So add this to the growing list of reasons you should be eating green leafy vegetables at the rate of a crack-addled rabbit. According to a new study released in the February issue of Cell Metabolism, foods high in inorganic nitrates, as most leafy green vegetables are, have been found to help us consume less oxygen when we work out (http://www.cell.com/cell-metabolism/retrieve/pii/S1550413111000052). Apparently, these inorganic nitrates help increase the efficiency of our mitochondria, which as you might remember from high school biology, are the “power house” of the cell.
We already knew that a diet rich in fruits and green, leafy vegetables helps protect against cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and a host of other major disorders. Until now though, very few tests had proven the specific benefits of individual nutrients, such as nitrate. Well, now we can chalk up another one for asparagus!