How much iron does spinach contain?
Spinach is High in Iron - Myth or Truth?
There is hardly a myth that persists as this one that spinach is high in iron. However, this misconception arose from a mistake. The physiologist Gustav von Bunge studied the nutritional value of spinach in 1890. He came up with an iron content of 35mg per 100g of spinach. Sounds good at first, but von Bungen did not study fresh spinach at the time, but dried spinach. Fresh spinach, on the other hand, consists of 90% water. The iron content must be corrected by one decimal place, to around 3 mg per 100 grams, so the value is much lower than it was then. Yet the myth persists.
Iron is in the blood - so increasingly in animal products
Despite the content of only 3mg / 100g, there aren't many vegetables that contain more iron. The reason for this lies in the occurrence. Animal products naturally contain more iron, as it is mainly found in the blood. And since plants don't contain blood, these foods aren't that rich in iron. In addition, the body can process iron from animal products better. So if you want to increase the iron content in the body, you should rather use animal products.
At the top of the list are black pudding (30mg / 100g) and liver (20mg / 100g). However, since these foods do not suit every taste, it is a good thing that there are a few herbal products that are also high in iron. Wheat bran is the front runner among the plant-based products with around 16mg / 100g. Only sugar beet syrup can contain a similar amount of iron, up to 23mg / 100g. However, due to the weather conditions during the growth phase, this value fluctuates strongly.
Oxalic acid makes it difficult to absorb iron
But spinach really doesn't have an easy time of it. It already contains a lot of iron, which is quite high compared to most vegetables, but at the same time contains oxalic acid, which makes iron absorption difficult. But that is no reason to forego spinach. To make it easier for our bodies to absorb nutrients, they should consume spinach in conjunction with foods containing vitamin C. For example, drink a glass of orange juice with the spinach.
The digestibility of the vegetables can also be increased if you add some cream to the spinach during the cooking process.
Why iron is important
Our body needs iron because it is a component of the blood pigment hemoglobin. Iron is particularly important because it plays an important role in the supply of oxygen. The nutrient not only serves as a component of important metabolic processes, it also increases the ability to concentrate and pay attention.
Spinach also contains many other nutrients that are important for our body, such as magnesium, potassium, vitamin C and various B vitamins.
Tips and Tricks
There are tricks you can use to increase your iron intake:
- Prepare your food in an iron pan. The heat gives off small amounts of iron to the contents of the pan, which you then absorb when you eat them.
- Mix ferrous ingredients into smoothies. Vitamin C improves iron absorption.
- If you are aiming for improved iron absorption, you should avoid coffee, dairy products, green and black tea, among other things.
There are many myths and fairy tales in the field of nutrition. In our nutritionist training, you will learn from qualified lecturers which facts are nutritionally founded and which errors have persisted for generations.
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