Ooo... What are you gonna do, eat your spinach?
Quite simply, this is a foodstuff Power Source
that bestows some benefit when eaten. The powers may be temporary or permanent, the food might work only for one specific character, it may even be just a placebo
, but the result is the same — ingesting it gives the eater positive results, often granting super powers
or turning him into a Badass
Differs from Super Serum
in that the Power-Up Food
does not seem rare, unusual, or hard to produce. As a general rule of thumb, a Power-Up Food
should not look out of place if it appears at a grocery store.
A very popular Power-Up
item in Video Games
. Many times, the Power-Up Food
is also the Trademark Favorite Food
for the character, for obvious reasons.
When eating food only
restores health (but does not grant any other new abilities), the trope is Hyperactive Metabolism
When this trope is used to sell Real Life
food products, then the trope is Cereal Induced Superpowers
. Also see Bottled Heroic Resolve
and Transformation Trinket
. May invoke Addiction Powered
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Anime & Manga
- Eigetsu from Saiunkoku Monogatari turns into Yougetsu when he drinks sake. At first it seems he's just a Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass with a side-order of Drunken Master, but it eventually becomes clear that Yougetsu, in addition to badass Kung-Fu skills, has inhuman strength, reflexes, stamina, and rapid regeneration. At one point, Eigetsu reverts into Yougetsu after having spent weeks being starved and tortured to the point where he can't stand unsupported, and in addition to being strong enough to sprint on the spot, when he's seen a brief while later, all his wounds are healed... It's eventually revealed that Yougetsu is one of eight immortal sages, specifically the Sage of White; he possessed Eigetsu to save his life. Sake brings him out because he really likes sake.
- Kataoka Yuuki of Saki fame might apply, as eating enough tacos appears to be a prerequisite for her to maintain her mahjong-limited probability manipulation powers.
- From One Piece:
- Devil Fruits in general, eating one gives you a super power but takes your ability to swim. Also, eating more than one will cause you to explode. It's worth noting that the rarity of Devil Fruits varies a lot geographically: In the Four Blues and Red Line regions, Devil Fruits are a once-in-a-lifetime chance, and few people even get that chance. In Paradise, the first half of the Grand Line, Devil Fruits are still once-in-a-lifetime chances, but one can expect to eventually come across one if one stays in Paradise for long enough. In the New World, the second half of the Grand Line, Devil Fruits are pretty common (though very valuable) and seem to be casually given out as prizes.
- Luffy can recover from just about any injury so long as he's eaten enough meat. At one point this is even Lampshaded by Nami collecting as much meat and booze as she can to help Luffy and Zoro recover from injuries faster.
- Brook is a living skeleton, so he drinks milk to heal himself, because everybody knows milk is good for bones. It doesn't actually work.
- Franky's cyborg abilities are literally powered by cola.
- Apparently Sanji has learned how to make "Attack Cuisine" over the timeskip. One such recipe from the whole cuisine, Hormone Soup with Sea pork, is revival type of food that will warm one up and ease a tired body.
- Rock Lee from Naruto turns into a (drunken) berserker from just one sip of alcohol.
- Quent Yaden from Wolf's Rain gains ability to see through the wolves' illusions after consuming some alcohol, making him pretty much the only regular human who can.
- It's implied that this is a result of either him being in a constant drunken stupor (and thus immune to telepathic control), or because he has blurry vision (other characters are shown to catch glimpses of the wolves in their true forms via electronics or the lenses in the helmets worn by the soldiers hunting the wolves, or when "punch drunk").
- An elderly couple is also able to easily tell that the wolves are wolves, suggesting that perhaps visual impairment may, indeed play a roll in seeing through their disguise.
- Goku of Dragon Ball Z gets a power boost merely on a full stomach. Conversely, an empty stomach left him weak and vulnerable, though this was shown to be psychological rather than than physical.
- This seems to be a common trait with Saiyans, their game improves on a full stomach.
- Inverted during the World Martial Arts Tournament just before Majin Buu comes in to the story Vegeta reckons he could defeat Goku by punching him in the stomach when he is full and possibly make Goku throw up.
- The Senzu beans also count. They can bring you from near death to full health in seconds and leave you with a full stomach that lasts 10 days (unless you're a Saiyan.)
