Body Composition: Popeye The Spinach Man

Popeye was a sailor man. He was also right.

This buffed up animated hard bastard knew a lot about nutrition long before any of us.

His scoffing of spinach for muscles and all round health was no accident!

A study out of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden has discovered that Nitrate (found in spinach) tones up your fast-twitch muscles.

These are the muscles your body calls upon for activities that require a lot of intensity, eg. Intense weight training or stair sprinting.


During tests on mice, scientists gave them drinking water containing nitrate. They then noticed a change in their fast-twitch muscles fibers (AKA TYPE 2 Muscle Fibers.)

They gave them an amount equivalent to a human eating 200 grams of spinach a day, which prompted an increase in two proteins that are used for storing and releasing calcium, which is vital to making muscles contract!

And the good news is, there’s not many calories in spinach either. Here’s a nutritional chart to show their content.

Essentially, the nitrate and our muscles are great mates. They’ll help you with your muscle-building activities, or your evening walk up a steep hill with your four-legged friend.

And if that’s not enough for you to reach for the spinach, the vegetable is also rich in vitamin C, folate and vitamin A. It also contains antioxidants to help protect eyes as we age and keep macular degeneration at bay.

However, before you rush out and buy Popeye memorabilia and start growing spinach in the backyard, remember there’s plenty of other super foods to help you grow strong!

They are:


Low in saturated fat, rich in zinc, high in protein and a major source of omega-3 fatty acids. Gents, these healthy fats and zinc will keep testosterone levels high, very important for one looking to gain muscle mass. And of course, these healthy fats (omega 3 fatty acids) help us in the war against burning body fat.


Full of different nutrients and antioxidants, mushrooms are indicating in recent cancer studies that they could help against breast cancer. Ladies take note.


The next time someone calls me a nut – I won’t be offended.

This super-nut is great for your heart health, giving you a combination of 28 essential nutrients embracing vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, fibre and protein. Then of course, there’s the zinc inside them. Zinc ties hand in hand with testosterone – vital for muscle growth.


Oats are high in beta-glucan, a soluble fibre that will keep your cholesterol down. Then there’s the other important fact – they’re LOW-GI! You know all about GI thanks to one of my previous videos on carbohydrates. If you missed it click here:


If you can bear breathing fire – your physique will love you for it.

Chillies raise your metabolic rate. Trying to lose weight? Don’t be shy, get into them! Go for RED chillies over GREEN.


A low GI fruit, and a great way to start the day! According to those at the Unites States Department of Agriculture’s Human Nutrition Centre – blueberries are the BEST for antioxidant activity, in comparison to other fruits and vegetables! Blueberries also improve our blood circulation.


They will strengthen your immune system, slow down the aging process and help your body fight disease.

So get into your spinach everyday, and think about these other super foods, regardless of your fitness goals!

And next time you see Popeye, shoot him a new pipe for his foolproof nutritional advice.

DAYNE HUDSON is the host of FIT’N’FLEXED – seen on YOUTUBE and coming to Australian TV screens in 2013. Check out his website via and remember to “like” his FACEBOOK page for regular updates and prizes! 

Happy Lifting!

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