It’s doesn’t get much more leafy or green than spinach.
Here’s a fun fact: back in the 1870s, a German chemist named Erich von Wolf was analyzing the iron content in various foods. He found 3.5 milligrams of iron in a 100-gram serving of spinach, but when he wrote it down, he forgot the decimal point. This error was corrected in 1937, but even so, everyone thought for a long time that spinach was absolutely packed with iron, and that’s why Popeye the Sailor would get super strength whenever he ate it. We know now that while there is iron in spinach, it’s not an especially impressive amount, but just because it won’t give you arms like anchors doesn’t mean you should shirk the leafy stuff.
Spinach is a classic health food, rich in nutrients and antioxidants. A a single cup of spinach will give you 100% of your recommended intake of vitamin K, as well as vitamin A, vitamin C, and several different B vitamins for healthy red blood cells. Spinach also contains some very unique antioxidants, such as kaempferol. Studies show that this special flavonoid is natural deterrent for cancer, both preventing it from forming and slowing its effects. Another flavonoid, quercetin, has been linked to better defense against diabetes and heart disease.
Spinach is also great for your noggin, providing benefits for your brain and eyes. Studies show that older adults who consume spinach regularly show a significantly lower rate of cognitive decline as they get older. You’ll have a mind like a steel trap, if I may return to the iron metaphor. Studies have also shown that spinach consumption reduces the chances of developing age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of loss of sight in adults over 50.
Spinach has a bit of a bitter taste, which can make it a little difficult for some folks to eat. Luckily, it blends really easily into most composite foods, including smoothies, salads, hummus, and even baked goods! You don’t know what you’re missing if you’ve never tried spinach pancakes.