Eat Green Leafy Vegetable for Muscle Strength

Highlights

  • A recent study by the Edith Cowan University recommends eating green leafy vegetable for muscle strength.
  • According to the study, people who ate a nitrate-rich diet regularly walk 4% faster than those who ate a lower amount of nitrate.

Green leafy vegetables are plants with green edible leaves or buds.

They are usually less popular foods for us because of their taste. But these foods have many health benefits, due to their fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.

There are many studies published about the benefits of eating green leafy vegetables.

However, a recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition about the benefits of eating green leafy vegetables on muscle strength. This study was done by the Edith Cowan University (Australia).

According to this study, a nitrate-rich diet can significantly improve our lower limb muscle function.

First, let me quickly tell you about the lower limb.

Table of Contents

What is Lower Limb?

Walking,
Two People Walking

The lower limb constitutes the thigh, leg, and foot (1). The lower limb bones are larger and stronger, and the joints are stable than comparable bones of the upper limb. Because the lower limb supports the entire body weight while walking, running, or jumping (2).

Now, let me tell you what happens if we have poor lower limb strength.

Impact of Poor Lower Limb Strength

If you have poor lower limb strength, your walking, running, or jumping performance will reduce significantly. Also, you may fall easily at old age due to poor static balance and dynamic balance.

Now, let’s talk about the study.

Overview of the Research Procedure

The researchers examined the health data from 3,759 Australians who participated in the AusDiab study from the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne over a 12-year period. 

What is the Result of this Study?

Researchers have found that people who consume the highest amount of nitrate regularly had 11% more strength in their lower limb than those who consume the lowest amount of nitrate. Those who consume a nitrate-rich diet, the walking speed also 4% faster.

What the researchers are saying?

The lead researcher of this study, Dr. Marc Sim, from ECU’s Institute for Nutrition Research, says that the study result is proof that our diet plays an important role in our overall health.

He also said, “Our study has shown that diets high in nitrate-rich vegetables may bolster your muscle strength independently of any physical activity.” 

“Nevertheless, to optimize muscle function, we propose that a balanced diet rich in green leafy vegetables in combination with regular exercise, including weight training, is ideal.”

Eat Green Leafy Vegetable for Muscle Strength and Prevent Future Falls

Fractured leg, Old Man,
Old Man with Fractured Leg

Muscle function is vital to maintaining overall good health, especially in an older age (3). “With around one in three Australians aged over 65 sufferings a fall each year, it’s important to find ways of preventing these events and their potentially serious consequences,” said Dr. Sim.

While green leafy vegetables may be our least favorite vegetables, they could be the most important, according to Dr. Sim. In this regard, the research identified that nitrate-rich vegetables, such as lettuce, spinach, kale, and even beetroots, provide the greatest health benefits.

The majority of people do not consume the recommended servings of vegetables per day (4). Dr. Sim said, “Less than one in ten Australians eat the recommended five to six serves of vegetables per day,” 

Therefore, Dr. Sim advises that “we should be eating a variety of vegetables every day, with at least one of those serves being leafy greens to gain a range of positive health benefits for the musculoskeletal and cardiovascular system.”

“It’s also better to eat nitrate-rich vegetables as part of a healthy diet rather than taking supplements. Green leafy vegetables provide a whole range of essential vitamins and minerals critical for health.”

More evidence on the Benefits of Green Leafy Vegetables

This is a collaborative study of the Deakin University Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition and the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, which builds on Dr. Sim’s previous research on the function of nitrate and muscle in older women.

This study also adds to growing evidence of the beneficial effects of vegetables on cardiovascular health, including a recent ECU study on cruciferous vegetables and blood vessel health.

Dr. Sim said the next step in his research would be to find different possibilities for increasing the consumption of green leafy vegetables in the general public. “We are currently recruiting for the MODEL Study, which examines how knowledge of disease can be used to prompt people in making long-term improvements to their diet and exercise,” said Dr. Sim.

“The dietary intake of nitrates is possibly associated with muscle function in men and women regardless of their levels of physical activity,” concludes the study published in the Journal of Nutrition.

Eat Green Leafy Vegetable for Muscle Strength,
Eat Green Leafy Vegetable for Muscle Strength

Take Home Message

Scientists recommend eating green leafy vegetable for muscle strength. It also increase walking speed by upto 4%.

So, I recommend you to include at least one serving of green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale into your regular diet (5).

Additionally, keep improving your diet by reading authority nutrition blogs like NutritionCrown.

See you in the next interesting nutrition news. Till then take care and eat healthy.

References:

This article (Eat Green Leafy Vegetable for Muscle Strength) is written by certified nutritionist and verified by scientific evidence. We relies on reputed and specialized media sites, academic research institutions, peer-reviewed studies, government agencies, and medical associations to source information. We avoid using tertiary references. Know more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

  1. Wendy. Human Anatomy and Physiology Lab (BSB 141). Lumen Learning. https://courses.lumenlearning.com/ap1x94x1/chapter/the-lower-limbs/. Accessed May 5, 2021.
  2. Learning L. Biology for Majors II. Lumen Learning. https://courses.lumenlearning.com/wm-biology2/chapter/human-appendicular-skeleton/. Accessed May 5, 2021.
  3. Healthy Muscles Matter. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/kids/healthy-muscles. Published December 2, 2020. Accessed May 5, 2021.
  4. Only 1 in 10 Adults Get Enough Fruits or Vegetables. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2017/p1116-fruit-vegetable-consumption.html. Published November 16, 2017. Accessed May 5, 2021.
  5. Martinac P. The Serving Size for Dark Green, Leafy Vegetables. Healthy Eating | SF Gate. https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/serving-size-dark-green-leafy-vegetables-2655.html. Published December 2, 2018. Accessed May 5, 2021.

A. R. Choudhury is a certified nutritionist, author, and blogger with a passion for evidence-based nutrition. He completed "Stanford Introduction to Food and Health" certificate course by Stanford University from Coursera Inc. He received his master's degree in biochemistry from The University of Burdwan. Abdur Rahman Choudhury aka A. R. Choudhury is also a fitness enthusiast and a coffee lover.

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