In a Nutshell

Have you ever wondered ...

In a Nutshell is a quick peak into some of the interesting questions we have been asked.

If there is a question that you would like to have answered, just click the link below to drop us a line.

Have you ever wondered if coffee dehydrates you?

Coffee is a drink that many of us can't do without. We often start our day with a hot cup of coffee as it tastes nice, it gives us a boost of energy, and it can improve our mood. Catching up for coffee with our family and friends is an important part of our lives. However, there is a widely held belief that caffeine-containing drinks are dehydrating.

With summer fast approaching most of us are concerned about staying hydrated. With about 60% of our bodies made up of water, we know that drinking plenty of water is important. Not just to prevent dehydration, but for better digestion, to help our muscles and brain perform at their best, to regulate our temperature and blood pressure and for healthy skin and nails. 


So, do we need to be concerned that we are causing harm to ourselves when we indulge in that irresistible cup of coffee? 

The short answer is no! 

Recent scientific studies have shown that there is no difference in hydration levels between people who drink 3 to 4 cups of coffee per day and people who drink the same amount of water each day. Even during the heat of summer, where staying hydrated is particularly important, a moderate of amount of coffee will not cause dehydration. You may ask, what is a moderate amount of coffee? This is a great question, because there is a huge variation in caffeine content in different blends of coffee. Not only that, some people prefer a half strength coffee, whilst others prefer a triple shot! The consensus seems to be that up to 400 milligrams of caffeine a day is safe for most healthy adults. That's roughly the amount of caffeine in four 'regular' cups of brewed coffee.

So, feel free to enjoy your coffee, and count it alongside your water in boosting your fluid intake.

Have you ever wondered about Popeye and spinach?

"I'm strong to the finish 'cause I eats me spinach."

In the late 1920s Elzie Segar created the character Popeye, who possessed superhuman strength that came from eating cans of spinach. It is widely reported that Popeye's fondness for spinach comes from a mathematical error made back in the 1870s. 

A German scientist, Erich von Wolf, was researching the iron content of leafy green vegetables when he apparently made a simple accounting error which elevated the humble spinach to superfood status. A decimal point was incorrectly placed to give 100g of spinach an iron content of 35mg instead of 3.5mg.  

It has always been thought that Segar chose spinach because of this error, but in a 1932 comic the true reason spinach was chosen was revealed:

"Spinach is full of vitamin 'A' an' tha's what makes hoomans strong an' helty"

Whilst the iron in spinach isn't easily used by our bodies, it does contain a large amount of beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A. Vitamin A is important for many functions, including vision, immunity and reproduction. Spinach is also high in many other nutrients, including vitamin K, potassium, magnesium and folate.

Regardless of whether spinach is the victim of an urban myth or an accounting error, it is really good for us and we could probably all do with eating a little more of it.