Is spinach the best source of iron?

Spinach may not be the best source of iron, but there are still health benefits — and the supermarket bags are better still

Q: Is spinach as good for as you people say? I’ve heard that it’s hardly got any iron, even though we all associate it with Popeye and bulging muscles.

A: Spinach does give us iron, but our bodies can make use of only about half of what is present because within the spinach leaves, the iron is bound tightly to a substance known as oxalic acid, making it hard for our bodies to absorb it.

The bottom line is that while 50g of fresh baby spinach leaves in a salad gives us about 1mg of iron, of which we can make use of 0.5g, you need about a 70g portion of cooked spinach to provide about the same. To give this a sense of perspective, women should be aiming for 14.8mg a day; men 8.7mg a day.

Popeye would have been better off gulping down a steak with about 2mg of very easily absorbed iron or better still, the same weight of canned sardines with more than double this.

Source - Times


  1. The ONLY iron I have found that is easily absorbed and doesn't give me constipation is Spatone. It actually reminds me of the water I had to collect from the spring at hte bottom of the field on my Grandmothers' farm as a child. I loved it! Even the bits of orange (literally bits of iron!!)at the bottom!!

  2. Anonymous5:07 am

    long ago i had my doubts about that Popeye's favourite menu and yr above post simply confirms the fact, thanks for sharing the info

  3. But don't forget that spinach can help protect against eye disease, so it shouldn't be ignored.