How Vegetables Increase The Human Strength

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Vegetables are edible plant parts in various colors, tastes, and textures. They contain a lot of nutrients necessary for health. People prefer to use vegetables in their diets due to multiple benefits. Vegetables are low in calories and fats and are a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, folate, dietary fibers, electrolytes, and phytochemicals, particularly antioxidants (Slavin & Lloyd, 2012).

Different groups of vegetables:

Different groups of vegetables are legumes, dark green or leafy vegetables, and starchy vegetables (National Institute on Aging, n.d.).

  • Legumes include kidney beans, navy beans, cannellini beans, black beans, cranberry beans, soybeans, chickpeas, and lentils. These are a good source of proteins, carbohydrates, fibers, vitamin B, magnesium, copper, zinc, manganese, and phosphorus. These essential constituents play their role in strengthening human health. It provides energy to the body’s vital organs, i.e., the brain and nervous system. It reduces blood sugar and cardiovascular disease.
  • Starchy vegetables include beetroot, peas, cassava, sweet potatoes, and sweet corn. Starchy vegetables are packed with carbohydrates, potassium, fibers, and vitamin C and B. carbohydrate is a good energy source. Potassium improves the functioning of nerves and muscles. Vitamin C and B reduce cell damage by radicals and improve metabolic functions (“Starchy vegetables,” 2020). 
  • Among all groups, green leafy vegetables (GLV) are increasingly used by consumers due to raised awareness for natural and organic edibles. The low calories in green vegetables are ideal for maintaining a healthy weight. Green leafy vegetables are a good supplier of fibers, folate, vitamin K, ascorbic acid, magnesium, and potassium. Among phytochemicals, beta carotene flavonoids and nitrates are present in significant amounts of vegetables. These vegetables have low lipid contents. Green leafy vegetables reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes type 2, and cancer (Green leafy vegetables, 2015). 

World Health Organization suggested a 400g daily intake of vegetables to reduce the risk of chronic disease. The micronutrient such as calcium, iodine, iron, vitamin A and zinc are recommended to add to the daily diet. In addition, the dietary fibers from green vegetables increase the absorption of vitamin K and carotenoids. The green leafy vegetable also contains sufficient water to keep your body hydrated and slow down skin and hair.

Vegetables strengthen the muscles.

Photo by Iñigo De la Maza on Unsplash - About vegetables
Photo by Iñigo De la Maza on Unsplash

The bioactive phytochemicals are present in significant variations in different green leafy vegetables. One of the essential bioactive phytochemicals is a nitrate, which is beneficial for human health by preventing cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.

In young individuals, nitrate supplementation has been proven to increase blood supply to the skeletal muscles during exercise. These nitrates are essential to produce energy in our bodies. In 2018, the International Olympic Committee (Maughan et al., 2018) stated that nitrate supplements were classified as ergogenic in athletes (Peeling et al., 2018).

Not only in athletes, but nitrate also strengthen older adults. The aging process is associated with declined physiological and anatomical processes. These declined processes affect daily activities due to reduced physical functions and muscle strength. As a result of decreased muscle strength, older individuals are more likely to have more significant risks of falls, fractured bones, and dysfunction (Myers et al., 1996). Primarily, the fractures and falls in older age result in poor lower extremity functioning. Moreover, lower extremity functioning is also strongly related to increasing age (Aoyagi & Shephard, 1992). That is why it is needed to have a solid muscular and skeletal system in older individuals. Studies have proven that fruits and vegetables improve the muscular-skeletal system. Moreover, among vegetables, green leafy vegetables are rich in nutrients such as vitamin C and carotenoids, which improves muscular strength (Tomey et al., 2008).

The nitrate intake through vegetables activates the nitrate-nitrite-NO pathway, increasing muscle strength by supplying blood to the muscles (Bailey et al., 2010). Other benefits of NO in the body are the regulation of blood pressure and improvement in vascular functions, and these improvements in physiological processes sustain the musculoskeletal system (Rammos et al., 2014).

