Was Popeye on to something?

At the moment that I began writing this blog I was facing writers block and extreme exhaustion. Then the cartoon gods sent me a gift, Popeye the Sailor Man. As I came across the classic cartoon I remembered his unbelievable obsession with spinach. As we all know Popeye would get all strong and all juiced up. popeyeAs a fellow lover of spinach I became curious if there is really is a substance in spinach that does increase strength. Spinach has an interesting history as being a healthy food. In 1870, when a german chemist didn’t put a decimal point between a 3 and a 5, it appeared that iron had 35 mgs of iron rather than 3.5, per a 100 gram serving. According¬†This Study, ¬†the nitrates in spinach are what causes the strength increase. The study separated groups of mice, giving one ¬†experimental group of mice nitrates in their water(Independent Variable), and one control group of mice just water. After time had passed the experimental group showed muscles that the control group didn’t have, and higher strength(Dependent Variable) in their muscles, thus rejecting the null hypothesis.

The circumstances surrounding spinach remind me of the scurvy case Andrew spoke of early in the semester. There was no mechanism for scurvy as Andrew mentioned; someone just caught on to the fact that sucking on a lemon helps scurvy. In reality scurvy is just a Vitamin C deficiency. People believed that spinach made you stronger due to a mistake made by a scientist. Although the final conclusion is true regarding that spinach made you stronger, just the reason believed is incorrect.

So if you are looking for a delicious way to repair and strengthen muscles that need it, spinach paired with exercise of course can help lead you there. If spinach isn’t your preference all you have to do eat something high in nitrates, the direct cause of the increased strength. If you prefer not to eat spinach, beets and most other leafy greens are also high enough in nitrates to make a difference.



2 thoughts on “Was Popeye on to something?

  1. Samuel Deluca

    As a hater of spinach I do not think the strength benefits of the food is worth it for me. However, I found this article to be very original and interesting.

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