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Leafy Vegetable Consumption May Boost Athletic Performance

February 9, 2011 by  

Leafy vegetable consumption may boost athletic performanceResearch that was recently conducted at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden suggests that eating vitamin-rich vegetables like leafy greens and beets could improve efficiency of muscle function due to inorganic nitrates found in the foods.

Scientists studied participants who consumed small doses of inorganic nitrate for three days and then rode on exercise bikes. They found that the subjects' muscles consumed oxygen more efficiently, and concluded that it was due to improved mitochondria function.

The news does not suggest that people immediately reach for nitrate supplements, however. The substance needs bacteria found in the mouth to produce nitric oxide, a byproduct that has been known to dilate blood vessels and lower blood pressure. So researchers recommend getting daily doses of inorganic nitrate from fresh vegetables.

"We're talking about an amount of nitrate equivalent to what is found in two or three red beets or a plate of spinach," said Eddie Weitzberg, study co-author.

Further, the authors noted that powerful mouthwashes could kill certain beneficial bacteria in the mouth and hinder the effectiveness of the nitrates.

Weitzberg said he and his team plan to test the effects of inorganic nitrates on individuals with mitochondrial dysfunction, like those with diabetes or cardiovascular disease.  

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  • Richard Pawley

    You are always better off getting your nutrients from truly natural or organic foods, but even so I still take a vitamin-mineral supplement made from all natural ingredients (fruits and vegetables, berries and herbs). It’s called ALIVE and helps keep me that way. I’ve never written a book on nutrition but I have studied it for my own benefit for more than 30 years and manage to squeeze in a little about nutrition in whatever I write. I don’t eat processed meats. OK, maybe one hot dog a year! I go out of my way to avoid all synthetic ‘chemical sugars’ as none are safe. Corn sugar or HFCS may be good for making ethanol for my car but I don’t EAT IT! I do my best to only eat organic popcorn and strawberries as they are among the top ten of the most polluted foods in the USA. I stopped eating milk and cheese (hard to do but getting easier) and ice cream (very difficult to do) that contain artificial growth hormones like rBGH and rBST. Besides USDA Organic coconut oil, and organic butter, I only use grapeseed oil and a little olive oil (69% of which sold as extra-virgin IS NOT). I’m happy to say that I just got an email from Cabot Cheeses of Vermont this morning that informed me that they have switched over to milk free of these artificial hormones (which are banned from Australia to Switzerland but good enough for Americans according to the FDA which claims there is no difference but don’t explain why it’s banned in so many countries). They of course seem to be partners with Monsanto who are trying to control all foods (seeds) on earth and eliminate all natural food. We are even forcing the Iraqi’s to use these seeds which require vast amounts of chemicals to grow (and some say the world wide famine the Bible talks about is impossible). I do not buy any American cheese that does not say that they do not use this stuff that was banned in Canada because of what it does to cows, much less what it does to humans. It simply isn’t worth the risk unless it was from Bega of Australia where all the cows are grass fed and such artificial hormones have never been used. They have made canned cheese for 50 years and I’ve enjoyed it for two years and have never refrigerated it until I opened the can. We outlawed DDT years ago but if the average person had any idea how deadly some of the chemicals that have been approved by the FDA for spraying on strawberries and other things we eat are, they would be shocked. Grow your own if possible and if not support local farmers who use non-genetically engineered seed and follow nature. Remember the life you save may be your own. May God bless all who read this.

    • James

      Richard, I agree. Here’s a simple formula for health. Buy a stalk of celery, walk into your doctor’s office, and while eating some of it, bop him with what’s left. You will find that when the celery and the doctor are all gone, you’ll feel much better. (This recipe is not copyrighted.)

    • http://?? Joe H.

      Richard,
      I read this yesterday and last nite, afer going to the market, I had a good mess of mustard greens! I hadn’t had them for years! LOVED THEM STILL! Used to love collard greens as well!!

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