Popeye famously ate spinach when in a jam to instantly build his biceps and gain the strength to save a damsel in distress. Well, a new study conducted at North Carolina State University suggests that he may have been better off eating mustard greens.
Leafy greens have previously been indicated as vegetables that encourage muscle growth because of their nitric oxide content. Another component known as homobrassinolide — a plant hormone found in members of the mustard family — has been shown to stimulate protein synthesis while preventing degradation of muscle.
"We hope that one day brassinosteroids may provide an effective, natural, and safe alternative for age- and disease-associated muscle loss, or be used to improve endurance and physical performance," said researcher Slavko Komarnytsky, Ph.D.
Authors of the study examined the effects of a homobrassinolide supplement on rats and found that the compound appeared to result in leaner body mass when compared to a control group. Additionally, the supplemented rodents had better grip strength and physical performance than their counterparts that were not fed homobrassinolide.