The link between vegetable nitrate intake and muscle strength

Researchers conducted the study to know the link between vegetable nitrate intake and muscle strength in men and women. The study concluded that people with nitrate-rich diets have better muscle strength in their lower body. The researchers investigated over 12 years and collected data from 3759 Australian individuals. Their study showed an incredible result that the individuals with greater nitrate intake had increased muscular strength. The nitrate strengthens the lower limbs 11 percent more in individuals with greater nitrate intake than individuals with less nitrate intake. Nitrate not only improved muscular strength but also improved the walking speed by 4 percent. 

This study also tried to find the link between the physical activity of the elders with the improved muscular strength in nitrate-taking individuals. However, the results showed that nitrate intake improves muscle strength without depending on physical activity. Thus, we can say that nitrate-rich vegetables are great for muscular strength. Lettuce, spinach, broccoli, collard, and kale are green leafy vegetables providing health benefits. 

 In older age, the individuals also have reduced hand grip, which is directly related to the general muscle strength of their body. Both are indicators of decreased functional ability of the body. Neville et al., 2013 proved in their research that good consumption of fruits and vegetables improves the hand grip and total body strength.

The green leafy vegetable also contains amino acids such as leucine, valine, and isoleucine. These amino acids improve muscles’ growth, increasing the protein synthesis of muscles and thus strengthening the muscles (Opazo-Navarrete et al., 2021).

Vegetables strengthen the bones.

Green vegetables strengthen the human body’s bones due to vitamin K and calcium, and both nutrients lower the risk of osteoporosis. Green vegetables such as bok choy, collard, and kale are packed with these nutrients and are great for bone health. 

Researchers investigated the effect of green vegetables containing vitamin K1 on bone health. Regular dietary vitamin K1 improves the entry of bone-forming cells into the bone matrix. Thus, an Increased bone matrix strengthens the bone and reduces the risk of osteoporosis. Further, the strong bones also minimize the risk of fractures.

Magnesium, calcium, and zinc are also vital nutrients of vegetables and help to strengthen the bones. These nutrients are essential for women because they are at high risk of osteoporosis later in life.

Vegetables strengthen the immune system.

Not only the muscular strength, but vegetables are also crucial for the immune health of individuals. The vegetables containing the bioactive component are known as superfoods to improve the overall human strength. In southern Chile, the researchers investigated a variety of vegetables for their positive effect on human health. The researchers analyzed various components of the vegetables, such as amino acids, vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, pesticide residues, and polyphenols. These nutrients improve the immune health of the body.

The investigations reported the green leafy vegetables as reservoirs of multiple nutrients beneficial for the body’s overall health. Spinach consists of protein, dietary fibers, ascorbic acid, niacin, alpha-tocopherol, choline, calcium, iron, phosphorus, carotenoids, and polyphenols. It also contains many pesticide residues (Opazo-Navarrete et al., 2021). 

Broccoli contains a vast amount of vitamin C, antioxidants, and beta carotene. These nutrients improve the immune system. Vitamin C increases the production of white blood cells. WBCs fight against the disease-causing organisms entering our bodies.

Garlic, red bell pepper, and ginger are other vegetables improving immune health.

Top three nutrient-dense green vegetables for improved health

Link (n.d.) published the list of nutrient-dense vegetables on a credible website. These vegetables have a substantial impact on human health. 

  1. Spinach was at the top of the list due to its dietary benefits. They are supported by evidence that one cup of spinach is packed with 16 percent and 120 percent of the Daily Value for vitamin A and K, respectively. This Daily Value provides only seven calories. Spinach minimizes the risk of chronic disease due to antioxidants, beta carotene, and lutein. A study also favors the benefit of spinach by proving its positive effect on heart health.
  2. Broccoli has a protective effect against cancer. It contains glucosinolate and its byproduct. Its sprouts also have an anti-inflammatory effect. One cup of broccoli weighing 92 grams gives 77 percent and 90 percent of vitamin K and C. In addition, it is also a good source of folate, potassium, and manganese.
  3. Kale is also rich in antioxidants. It helps lower blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol. One cup of kale weighing 21 grams consists of calcium, potassium, copper, and vitamins A, B, C, and K. 

Final word

Vegetables are of three kinds; legumes, starchy vegetables, and green leafy vegetables. Each vegetable contains nutrients that are necessary for the maintenance of human health. In addition to vitamins, minerals, dietary fibers, flavonoids, carotenoids, antioxidants, and phytochemicals, they contain various nutrients. Green leafy vegetables most benefit human health. As a result, muscle, bone, and immune health are all strengthened in the human body. Spinach is one of the most helpful green leafy vegetables with many nutrients.

