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Article about spinach- nitrates and mitochondria FYI



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  • Article about spinach- nitrates and mitochondria FYI

    Popeye's secret has been revealed - it is the nitrates in spinach that make him strong.

    The chemical, abundant in green leafy vegetables, boost the powerhouses in cells which provide energy, scientists have discovered.

    A single helping of spinach is enough to increase the efficiency of mitochondria, small bean-shaped bodies which fuel cell activity and growth.

    Spinach is well known as the superfood that gave Popeye the Sailor Man his bulging muscles.

    The famous cartoon character, who dates back to the 1930s, pops open a can of spinach whenever he needs to get out of trouble.

    Originally it was thought that the iron content of spinach made it a power-food. Now scientists have learned that nitrates are the true energy-boosting ingredient in the vegetable.

    Green leafy vegetables of all kinds are rich in the inorganic chemical which until recently was not thought to have any nutritional value.

    "We're talking about an amount of nitrate equivalent to what is found in two or three red beets or a plate of spinach," said lead researcher Professor Eddie Weitzberg, from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.

    "We know that diets rich in fruits and vegetables can help prevent cardiovascular disease and diabetes, but the active nutrients haven't been clear. This shows inorganic nitrate as a candidate to explain those benefits."

    Previously Prof Weitzberg and colleague Professor Jon Lundberg showed that dietary nitrate increases levels of nitric oxide in the body with the help of friendly bacteria.

    Nitric oxide is an important molecule which opens up blood vessels, lowers blood pressure, and improves circulation.

    The new research shows that nitrates make mitochondria by making them less "leaky". This has the effect of increasing their efficiency as biological machines.

    Prof Weitzberg's findings are published today in the journal Cell Metabolism.

    An odd implication of the research is that mouthwash may reduce the benefits of nitrates.

    Bacteria in the mouth are needed to provide the first step in the pathway that uses nitrates to generate nitric oxide.

    "In our view, strong mouthwashes are not good if you want this system to work," said Prof Weitzberg

  • #2
    Thanks for that, had missed it. A lot of speculation in their chain of reasoning (they have still to verify that following a diet high in leafy greens will produce a significant health or longevity benefit) but the potential seems reasonable
    Four years Primal with influences from Jaminet & Shanahan and a focus on being anti-inflammatory. Using Primal to treat CVD and prevent stents from blocking free of drugs.

    Eat creatures nose-to-tail (animal, fowl, fish, crustacea, molluscs), a large variety of vegetables (raw, cooked and fermented, including safe starches), dairy (cheese & yoghurt), occasional fruit, cocoa, turmeric & red wine


    • #3
      Agreed. Huge amount of speculation, not to mention that studies have already shown that nitrate consumption is linked to a number of diseases especially heart disease.
      "You can demonstrate the purpose and limits of human digestion with a simple experiment: eat a steak with some whole corn kernels, and see what comes out the other end. It won’t be the steak."