- Dragon Slayers in Fairy Tail are powerful fighters on their own, but they gain a massive temporary boost when they eat something of their respective elements, some of which can be very common things. Although, if you see fire in a grocery store it's probably not for sale.
- The same goes for for God Slayers and appearantly Devil Slayers.
- Dragon Slayers also can eat other magic substances or other elements, but with negative side-effects. However, the Eterion Natsu ate activated his Dragon Force mode, and when Natsu ate Laxus' lightning, he became a Lightning Flame Dragon Slayer. Gajeel became an Iron Shadow Dragon Slayer by eating Rogue's shadow magic. And Future Rogue became a White Shadow Dragon Slayer after eatin Sting's light magic.
- Kinnikuman gets his strength from garlic early in the series. He mostly uses this to grow big and fight giant monsters. This possibly because the Japanese word for garlic is ninniku.
- Ranma ˝ has the legendary Super Strength Soba noodles, which confer herculean strength to whoever eats them. After Akane mistakenly ate Happosai's, she was able to lift, toss, juggle, and split in half multi-ton, two-stories-tall iron bells. Unfortunately, they had the side-effect of sprouting whiskers on her face until she took the antidote.
- A virtual staple of Toriko. If Toriko eats a food that his Gourmet Cells crave, it'll lead to an immense power-up for him.
- In Kare wa Diablo!, Meiko activates her Super Strength when she eats an anpan.
- Bleach gives us Kirio Hikifune, a Supreme Chef who charges the meals she makes with her own reiatsu to power-up the people who consume them. It's also kind of a subversion: she can do this with any meal she cooks.
- Marine Boy is able to breath underwater without recourse to aqualungs or similar devices, as long as he's chewing on his handy Oxy-Gum.
- Pokémon had Ash's Grotle accidentally swallow Energy Ball whilst it was charging it up during a fight with a Rhyperior. It then pushed said Rhyperior, which usually weighs in excess of 620lbs, nearly out of the ring. Even when Rhyperior used it's tail as a brake, it only inconvienced Grotle.
- Tom Strong gets his longevity and physical prowess by ingesting goloka, a root native to the island of Attabar Teru. Other natives of the island (and other members of Tom's family) also use goloka for similar benefits.
- Tom Strange, the Terra Obscura version of Tom Strong, gets his powers from a concoction of his own devising called Alosun. His sometime-comrade the Liberator, meanwhile, uses an ancient Egyptian potion called Lamesis to gain his powers.
- Herbie, The Fat Fury gets numerous powers from lollipops. These include invulnerability, super-strength, talking to animals, walking on air, hypnosis, and time travel.
- Pre-crisis Superman Comics guest star Captain Strong, who is a humanized Popeye, eats alien seaweed Sauncha to get super-strong. It also makes him crazy.
- Captain Strong is still a character in Superman, but sauncha's been dropped.
- 1940's publisher Standard Comics hero Super Mouse (the big cheese) gained strength by eating "super cheese", which was made of milk from, what else?...a super cow!
- In Tintin, Captain Haddock could be re-energized by alcohol. Tintin even carries around a spare bottle for emergencies.
- The Swedish comic Bamse features a bear who gets super strength when he eats dunderhonung, a special kind of honey mixture made by his grandmother. Anyone else eating it gets three days of horrible stomach cramps, though his older daughter gets super-ursine strength and a tummyache — and his younger daughter, to everyone's surprise, gets neither.
- Ralph Dibny, the Elongated Man, used a tropical fruit called "gingo" (and a commercially available soda made from it called "Gingold") to acquire his superhuman stretchiness. He's since died, but what're you gonna do.
- Ralph's Crowning Moment of Awesome occurs in the Crisis Crossover series 52. He spends most of the series playing the role of the washed-up, super-powerless has-been, despondent over the loss of his wife, constantly swigging from a hip flask as he plays detective, searching for the person who pulled him into a phony resurrection scam. When he finally confronts the person responsible, it turns out that the flask was, in fact, full of Gingold.
- Bananaman from The Dandy is a parody of superheroes who is usually a weedy schoolboy called Eric Wimp, until he eats a banana and transforms, a la Billy Batson to Captain Marvel, into Bananaman. Eating a second banana while in this form makes him even stronger.
- Souperboy from The Topper involved a boy who gained superpowers after eating soup.
