Sunday February 25, 2018

Spinach intake can Boost Sports Performance, says Study

Intake of nitrates, typically found in spinach, can boost sports performance particularly at high altitudes with low oxygen conditions

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  • Nitrate, commonly found in green leafy vegetables like spinach, is important for the functioning of the human body, especially during exercise
  • This is probably the first study to demonstrate that a simple nutritional supplementation strategy, i.e. oral nitrate intake, can impact on training-induced changes in muscle fibre composition
  • This leafy plant spinach is also full of protein, Vitamins B, Calcium and Omega-3 fatty acids

London, October 6, 2016: Intake of nitrates, typically found in spinach, can boost sports performance particularly at high altitudes with low oxygen conditions, a study has found.

Nitrate, commonly found in green leafy vegetables like spinach, is important for the functioning of the human body, especially during exercise.

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The study showed that nitrate supplementation in conjunction with sprint interval training (SIT) — short, high intensity exercise — in low oxygen conditions could enhance sport performance.

For the study, a research team from the University of Leuven in Belgium examined 27 moderately trained participants. They were given nitrate supplements ahead of SIT, which took the form of short but intense cycling sessions three times a week.

Further, to assess differences in performance in different conditions, they included workouts in normal oxygen conditions and in hypoxia conditions, which are low oxygen levels such as those found in high altitudes.

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After five weeks, the muscle fibre composition changed with the enhanced nitrate intake when training in low oxygen conditions.

“This is probably the first study to demonstrate that a simple nutritional supplementation strategy, i.e. oral nitrate intake, can impact on training-induced changes in muscle fibre composition,” said Peter Hespel, Professor at the University of Leuven.

Athletes participating in sports competitions require energy production in conditions with limited amounts of oxygen.

In these conditions, performing intense workouts requires high input of fast-oxidative muscle fibres to sustain the power.

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Enhancing these muscle fibre types through nutritional intake could very well boost the performance, the study said.

“It would now be interesting to investigate whether addition of nitrate-rich vegetables to the normal daily sports diet of athletes could facilitate training-induced muscle fibre type transitions and maybe in the long term also exercise performance,” Hespel said.

The observations were published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology. (IANS)

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  • Antara

    Spinach has always been a great and healthy veggie to intake!

  • Diksha Arya

    Well Popeye the sailor has known it for a very long time…

Next Story

Attention! Your Heart May be at Risk of an Infection Due to High Manganese Consumption

According to researchers, manganese inactivates a key line of defence against pathogens: the innate immune system's reactive oxygen burst

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Research bodies estimate that the number of fragments of dead cells in the bloodstream increase with higher levels of pollution. Pixabay

New York, September 23, 2017 : Higher intake of dietary manganese – an essential mineral found in leafy green vegetables, fruits and nuts — could lead to infection of the heart by a bacterium, researchers warned.

Staphylococcus aureus (“staph”) is the leading cause of bacterial endocarditis (infection of the inner lining of the heart chamber and heart valves) and the second most frequent cause of bloodstream infections.

As per the study, reported in the journal Cell Host and Microbe, most of the mice that consumed a high manganese diet — about three times more manganese than normal — died after infection with staph.

The researchers, led by Eric Skaar, professor at the Vanderbilt University in the US, found that excess manganese inactivates a key line of defence against pathogens: the innate immune system’s reactive oxygen burst.

ALSO READ Worried About Your Heart’s Health? Make These 5 Spices a Part of Your Diet and See the Benefits Yourself!

Normally, in response to staph, “neutrophils pour into the site of infection and blast the bacteria with reactive oxygen species,” Skaar explained. However, the excess manganese counters this blast.

“It’s striking that a single dietary change can inactivate one of the most powerful branches of innate immune defence and lead to fatal infection,” Skaar said.

“The human body does a wonderful job of regulating nutrient levels and a traditional Western diet has plenty of minerals in it. The idea of super-dosing nutrients needs to be given careful consideration,” he noted.

Another study, appearing in the journal NeuroToxicology, showed that excessive environmental exposure to manganese can result in neurotoxicity and lower intelligence quotient (IQ) scores in children.

Manganese — known to play a vital role in brain growth and development — is also used widely in the production of steel, alloys, batteries and fertilisers and is added to unleaded gasoline.

The findings showed that increased manganese in hair samples was significantly associated with decline in full-scale IQ, processing speed and working memory.

“Children may be particularly susceptible to the neurotoxic effects of ambient manganese exposure, as their brains are undergoing a dynamic process of growth and development,” said Erin Haynes, Associate Professor at the University of Cincinnati in the US. (IANS)