Who is Popeye: How silly can you get?
You can be pardoned for asking this question if you live in an area with no cable TV as Popeye the sailor man is perhaps one of the most popular cartoon movie series that has been telecast on TV and an all time favorite of kids for generations. So you cannot escape by saying you are an adult as you must have read comic strip of the series as a kid yourself as the series has become 75 year old this year as it was first introduced to the world way back in 1929. There is a reason of asking this question though. This is the diamond jubilee year of the comic strip and Popeye memorabilia is being sold in different parts of the world to remind people about not just Popeye and his antics but also the fact that the secret behind his super strength is nothing else than spinach, labeled as a super food by nutritionists the world over. At that time when the comic was introduced, the creator thought spinach to be full of vitamin A and he made his hero gulp down a can of spinach to get muscular strength needed to beat Bluto, double his size. Bluto is another sailor like Popeye and has eyes on Olive Oyl, the girlfriend of Popeye who seems to be gullible. In the series there is also a cute looking baby who makes appearance only a few times. He is sweat pea whom many mistakenly assume as the baby of Popeye and Olive.
The need to popularize Popeye, and thus spinach is as relevant today as it has ever been. This is because of the shortage of quality food in these times of heavy pollution and adulteration. Spinach happens to be a food source full of all essential nutrients needed by our bodies on a daily basis. If you take interest in scientific bloopers, you must have read about SPIDES, which is an acronym that stands for Spinach Popeye Iron Decimal Error Story, and is a result of bad science practices. The scientist Von Bunge, while publishing the results of iron content in spinach, bungled and made a decimal error that let people believe iron content in spinach was ten times more than it actually was. However, this was a myth that helped in making spinach popular in the country and its sale and consumption increased manifold because of this myth.
Apart from being rich in iron, spinach is also rich in vitamin A known as beta carotene. It has been used in various cultures and civilizations for centuries and man kind has known its goodness in different forms since ages. While spinach is consumed fresh in Asian countries, it is sold frozen or in canned form in western countries mostly.
These days when half of the population is complaining of obesity and many other ailments, spinach with its goodness seems to be an ideal answer to myriad problems facing mankind. This is why we are celebrating our spinach hero, Popeye in 2012.
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