- Some Disney comics have Goofy becoming the heroic Super Goof, gaining Flying Brick powers (and a costume consisting of a red union suit and blue cape) when eating "super goobers" (peanuts) that grow in his backyard.
- Captain Carrot, from Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew!, gains his powers from eating "cosmic" carrots.
Film - Animation
- In the story for Wreck-It Ralph, Felix becomes temporarily invincible when he eats a power-up pie in-game. In the off-hours, the handyman just eats it because he likes it.
Film - Live Action
- That Man From Rio - Adrian has pursued his girlfriend's kidnappers to a bar in a floating village deep in the Amazon. He sees them departing as he's stuck in a full-scale bar brawl. After repeated failed attempts to get to the door, he grabs a big glass of liquor and downs it, perks up, and fights his way through the melee like a booze-driven Popeye.
- The Drunken Master becomes unstoppable once he has just the right amount of alcohol in his system.
- Though she didn't see them as being beneficial, the shrinking potion and growth-inducing cake from Alice in Wonderland would qualify.
- In modern revisions of the story, such as the Tim Burton movie or the giantess comic "Evil Alice in Wonderland", Alice grows Genre Savvy enough to use this to her advantage.
- Similarly, the mushroom that makes Alice grow or shrink, depending on which side is eaten.
- Though he was hypnotized into thinking he was Captain Underpants, Mr. Krupp only got his Flying Brick powers after drinking "Extra Strength Super Power Juice"... that was stored in an alien milk carton.
- The more eggs Mr. Strong from the Mr. Men series eats, the stronger he gets.
- Lift from Words Of Radiance can turn food directly into "awesomness". Nobody's really clear on how she does it.
- In Mistborn: The Original Trilogy Allomancers fuel their powers by magically metabolizing specific metals, which first have to be ingested.
Live Action TV
- One episode of Gilligan's Island had the castaways gaining superpowers after eating a shipment of radioactive vegetables.
- The "sports candy" in LazyTown, particularly if eaten by Sportacus, but sometimes with other characters as well.
- In The Secret World of Alex Mack, whenever the protagonist eats curry, she'd gain Super Strength.
- Angel did this in "Not Fade Away". Angel was getting pwned by Hamilton until he fed off Hamilton and the superpowered blood gave him the upper hand (along with Connor showing up).
- Referenced in an episode of Married... with Children. Kelly and Bud try to think of a way to get a jukebox in the house for their parents without them knowing it:
Kelly: I know. How about you carry it upstairs?
Bud: Sure, Kel. But first, let me eats me spinach.
- In Rifts, Crazies are people with neural implants that give them enhanced reflexes, strength, and speed, in exchange for driving them, well, crazy. One of the possible manias a Crazy can have is called "Popeye syndrome", the belief that they are effectively helpless unless or until they eat a certain food. It's all psychological, but a Crazy with Popeye syndrome really will have stat penalties if they haven't eaten that food recently, and bonuses if they have.
- The same neurosis (among others) is also available in their Superhero genre game Heroes Unlimited.
- The Magnificent Milkmaid and The Chocolate Milkmaid get super-strength, super-size, and other powers whenever they drink milk, even if it's their own.
- Fruits seem to work this way in the Axe Cop universe, although it isn't consistent: when Dinosaur Soldier eats an avocado, he becomes "Avocado Soldier" and transforms into a giant avocado that can shoot explosive avocados; Axe Cop eats a lemon and turns into "Axe Cop With Lemon" - basically himself with a lemon wedge on his axe and the power to throw lemon grenades; and when Telescope Gun Cop and Uni-Baby eat apples, their hands turn into apples that can shoot apples. Yeah.
- In the world of Heart Core, the titular items (which are crystals gathered from the hearts of living creatures), can be eaten by demons in order for them to heal injuries and have their magical powers renewed.
- The spinach from Popeye is probably the first and most well-known example. Most of the time, Popeye himself is the beneficiary, but several cartoons have shown other characters eating spinach and powering up as well, such as two hilarious episodes where Popeye and Bluto are trying to get injured so that Nurse Olive can take care of them, culminating in Popeye force feeding Bluto Spinach.
- Goofy temporarily transforms into Super Goof by eating a Super Goober. Other characters have consumed Super Goobers and become temporarily super as well.
