Despite what Popeye led a lot of young people to believe, spinach is not particularly rich in iron. In reality, it has about the same iron content as many other green vegetables, according to Dr. Philip Kern, M.D., Department of Endocrinology/ Metabolism at UAMS. “Spinach also contains oxalic acid, which prevents more than 90 percent of the iron from being absorbed by the body,” says Dr. Kern.
The idea that spinach contained exceptional levels of iron originated in 1870 with Dr. E. von Wolf whose figures remained unchallenged until 1937, when it was discovered that the content was 1/10th the claim. The oversight resulted from a misplaced decimal point.
However, don’t skip the spinach entirely. Spinach is rich source of vitamin A, vitamin E and several vital antioxidants. Spinach also includes more than a half-day’s supply of beta carotene in just a half cup of the vegetable, adds Dr. Kern.
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