What most people do not know is about a sneaky chemical that lurks under all those health benefits – Oxalic Acid - a chemical actually linked to serious health disorders that lead to calcium deficiencies, kidney stones and gout among them...click to continue reading...
Oxalic Acid - The Silent Saboteur
Here’s what happens. Oxalic acid binds to calcium in your gut. When you eat a leafy green
vegetable that is high in calcium AND high in oxalic acid, the oxalic acid selfishly actually steals the calcium it in order to bind to it. Oxalic acid also forms crystals over time that actually cause muscle pain and is one of the contributing factors in the soft tissue pain in disorders like Fibromyalgia. These crystals, likened to grains of sand that bind together, build up within the soft and connective tissues -causing that "sore all over feeling."
When oxalic acid binds with calcium in the kidneys, it forms kidney stones – one of the most painful conditions where I have witnessed a 250 pound man brought to his knees.
Reducing Oxalic Acid in Vegetables
Yes, we need leafy greens in our diet. That said, we need to know which to avoid and how to reduce the oxalic acid in those we consume that contain it.
By gently steaming vegetables high in oxalic acid like spinach, parsley, Swiss chard, collard greens and kale you can increase the amount of absorbable nutrients. Be aware NOT to overcook them!
If your diet is high in leafy greens, especially if you juice or make vegetable smoothies on
a regular basis, Irecommend you supplement with calcium and magnesium to enable the oxalic acid to bind to the supplements in the gut rather than binding in the kidneys – reducing the risk of developing kidney stones.
Vegetables High in Oxalic Acid
Spinach, rhubarb, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, carrots, collard greens, green peppers, cabbage, beet, kale, eggplant, okra, squash, Swiss chard, parsley and lettuce. You shouldn't avoid the listed vegetables because they are high in potassium - a mineral which reduces the risk of kidney stones. Ones to definately avoid include rhubarb, parsley, beets, Swiss chard, collard greens radishes, and spinach since they have the highest oxalate content. The rest you should eat in moderation.
High Oxalic Acid Fruits
Most berries are high in oxalates, including red currants, concord grapes, tangerines, figs, and plums.
High Oxalic Nuts, Grains, and Seeds Grains like amaranth, wheat germ, wheat bran, and quinoa are unusally high in oxalates and should be avoided for those with kidney issues. Peanuts, pecans, almonds, cashews, and peanuts are other foods to stay away from if you have a history or propensity to kidney stones.
Other Foods High in Oxalic Acid
Individuals with kidney stone risk should avoid soy beans, black pepper, poppy seeds, cocoa, beer, tea, and chocolate. Additionally limit foods high in vitamin C since excess C can be converted to oxalates once in the body. Red meat should also be limited.
The Way I See It…
If you have a propensity for kidney stones and eat oxalic acid rich vegetables, supplement with calcium and magnesium for maximum protection from binding where they shouldn't be.
Be sure to gently steam and drain for the most health-enhancing benefits. Additionally, assure you are well hydrated DAILY to further reduce the risk of painful kidney stones and avoidable inflammation.