- Scooby Snacks, sometimes.
- In Over the Hedge, at the climax, Hammy drinks some soda to enter Caffeine Bullet Time .
- Super Chicken's super sauce falls under this trope, especially since he typically drinks it from a martini glass. Although since the recipe varies with each episode, it's most likely just a Magic Feather for his own powers. (Emphasized by a Running Gag on the show that made taking the sauce different each time; One time Fred adds too much corn starch, and the sauce has to be eaten with a spoon. Another time, it's 'instant super sauce,' which needs water added. Still another time, Fred gives him steak sauce by accident, and the hero hurts himself trying to break through a wall.)
- As expected, the Hanna-Barbera cartoon showed Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man eating power pellets to fight Mezmaron's ghosts. The power pellets are grown in a forest.
- One episode also had special power pellets that gave the characters superpowers.
- In the Christmas episode, power pellets help Santa recover from crashing his sleigh, and give his reindeer the ability to fly fast enough to save Christmas at literally the last minute.
- The Bugs Bunny cartoon "Super-Rabbit" has Bugs (temporarily) gaining Superman-like powers by eating experimental "super carrots". When Bugs loses his carrots, the villain (a Captain Ersatz of Lyndon Johnson, a US Representative at the time) eats them and gets super powers as well.
- For another Disney example: Gummi Berry juice. For Gummis it makes them bouncy; for humans, it makes them super-strong.
- Codename: Kids Next Door had a one time villain named Cuppa Joe, a rig overseer who gained Super Speed from drinking excessive amounts of coffee. (Numbuh Five was able to gain similar powers from it, but seeing as she was a coffee "newbee", so to speak, the rush ended quickly and she collapsed after a minute or two.)
- The Mighty Heroes has Diaper Man's milk bottle, which provides extra strength in emergencies.
- Hero 108 Has Mighty Ray getting Shock and Awe powers from bananas. Unfortunately, he hates bananas. When he can keep them down he can throw out the most devastating attacks of any good guy in the show.
- One episode of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show had Mario gain a boost of strength from eating a hamburger he'd stored in his pocket.
- Technically, it was a meatball sub... and it didn't make him stronger... he just got fatter and caused the ropes to break.
- In Mighty Mouse's first appearance (when he was called Super Mouse) he gained his powers after going into a Supermarket and eating various Super-named foods. It was a one-time thing though - the Power Up was permanant.
- The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin has VitaminZ, which makes most species slightly stronger, but is addictive. If an illiper eats it, however, they become an armored giant with super strength and go into a berserker rage until they come in contact with enough water.
- Taz-Mania: In "We'll Always Have Taz-Mania", Hugh gets a Popeye-style burst of strength from orange juice, allowing him to swim up a 2000 foot waterfall pushing a boat.
- Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures: The iconic power pellets from the games are now berries and come in many colors and surface designs in this adaptation. Incidentally, Pac-Man here doesn't need to eat one beforehand in order to eat ghosts. However, he does need to eat them in order to access a wide range of powers which differ with each berry type.
- Subverted in Steven Universe, where Steven eats Cookie Cat ice cream sandwiches to power up his gem and summon his weapon. However, his gem doesn't activate when he needs it to in actual combat.
- Adventures of the Gummi Bears: Gummiberry juice gives Gummi Bears the ability bounce around, and grants humans Super Strength for a limited time.
- Comfort food. From a simple family recipe to some type of treasured treat, it's often said that food can reduce stress. However, trying to "eat yourself happy" can also cause obesity.
- Eating healthy can contribute as much or more to one's ability to perform a task as exercise and practice.
- Coffee helps you stay awake, stay warm and naturally raises your heart rate. However, it can also make you jittery and increase your blood pressure.
- Chicken soup if you've got a case of the sniffles.
- Spicy food has been said to boost one's metabolism. If you're sick, it might unclog your nose.
- It's generally recommended that you eat a snack before hitting the gym to give you the energy you need to put in a full workout.
- Large quantities of protein can help with post-workout recovery and can improve your memory.
- For Sean Payton, coach of the New Orleans Saints, it's juicy fruit.
- Chocolate milk is this oddly enough after a workout. It has a lot of protein and carbohydrates which you need for energy and to build up muscles, a lot of water in it, and some sugar and salt in it too.