Why Spinach Shouldn’t Rank First in Anemia Diet Any More?

When it comes to the food for anemia, spinach seems to be the first choice of many people.

Spinach is a traditionally golden standard for the anemia. Yes, it does have iron good for anemia. But we have mistaken it for too long. Iron in these leaves doesn’t mean iron in your blood stream.

Here are the 3 key points for a real and deep understanding of spinach.

1.How much iron do we need

Among nutritional disorders all over the world, iron deficiency can be taken as the most common one, which often happens among young women, pregnant women and young children.
Before searching for the right food, you better know how much iron is needed. Here is the reference in terms of gender and age:

Age Male Female Pregnancy Lactation
Birth to 6 months 0.27 mg* 0.27 mg*
7–12 months 11 mg 11 mg
1–3 years 7 mg 7 mg
4–8 years 10 mg 10 mg
9–13 years 8 mg 8 mg
14–18 years 11 mg 15 mg 27 mg 10 mg
19–50 years 8 mg 18 mg 27 mg 9 mg
51+ years 8 mg 8 mg

2. How much iron do Spinach provide

As a matter of fact, Iron from animals are able to be better absorbed as a 15-35% degree, while the its plant sources can only provide 10-20% benefit.
Let’s take a close shot in the spinach, our body can only get 10% of the complete iron content from it. For one cup boiled spinach, there is about 6.43 mg of iron there. In other words, the iron finally get into your blood is 0.64 mg. As a result, a young woman must eat 28 cups of fresh spinach, matching her 18 mg need.

3. Why iron absorption is so low in Spinach?

Oxalates in high amounts should be responsible for it, a kind of organic acids stopping iron absorption. It’s not harmful. You may hear it in the formation of kidney stones. But it is not quite clear if high oxalate intake from spinach can cause kidney stones. Actually, most dark green leafy vegetables, have iron and oxalic acid at the same time. So, meat, fish, and poultry are actually better choices.


In a word, the spinach doesn’t provide high iron for your body compared to other iron sources. You can try more meat, fruits and other veges together instead of depending on the tall tale of spinach.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.