Science & Technology
Popeye was right: spinach makes you strong
June 25, 2019 | 19 comments
He's strong to the finish, cause he eats his spinach. Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Thomas Quine
Scientists have called for a chemical in spinach to be added to the list of banned substances for athletes.
For almost a century, the world-famous sailor has been depicted guzzling cans of the green leafy vegetable to give him super-human strength in his never-ending efforts to save Olive Oyl.
While in reality eating spinach won't give you sudden bulging biceps, it turns out that it is actually far more effective at increasing muscle strength than it had previously been given credit for.
The discovery was made by scientists at the Freie Universitat Berlin's Institute of Pharmacy in Germany who identified a particular hormone in spinach - ecdysterone - that when ingested on a regular basis has the ability to significantly enhance a person's strength.
It is so effective in fact that there are now calls for it to be considered a banned substance.
"Significantly higher increases in muscle mass were observed in those participants that were dosed with ecdysterone," the study authors wrote. "Even more relevant with respect to sports performance, significantly more pronounced increases in one-repetition bench press performance were observed."
"Hypothesis was that we would see an increase in performance, but we didn't expect it to be that big."
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