI: 10.1093/jn/nxaa415