Researchers have finally caught up with the wisdom of mothers, who, for decades have been coaxing their children to eat spinach. We know this leafy green is a good source of folate, a very important B vitamin involved in cell division. Spinach is also rich in iron, making it a potentially important source of this mineral for vegetarians.

Now, researchers in Sweden have uncovered another reason to eat spinach. They appear to have provided an explanation for why Popeye, the cartoon character, had such large muscles and superhuman strength. There’s a growing body of recent research demonstrating that the inorganic nitrate found in certain vegetables might have important biological functions.

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