Healthy Insight: Greens for speed

A diet rich in nitrates from green leafy vegetables such as arugula, chard, collards, dandelion, kale, and spinach strengthens the lower body. In this study, doctors measured nitrates in the diets of 3,759 men and women, average age 49, and found those who got 91 mg of nitrates per day—81 percent from vegetables—could knee-lift 5.7 more pounds than those who got no more than 47 mg. Also, the high-nitrate group rose from a seated position and walked a quarter-second faster on average than those in the low-nitrate group. “Nitrate-rich vegetables may bolster muscle strength, independent of physical activity,” doctors said, but recommend a balanced diet along with exercise.

Reference: Journal of Nutrition, May 2021, Vol. 151, No. 5, 1222–30

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