Science lessons from spinach

If you’re still bitter about being forced to down volumes of veggies as an infant, do what the Greeks do: blame the Germans. In 1870, as the Prussians fought the French in a bitter war, a German chemist, Erich von Wolf, was analysing the iron content of green vegetables. When rewriting data from his field notes, he misplaced a decimal point. Spinach was subsequently reported to contain enormous amounts of iron – 35 mgs per serving rather than 3.5 – and a long standing myth about the power of spinach was born. So strong was that myth that it seduced...

If you’re still bitter about being forced to down volumes of veggies as an infant, do what the Greeks do: blame the Germans. In 1870, as the Prussians fought the French in a bitter war, a German chemist, Erich von Wolf, was analysing the iron content of green vegetables. When rewriting data from his field notes, he misplaced a decimal point. Spinach was subsequently reported to contain enormous amounts of iron – 35 mgs per serving rather than 3.5 – and a long standing myth about the power of spinach was born.

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