In comparison to red meat, which is among the best sources of iron, spinach is a fair source of iron. The recommended daily intake for iron is 8 milligrams for men and 18 milligrams for women. A half-cup serving of cooked spinach contains about 2 milligrams of iron. Because cooking has minimal effect upon the iron content in spinach, the equivalent amount of uncooked spinach offers the same amount of iron. (That is, you need to eat about 2 cups of raw spinach to equate to 1/2 cup of cooked spinach)
Due to the presence of oxylates (organic acids that naturally occur in foods), the iron in both raw and cooked spinach tends to be poorly absorbed by the body. However, if you eat spinach with some type of animal protein, such as putting turkey in a spinach salad or serving cooked spinach along with a chicken dinner, your body can better absorb the iron.
To boost your iron intake, I also recommend you eat a source of vitamin C at each meal, such as
-drink orange juice with breakfast
-adding tomato slices to your lunch-time sandwich
-and enjoying broccoli with dinner.
Cooking in a cast iron skillet can also boost your iron intake--especially if you cook an acidic food, such as tomato sauce, in the skillet. Another option is to choose iron-enriched breakfast cereals, such as Wheaties. Non-meat eaters have many ways to consume adequate iron, and reduce their risk of developing iron-deficiency anemia.
Perhaps more remarkable than its iron content (of which only 3% is absorbable), spinach is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, folic acid, magnesium, potassium and several other nutrients that are an important part of your sports diet. Pop-eye was strong to the finish for several reasons--the least of which was the iron in spinach! Yet, I do encourage you to keep eating your spinach for the other nutrients is contains.