(NaturalNews) There is a widespread perception that since it is muscle that is being challenged during a workout, and muscle is made of protein, protein is what muscle needs to repair and protect itself. A recent research study investigated the efficacy of green leaf vegetables as a buffer against the damage, replacing the traditionally relied on protein shakes with salads.
Not everything about exercise is good for you
Earlier studies have widely documented the deleterious effects that aerobic exercise has on the body. Because of the increase in blood circulation, individuals will also experience (and need) increased oxygen flow to the tissues as well. Oxidization is an unavoidable consequence of this process, and has been demonstrated to cause mutations in mitochondrial DNA and erasures of important information in adult muscle cells. Oxidization is the key process in the barrier of complete cell renewal, and leads to signs of aging, and weakened defenses against disease.
An innocent looking arsenal
Watercress is the antithesis of what would intuitively be reached for after a workout. In contradiction to the “You are what you eat” philosophy, watercress floats, is hollow, and like all plant life, is largely composed of water- quite the opposite of the effect most exercisers are aiming for. Generally, protein is supplemented before or after a workout to replace and reinforce the depleted muscle. Researchers are proposing that the problem be addressed in a more preventative manner. Instead of mediating the destruction by preparing reinforcements, they advise anticipating and preventing the loss altogether.
The conductor’s favorite meal is a stocked pantry
In addition to the standard nutrients of dark green leaves, vitamins A, C, and folic acid, watercress is well-stocked with iron and calcium. It also contains surprisingly high levels of iodine, which serve to improve hormone regulation via its impact on the thyroid. Perhaps a clue to watercress’ ability to help muscle recovery, the thyroid controls the metabolism and the amount of protein being released into the blood, and orchestrates the functioning of several other organs by these mechanisms. It controls how and when nutrients are rerouted to distressed muscle tissue, effectively making the body more immediately aware of the need.
The third line of defense
The plant also stocks a chemical called phenethyl isothiocyanate, which has been shown to cause apoptosis in cancer cells. Apoptosis, or ‘programmed cells cell death’, is a kind of biological self destruct feature that organisms use to protect themselves against cells in their army that go rogue. Demonstrating this ability, consuming watercress shows a strong correlation with growth inhibition in breast and cervical cancers.