References: 

  • (n.d.). National Institute on Aging. https://www.nia.nih.gov/
  • Aoyagi, Y., & Shephard, R. J. (1992). Aging and muscle function. Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.)14(6), 376–396. https://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-199214060-00005
  • Bailey, S. J., Fulford, J., Vanhatalo, A., Winyard, P. G., Blackwell, J. R., DiMenna, F. J., Wilkerson, D. P., Benjamin, N., & Jones, A. M. (2010). Dietary nitrate supplementation enhances contractile muscle efficiency during knee-extensor exercise in humans. Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md.: 1985)109(1), 135–148. https://doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.00046.2010
  • Green leafy vegetables. (2015). ScienceDirect.com | Science, health, and medical journals, full-text articles, and books. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/green-leafy-vegetables
  • Link, R. (n.d.). 14 of the healthiest vegetables around. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/14-healthiest-vegetables-on-earth
  • Lundberg, J. O., Carlström, M., & Weitzberg, E. (2018). Metabolic Effects of Dietary Nitrate in Health and Disease. Cell metabolism28(1), 9–22. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2018.06.007
  • Maughan, R. J., Burke, L. M., Dvorak, J., Larson-Meyer, D. E., Peeling, P., Phillips, S. M., Rawson, E. S., Walsh, N. P., Garthe, I., Geyer, H., Meeusen, R., van Loon, L., Shirreffs, S. M., Spriet, L. L., Stuart, M., Vernec, A., Currell, K., Ali, V. M., Budgett, R., Ljungqvist, A., … Engebretsen, L. (2018). IOC Consensus Statement: Dietary Supplements and the High-Performance Athlete. International journal of sports nutrition and exercise metabolism28(2), 104–125. https://doi.org/10.1123/ijsnem.2018-0020
  • Neville, C. E., Young, I. S., Gilchrist, S. E., McKinley, M. C., Gibson, A., Edgar, J. D., & Woodside, J. V. (2013). Effect of increased fruit and vegetable consumption on physical function and muscle strength in older adults. Age (Dordrecht, Netherlands)35(6), 2409–2422. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11357-013-9530-2 
  • Opazo-Navarrete, M., Burgos-Díaz, C., Soto-Cerda, B., Barahona, T., Anguita-Barrales, F., & Mosi-Roa, Y. (2021). Assessment of the nutritional value of traditional vegetables from southern Chile as potential sources of natural ingredients. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, 76(4), 523-532. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11130-021-00935-2
  • Peeling, P., Binnie, M. J., Goods, P. S., Sim, M., & Burke, L. M. (2018). Evidence-based supplements for the enhancement of athletic performance. International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 28(2), 178-187. https://doi.org/10.1123/ijsnem.2017-0343
  • Myers, A. H., Young, Y., & Langlois, J. A. (1996). Prevention of falls in the elderly. Bone18(1 Suppl), 87S–101S. https://doi.org/10.1016/8756-3282(95)00384-3
  • Rammos, C., Hendgen-Cotta, U. B., Sobierajski, J., Bernard, A., Kelm, M., & Rassaf, T. (2014). Dietary nitrate reverses vascular dysfunction in older adults with moderately increased cardiovascular risk. Journal of the American College of Cardiology63(15), 1584–1585. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2013.08.691
  • Slavin, J. L., & Lloyd, B. (2012). Health benefits of fruits and vegetables. Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.)3(4), 506–516. https://doi.org/10.3945/an.112.002154
  • Starchy vegetables. (2020, March 9). Diabetes. https://www.diabetes.co.uk/food/starchy-vegetables.html
  • Tomey, K. M., Sowers, M. R., Crandall, C., Johnston, J., Jannausch, M., & Yosef, M. (2008). Dietary intake related to prevalent functional limitations in midlife women. American journal of epidemiology167(8), 935–943. https://doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwm397
Bruno
Brunohttps://lastguyonearth.blog
I aim to share helpful information on the latest trending topics with my readers. In my articles, you will find new ways of living life, personal stories, news, knowledge, and everything else that life and our society offer.

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