Spinach is a vegetable that has always been associated with strength, beyond the beloved character of Popeye the sailor. In fact, due to its vitamins and nutrients, it is highly effective in strengthening and increasing muscle mass.
In fact, according to studies published by the National Institute of Health (NIH), if a person is looking to increase their muscle mass and reduce size, spinach is an excellent option. They contain a substance called ecdysteroids, which naturally helps muscles grow.
These compounds have some similarity to testosterone, the male hormone that is also involved in muscle development.
Although associated with steroids, which can also promote muscle growth, spinach provides this benefit naturally.
But there's more, as this vegetable is rich in vitamins A, C and K, iodine, antioxidants and folic acid, which makes it essential in the diet of any athlete generating greater muscle mass
Why Eating Spinach Makes Muscle Mass Grow
A study from ECU's School of Medical and Health Services published in The Journal of Physiology, concluded that those who ate spinach daily, and even arugula or lettuce, had up to two kilos greater grip strength and their muscles were better 'fed'.
"From previous research, the nitric oxide in spinach is a vasodilator and the nitrate has a positive influence on muscle function," says researcher Marc Sim, project leader
To gain muscle mass, diet is key. Illustrative photo
He adds that it "widens blood vessels and allows for more blood flow, which translates to better musculoskeletal health."
Spinach also improves performance during physical activity and protects tissues to prevent injury, they warn. In percentage terms, studies say that it favors muscle growth of up to 20%.
And as it's a source of calcium, vitamin K, and other essential minerals that are important for maintaining bone health. These nutrients can reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
How to Prepare Spinach to Gain Muscle Mass
The benefits of spinach for humans are clear, including increased muscle mass.
Below, sites like Men's Heath provide some recipes to keep in mind: .
Spinach & Protein Smoothie
This smoothie is ideal to consume after training, as it combines the properties of spinach with protein powder to aid in recovery and muscle development.
Protein spinach smoothies are an option.
- Put 1 cup of fresh spinach, 1 ripe banana, 1 tablespoon of almond butter, 1 cup of milk and 1 ladle of protein powder in a blender.
- Mix until smooth and serve
Spinach, quinoa and portobello sprout salad
Salads can be very filling and quick to prepare recipes.
- Spinach sprouts, quinoa, portobello mushrooms, red and green pepper, and spring onion are needed.
- After washing and cooking the quinoa for about 15 minutes, cut the mushrooms into quarters to sauté them in a pan with a drizzle of olive oil.
- To these two ingredients, add the spinach sprouts in a bowl.
- Finally, cut the peppers and spring onion into small squares to prepare a vinaigrette, mixing these vegetables with three tablespoons of olive oil and one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.
There are numerous options for incorporating spinach into a salad.
Chicken and spinach salad
This simpler salad is a nutritious, protein-rich option.
- Combine 2 cups fresh spinach with 1 diced grilled chicken breast, 1/2 cubed avocado, 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, and 1/4 cup crumbled feta.
- To accompany it, you can make a vinaigrette with olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, salt and pepper.
Spinach and turkey wraps
These wraps are another alternative to get out of the way quickly at mealtime.
- Use some fresh spinach leaves as a base and place 150 g of sliced turkey breast, tomato slices and avocado slices on top of them.
- As an option, add a little dijon mustard for extra flavor.
An omelet is another easy way to add to the list of spinach recipe options.
Spinach omelette, quick and effective.
- Mix two whole eggs in a bowl and pour into a frying pan over medium heat.
- Cook them until they begin to form a kind of egg omelette.
- Dump the spinach into the center of the omelet. They can be fresh, as long as they have been previously washed.
- Wrap the tortilla folding the sides towards the center, so that the spinach is sealed inside.
- Once ready, remove the spinach and egg roll from the pan and serve it as a main course or a nutritious breakfast