Spinach Must be Cooked

Spinach suddenly became popular when she appeared in every episode of the cartoon Popeye the Sailor Man in the era of 70s and 80s. Does Popeye ate canned spinach that has been cooked or raw spinach she ate?

Spinach is a source of non-heme iron, which is found in plant sources. Non-heme iron is not as heme iron found in animal products. Raw spinach contains oxalic acid is called inhibitor or oxalate. Oxalic acid binds naturally with minerals such as calcium and iron, making it difficult to absorb the body.

Cooking spinach can help unlock inhibitors of iron absorption and increases the bioavailability of iron. In other words, cook spinach helps make the iron more available to our bodies.

In 1 cup of raw spinach contained 0.8 mg of iron, compared with the 1 cup of cooked spinach contains 6.5 mg of iron. While in a cup of raw spinach contains only 30 mg of calcium, compared with the cooked spinach contains 245 mg of calcium.

Men need 8 mg of iron per day, while pre-menopausal women need 18 mg, while pregnant women need 27 mg of iron. So, cooked spinach provides a significant source of iron.

Oxalic acid is naturally present in many foods. Spinach is not the only foods that contain the mineral. Grains such as wheat, vegetables such as radishes, seeds, and nuts all contain oxalic acid. If we eat raw spinach and other iron-rich foods, maybe this will strengthen the absorption of iron from the following foods:

- Meat, fish, or poultry.

- Fruits: oranges, melons, strawberries, fruits and other vitamin C-rich

- Vegetables: broccoli, brussel sprouts, tomatoes, tomato juice, potatoes, red and green peppers.

- White wine.

It turns out Popeye made the right decision to eat canned spinach that has been cooked. Of course we are now able to make a product that is fresher than canned. Because the vitamin content in spinach can dissolve in water during boiling, then the best way to cook spinach is steaming or using the microwave or pan-fried.