If you want bulging biceps like Popeye the sailor, then all you have to do is eat his favourite food – spinach.
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And, saying this are scientists from Rutgers University who have found that the green vegetable really does boost strength. The secret behind this, they reveal, is that spinach contains phytoecdysteroids, a type of steroid that increases the development of muscles.
As a part of their study the researchers used extracts of phytoecdysteriods on lab samples of human muscle, and found that it speeded up muscle growth by 20%. According to the New Scientist, on conducting trials on rats, the researchers found that spinach extracts made the rodents stronger within a month, the Daily Express reported on Thursday.
Researchers state that eating spinach is not only a good idea if you want strong muscles, but also if you want to keep eye disease, teeth, gum problems and anaemia at bay. But it does suggest the US creators of the famous nautical hero were ahead of their time.
It is said they toyed with the idea of making garlic Popeye’s strength enhancer when they devised the original comic strip in 1919 – but by 1932 he was eating spinach to give him almost superhuman powers.
Spinach was chosen because it was known to be extremely healthy. It was used as a cure for scurvy because it was rich in iron, although it actually contains less iron than many other vegetables. But since then more and more health-giving properties of spinach have been discovered.
Apart from this, it has also been found to have heart benefits. Research has shown that the vegetable can strengthen hearts, reduce the risk of a heart attack and boost survival rates by a third for attack victims.
However, getting biceps like Popeye will not be an easy task for the researchers also stated that to do so, you would need to eat at least a kilo of spinach a day.
Spinach became one of trendiest foods in Britain and sales soared by 30% in 2006 after TV chefs and health gurus backed it as something essential for health.
“Spinach is the broom of the stomach.” French Proverb
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Sources: The Times Of India
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