Spinach was super-fuel for Popeye. But that's nothing compared to the superpowers we are now discovering.
Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently used nanotechnology to make growing spinach capable of detecting explosive residue in groundwater — such as from landmines — and then send that data back via email.
This veggie-sleuthing uses a technology called plant nanobionics, which puts electronic components into plants so they can do more than hang out and grow.
But they do plenty just as they are — especially spinach. This leafy green is actually in the same family as beets and beet greens, Swiss chard, and the grains amaranth and quinoa. Those are some great relatives.
Here are some other things you might like to know about spinach:
• One cup of raw spinach makes one serving. That delivers 34% of a person’s daily recommended intake of vitamin C. A bit less than one-half cup of raw spinach contains 24 calories, 2.3 grams of protein, 2.4 grams of fiber, and 553 mg of potassium.
• Whole Foods ranks spinach as the number one dietary source of magnesium and iron; number two for vitamins K, E, B2, and B6; and number three for folate, calcium, potassium, and vitamin A. Spinach also contains ALA, an omega-3 that is good for your heart, boosts insulin sensitivity, and can lower blood sugar. And baby spinach delivers even more anti-inflammatory flavonoids than larger leaves.
• The chlorophyll that gives spinach its bright green color has been found to have anticancer properties, and other components help battle tumors.
• To preserve nutrients when cooking spinach, steam or saute, don't boil.
Then, like Popeye, you can declare, "I am strong to the finish, 'cause I eats me spinach."