Besides making you look buff, there are plenty of reasons why you might want stronger muscles. Not only can they help you tackle physical activities without injury, but they also allow you to burn calories efficiently, according to the Mayo Clinic. That’s why you should give your muscles the strength-building TLC they need, which can surprisingly include drinking beet juice. Yes, beet juice. A new study has found that this particular drink, along with other nitrate-rich foods and beverages, can increase muscle strength.
The study published in Acta Physiologica involved researchers from the University of Exeter in the UK, the University of Queensland in Australia and the US National Institutes of Health. During the randomized crossover study, 10 men considered to be healthy were asked to consume either potassium nitrate or a placebo. Participants also participated in muscle biopsies at four stages, including before consuming the nitrate or placebo, 1 hour after, 3 hours after, and finally after exercising (specifically, 60 peak contractions of the knee extensors).
When the results were compared, the researchers found that participants who ingested potassium nitrate had more nitrates in their leg muscles for hours after taking the solution. The researchers also noted that those who took potassium nitrate saw a 7% increase in muscle torque and muscle strength compared to participants who received the placebo.
“We show for the first time that nitrate levels in muscles before exercise are related to the amount of force the muscles can produce,” said study corresponding author Dr. Andrew M. Jones. , professor of applied physiology at the University of Exeter, according to Medical News Today. Jones explained that this may be because “[t]Muscle appears to use nitrate to improve its ability to contract, we believe by converting nitrate to nitric oxide which, in turn, has effects on the contractile apparatus.”
“Based on the study, I agree that nitrates found in certain foods and beverages can help improve muscle strength,” Dan Gallagher, Dt.P.registered dietitian at Aegle Nutrition, says Eat this, not that!.
Gallagher explains that “nitrates are nitrogen-oxygen molecules that are produced by the body and can also be found in certain foods like celery and lettuce, as well as beetroot juice and beetroot juice.” When you consume foods or beverages containing nitrates, “they help convert oxygen into energy more efficiently, which increases endurance and power during exercise.”
If you want to add more nitrate-rich options to your regular menu, Gallagher suggests “spinach, arugula, endives, radishes, cherries, cranberries, grapefruit juice, tomato juice, carrot juice, and other green leafy vegetables.”
“Consuming these foods can help reduce blood pressure levels due to their high nitrate content,” says Gallagher. “In addition, these vegetables contain vitamins A and K, as well as minerals like calcium, magnesium and iron, all of which have other health benefits, such as promoting healthy skin and bones. healthy.”
Desirée O is a freelance writer who covers, among other things, lifestyle, food and nutrition news. Learn more about Desiree
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