As we begin our epic journey, myself and Ryan have arrived in Central Asia, the native home of the leafy vegetable known as spinach.As Ryan is two slices short of a full loaf, he’s going to ask the questions and so it’s my job to fill in the blanks.
So let’s get started.
WHAT IS IT?
It’s a can of Spinacia Oleracea; which for the less sophisticated readers of The Comics Code is what’s more commonly known as a can of spinach!Its first recorded appearance (the spinach, not the can) was in 647AD and it comes in three varieties; savoy, semi-savoy and smooth leaf.
OH. WHO DOES IT BELONG TO?
The spinach itself is pretty much widely available, but on this particular occasion (and for the purpose of this first chapter) it belongs to Popeye The Sailor Man, the comic-book character created by E.C Segar who made his debut in Thimble Theatre in 1929.Although Popeye ate spinach only occasionally in his early comic-book appearances, the vegetable soon became his staple diet thanks to his animated antics in theatrical cartoons and he now appears on some cans of spinach, to encourage kids to reach for another helping of vegetables.
TELL ME MORE...
WHAT DID IT DO FOR POPEYE?
Whenever the sailor knocked back a can of the green stuff it gave him a couple of superhuman abilities, most notably increasing his strength and giving him invulnerability.This allowed him to square up to his arch enemy Bluto who was constantly trying to come between Popeye and his main squeeze Olive Oyl.
WHAT WOULD IT DO FOR ME?
Well spinach is loaded with nutritional value and is a rich source of (get ready for this)... iron, zinc, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins A, C, E, K, B2 and B6!Spinach is also low in calories, contains chlorophyll which gives cells a boost of oxygen and is also a good source of fibre, which helps you poop!
SO IF I ATE SPINACH WOULD IT MAKE ME STRONG LIKE POPEYE?
Erm, no, not exactly.Spinach contains high levels of oxalate which works against all that good stuff, so it stops the body from making the most out of the vegetable.What that basically means is, although spinach has many great qualities the human body is a bit shite when it comes to absorbing all that iron and calcium.However the vitamin content is rather helpful as vitamin A is good for bone metabolism, vision and keeping the skin healthy and vitamin C helps to heal wounds and prevent scurvy, which means it stops your teeth falling out and your anus bleeding!Hurrah!So eating spinach doesn’t make you superhuman, but it does have many health benefits and if nothing else it shuts up the World Health Organisation who want everyone to eat five portions of fruit and veg a day!
And now you know.
SUPER SCIENCE EQUATION: Spinach + Ryan = Healthier human, but not super strong Ryan.
Oh well, like Phileas Fogg, Carmen Sandiego and Alan Whicker all rolled into one, we shall continue to travel the globe to uncover the sorts of information that only a no expense spared trip around the world could provide (outside of a laptop and a fast broadband connection).See you next time!