Can Spinach Really Make You Stronger?
Spinach was popularized in North America by that good guy underdog of the comic world, Popeye the Sailor Man who made his debut in 1929. By the end of 1931 he had taken up the spinach eating habit s portrayed as a means for him to gain superior strength for performing superhuman feats. His popularity with comic fans made the notion of spinach eating being associated with strength and muscle mass very popular.
While Popeye is credited with boosting spinach sales in America and rescuing the spinach growers from financial ruin in the early 1930’s(according to Comics Kingdom), eating spinach is not likely to give you bulging muscles and super hero strength. However, it’s still pretty good stuff.
What’s So Good About Spinach?
It’s simply packed with nutrient value making it truly a health promoting food.
Spinach is one of the best sources of dietary potassium and magnesium, important electrolytes needed for maintaining optimum health. According to the USDA, Cooked spinach provides as much as 839 mg of potassium per cup. That’s even more than the potassium found in one cup of sliced banana, which has about 539mg. Not only that, spinach is also a very good source of zinc, phosphorus, vitamin B1, and choline as well as fiber, which aids digestion.
It’s also well-known to be rich in iron – even reported to contain more iron than a hamburger patty! According the USDA, a 100 g (3.5 oz) serving of cooked spinach contains 3.57 mg of iron, while a 100 g (3.5 oz) ground hamburger patty contains just 2.49 mg. But, while spinach is high in iron, it also contains oxalates which make that iron largely unusable by the body.
Similarly, the moderate amount of calcium spinach contains is also made less available to our bodies by the high oxalate content. Those same oxalates can be harmful to those with kidney or gallbladder problems.