Spinach: If It’s Good Enough for Popeye…

Photo by Plat via Flickr

Photo by Plat via Flickr

Many people are familiar with Popeye the Sailor, a popular fist fighting cartoon character of the 1920’s through 1960’s.  Popeye sure knew what was good for him!  Just before a brawl he would down a whole can of spinach to give him super strength and ensure his victory.  It never disappointed.  Every time Popeye ate his spinach, he won.

In the United States, this spinach-loving cartoon character did a lot to popularize and increase demand for spinach. Manufacturers saw about a 30% increase in sales thanks to Popeye.  But does spinach actually make you stronger?

What are the health benefits of spinach?
Spinach will not give you temporary super strength like Popeye.  Nevertheless, it is a nutritional powerhouse worthy of inclusion in your diet.  Spinach is a dark leafy green vegetable that is rich in vitamins A, C, E and K, manganese, iron, folate, riboflavin and potassium.  Plus, it is a good source of dietary fiber and a potent source of antioxidants.

Eating spinach provides many health benefits.  It may decrease your risk of osteoporosis, cataracts, macular degeneration, heart disease and certain cancers, such as colon, ovarian and prostate cancer.  Plus, it helps to promote eyesight and gastrointestinal health and boosts energy levels.

Do I have to eat cold spinach out of a can like Popeye?
Spinach is available all year round at most major supermarkets and can be eaten in raw or cooked form.  Here are 6 suggestions that are tastier than Popeye’s cold spinach from a can recipe:

  1. Salad: Add fresh, raw spinach to other leafy greens or even on its own with a little pressed garlic, pepper, red wine vinegar and olive oil for a delicious salad. (Coincidence that Popeye’s girlfriend’s name was Olive Oil?  I think not.  The two go great together, both in recipes and in the cartoon.)
  2. Pasta: Add steamed chopped spinach to lasagna or any other pasta recipe that you enjoy.  It will not only improve the taste, but also the nutrient profile of this comfort food.
  3. Dip: Make a spinach dip and eat it with your favorite crunchy raw vegetables or with whole grain crackers.
  4. Omelet: Add spinach to your favorite omelet recipe.
  5. Side dish: Add a little nutmeg and olive oil to steamed spinach and have it with dinner.  (There’s that olive oil again.  In this case it tastes great, plus the fat in olive oil makes the body more able to absorb the vitamin E in the spinach.)
  6. Sandwich: Instead of using lettuce, put some spinach in your sandwich.

The bottom line:
Spinach is a highly nutritious food that has Popeye’s seal of approval and mine as well.  So, if you don’t eat it already, you should.  And if your kids don’t like it, maybe Popeye can convince them.  If you want to be healthy, it is a great choice because it tastes great and packs a healthy punch.  Just not the kind of punch that Popeye made it famous for.

Comments (3)

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  1. Maria Isabel says:

    We love spinach at our house. I even put spinach in my chicken vegetable soup. it tastes great!

  2. Blake says:

    Love spinach with everything…especially on sandwiches and in omelets. Such a good and healthy food!

  3. […] Nuevamente colocamos la espinaca en el centro de la atención. Ya sabemos que el personaje de dibujos animados, Popeye, fue el encargado de popularizar el consumo de esta verdura. De hecho, en ese entonces en Estados Unidos, aumentaron las ventas de espinaca alrededor de un 30%.  Ahora te contaremos un poco más sobre sus beneficios y te daremos un par de consejos para que integres la espinaca a tu dieta. […]

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