Nutrition

Spinach and Muscle Building: A Winning Combination

Have you always wanted to get big arms like Popeye? Now’s the time to build muscle using the same trick he used: eat spinach! This leafy green vegetable has been proven to be great for your health, but that’s not all! Spinach and muscle building is the winning combination to help you gain muscle mass and build your strength and endurance.

What’s spinach?

Eaten raw, juiced or cooked, spinach is a leafy vegetable that has many benefits for your body, which explains why people love it, especially athletes.

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The history of spinach

Spinacia oleracea is a native of central and western Asia. The Moors brought it to Spain sometime between 800 AD and 1200 AD. Farmers started growing spinach in the United States around 1806.

Today, the top spinach-producing countries are China, the United States, Japan, Turkey and Indonesia.

The benefits of spinach

Spinach has long been considered as the top iron-rich food. But although it’s packed with iron (2.7mg per 100g), it can’t compete with the amount of iron that lentils contain (3.3mg per 100g). But keep in mind that the human body has a harder time absorbing iron from plants than it does from animals.

Spinach contains high levels of vitamins A, B9, C and P, which puts more energy into your dishes and keeps you healthy during the winter by providing your body with all the nutrients it needs. Spinach also lowers your blood pressure.

Like garlic, spinach is a must-eat healthy food. There’s another advantage of these leafy greens: they protect you from developing cancerous cells thanks to the galactolipids it contains. These molecules help prevent tumors from implanting in the kidneys and intestines.

How to combine spinach and muscle building

Recent studies have shown that spinach effectively enhances your athletic performance. Eat 200-300g of spinach for three days. You’ll feel your overall performance improve when you do intense muscle-building exercises.

1 | For bigger muscles

Spinach is high in nitrates and is a powerful compound for improving your physical abilities. When it comes into contact with bacteria in your mouth, it turns into nitrites, which then turn into nitric oxide (NO). Nitric oxide promotes healthy muscle pump (when blood fills your muscles after intense exercise). It improves your blood flow, which is how you gain muscle mass when you eat spinach. Your diet and fitness training join forces to help you reach your goal to build muscle.

2 | For more strength and endurance

There’s another advantage to nitrate: it provides your muscle cells with the oxygen they need. It also dilates the cells in your blood and thins it out. This means that during exercise, your muscles are energized, making the exercise less difficult for you. That’s why your endurance is higher when you do a high-intensity exercise. You’ll have an easier time doing your cardio challenges*, which are designed using the HIIT method.

It’s like a fuel additive for your muscles. It makes them run much more smoothly and efficiently.
Dr. Eddie Weitzberg, professor in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, and many other researchers conducted a study on how nitrate affects blood pressure and athletic performance. Their goal was to look at how the muscles and skeleton respond to exercise in mice whose diet had been enriched with nitrate. The study showed that a high nitrate intake significantly increases the creation of muscle strength. In conclusion, spinach contains everything you need to change your relationship with exercise. You’ll build your strength and endurance!

But that’s not all! Spinach also contains betaine, which also has an effect on your muscular endurance (your ability to repeat an exercise for several repetitions using weights). Betaine makes it easier for you to do more reps and sets.

3 | For better recovery

Betaine contained in spinach leaves has another advantage: you’ll experience a better recovery. Not only will you recover more easily between sets in your FizzUp workout, but also during your rest days. After an exercise, betaine aids in muscle repair because it optimizes your muscles’ cell hydration.

In summary

Spinach helps you gain muscle mass and build strength, power, and endurance, all while helping you recover as efficiently as possible. That’s why spinach and muscle building is the winning combination that you should use to reach your goal. Now there’s nothing that can stop you from building muscle.

Spinach, FizzUp-style

Try this delicious recipe with the help of the FizzUp meal planner. Here’s what the FizzUp trainer suggests for your next meal: Spinach and Chickpea Curry.
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Makes 2 servings:

  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 250g fresh spinach
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 20cl coconut milk
  • 1 red onion

Preparation: Finely chop the onion. Cut the stems off the spinach leaves. Rinse the leaves, then chop them into large pieces.

Cook the onion in a frying pan with the spices and some olive oil. Add the coconut milk and let it simmer over low heat for five minutes.

Pour in the rinsed and strained chickpeas, then add the spinach. Let the curry simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Tips:

  • Foodies can add sesame seeds and fresh cilantro (US) / coriander (UK) leaves to their dish.
  • If you want to gain muscle mass, you can have your curry with a serving of rice.

Are you more motivated than ever now? Are you ready to try out some challenges * and the Full Body Focus* to get the body you’ve always dreamed of? Remember to eat spinach before and after your workout to give your muscles the essential nutrients they need for healthy function and development.

*FizzUp Premium features

The Author

FizzUp Staff

FizzUp Staff

As passionate bloggers, the FizzUp Staff’s sole purpose is to motivate the community with insightful and fun articles. Team spirit is one of our core values, whether we’re at work or exercising together in the FizzUp Box.

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