by Kerry Cue
Alexandra Siferlin, The Truth about Antioxidants, Time, 6 AUG 2013.
The superfood industry spruiks many dubious claims. The first super food, according to Brainpickings website, was spinach.
Back in 1870, Erich Von Wolf , a German chemist, examined the amount of iron within spinach, among many other green vegetables. In recording his findings, he accidentally misplaced a decimal point when transcribing data from his notebook, changing the iron content in spinach from 3.5 milligrams of iron in a 100-gram serving of spinach, to 35 milligrams. It was corrected in 1937, but too late the myth was well established.
This study inspired the Popeye Cartoon character who gets colossal strength eating cans of spinach.
Unfortunately, it was just a maths blooper. According to Iron Facts, University Health Center:
1 cup of raw spinach contains 1mg iron.
The University Health Center claims a woman, 15 to 50 years of age, needs to consume up to 33 cups of raw spinach a day. According to the USA National Institutes of Health a woman 50+ only needs 8 cups or 8mg of iron a day.
Meanwhile, according to an article in New Scientist biochemist Barry Halliwell from the National University of Singapore the best approach to superfoods, antioxidants and diet is to: Stick to flavonoid-rich foods, red wine in moderation, tea, fruits and vegetables.
But the idea of there being superfoods is superbollocks!
Photo source: Halloween Costumes vintage Everyday blog