Scientists at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm have released a new study
showing that spinach does indeed make you stronger. However, strength is obtained from the nitrate found in spinach, rather than iron.
Researchers revealed that nitrate has a powerful effect on muscle strength. Mice supplied with nitrate developed significantly stronger muscles, at a level equivalent to a person consuming 200 to 300 grams of fresh spinach a day.
Dr Andrés Hernández, researcher at the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology said that human muscle strength can be improved by "eating more of a vegetarian diet, as nitrate is found naturally in several leafy vegetables, especially in beetroot juice, for example. There are currently no dietary supplements containing nitrate."
The new research overturns the debunked myth that spinach makes you stronger.
Spinach became associated with strength when a typo
resulted in a report on spinach mistakenly stating it contained 34mg of iron per half tin, rather than an actual 3.4mg. Images of popular cartoon character Popeye consuming spinach propagated the idea that spinach made one strong. Now research has brought spinach round full-circle as it is once again shown to improve strength.