Green leafy vegetables are already known to be very healthy, but recently a study has come to light that suggests that regular consumption of these foods should be made almost compulsory for older people, as they play a major role in developing muscle strength. If muscle is not built up, the number of falls and the associated risk of fractures can be significantly reduced.
Green leafy vegetables contain nitrate, which is converted into nitric oxide in the human body and is actively involved not only in improving blood flow but also in enhancing performance.
A study involved elderly people and divided them into two groups. While members of one group were regularly given cabbage, spinach and broccoli – green leafy vegetables – members of the other group were not so lucky. It was shown that the subjects who consumed green leafy vegetables had much higher endurance and power scores than the other group, and this was due to better muscle strength.
The subjects who consumed green leafy vegetables were also more skilful and performed better in other areas than those who did not receive such healthy foods. The older people who ate the vegetables were also able to walk faster and were more physically active than the others, thanks to increased muscle strength.
The role of nitric oxide, mentioned above, is also prominent in other ways. Not only is it active in increasing blood flow, but it can also increase the oxygen supply to the muscles. This is useful not only during physical activity such as gardening, but also during exercise and training, as it provides the muscles with much more oxygen, which both provides energy to the body during exercise and actively contributes to the post-exercise phase, more specifically to muscle recovery.
When the oxygen supply in the body is increased, it affects all organs, tissues and cells, including the muscles. More oxygen leads to increased muscle performance, thanks to increased muscle strength.