Trivial spinach question

Richard Jensen rjensen at SAINTMARYS.EDU
Thu May 21 12:18:42 CDT 1998

My understanding of the origin of Popeye the Sailor is that he was
created by a cartoonist (Segar?) as a means to encourage children to eat
spinach.  It was known that spinach could alleviate various types of
anemia, so this was a "natural" remedy.  Apparently, it was thought that
the relatively high iron content of spinach enabled the body to produce
more hemoglobin, therefore improving the "patient's" iron-poor blood.  A
physiologist friend of mine once told me that the iorn in spinach is of a
form that is relatively inaccessible.  The anemia-alleviating property of
spinach is most likely attributable to its very high levels of folic acid.

This is only an anecdotal report based on some fuzzy recollections.  But,
I don't believe that the use of a sailor had any connection to the navy
trying to encourage spinach consumption.

Richard J. Jensen      |   E-MAIL: rjensen at
Dept. of Biology       |   TELEPHONE: 219-284-4674
Saint Mary's College   |   FAX: 219-284-4716
Notre Dame, IN  46556  |

More information about the Taxacom mailing list