When children don’t want to eat their spinach their parents will often tell them: ‘It’s good for you and it’ll make you strong – just like Popeye!’ But how healthy is spinach, and how much iron does it really contain?
Spinach makes you strong
Popeye notably ate leafy green spinach to make him strong, but we certainly wouldn’t recommend his ‘tinned spinach approach’ as this tasty vegetable is best eaten as fresh as possible, and ideally should not be heated at all. If you want optimum benefit from its many nutrients, opt for raw or lightly steamed spinach rather than cooked spinach, because vitamins are lost when it is heated. According to a study conducted in Sweden, the nitrates contained in spinach promote muscle development, and people who eat plenty of spinach and other vegetables containing nitrates really do help their muscles to develop – so Popeye was right after all!
The ‘iron in spinach’ myth
Spinach has long been regarded as a real ‘iron bomb’ but this isn’t actually true, and the myth has been perpetuated for years all because of the accidental omission of a decimal point! For decades, spinach was believed to contain ten times more iron than it really does. In fact, 100 g spinach contains 3.8 mg iron (reduced to 2.9 mg when it’s cooked) and not, as initially communicated, 38 mg! Although the error was uncovered back in the 1930s, many people still believe spinach contains a lot more iron than it really does. But this doesn’t mean that spinach isn’t good for you; it’s a valuable source of nutrients, being rich in magnesium and many vitamins and, with 3.8 mg iron per 100 g, it still contains way more iron than lettuce (2.0 mg/100 g)!
Versatile, fresh and tasty
You can enjoy spinach in all sorts of ways – in salads, soup and smoothies just to start with! It also works extremely well in pasta and makes a delicious accompaniment to fish or potatoes. And, nicely seasoned and served with a splash of mayonnaise or salad cream, we’re sure you’ll be able to get your children eating this green leaf vegetable without any trouble – why not give it a try? Just in case you can’t think of a dish to serve right away, the Liebherr BioFresh compartment will keep spinach fresh for up to 2 weeks and, in refrigerators without BioFresh, it will stay fresh for 5 days.