Friday, August 18, 2017

Good-For-You Foods That Are Bad For You?

Have you ever found out that something that was supposedly good for you is now bad for you?  And vice-versa?  Remember the egg saga?
With eggs it was on again off again like a bad romance.  

Well, Pop-eye may have been wrong about spinach.  
What!? Isn’t spinach high in vitamins A and C and folate? A good source of riboflavin, vitamin B-6, calcium, iron and magnesium?  
Well--Perhaps not!  There is some controversy regarding its super high oxalic acid content (about 50 times higher than other leafy green veggies) 

What is an oxalate, you ask? 
Wikipedia explains:
Oxalate (IUPAC: ethanedioate) is the dianion with the formula C
4, also written (COO)2−
2. Either name is often used for derivatives, such as salts of oxalic acid, for example sodium oxalateNa2C2O4, or dimethyl oxalate ((CH3)2C2O4). Oxalate also forms coordination compounds where it is sometimes abbreviated as ox.

Many metal ions form insoluble precipitates with oxalate, a prominent example being calcium oxalate, the primary constituent of the most common kind of kidney stones.
Oxalates are common in many vegetable products, though they play a much worse role in some. Soy, for example, also contains the “anti-nutrient” called oxalate that binds to calcium and prevents its absorption in the human body.  

So spinach and soy may contribute to kidney stones and decreased calcium absorption.  Soy has such a heavy oxalate content that it not only prevents calcium absorption from the soy itself, it seeks out calcium in the human cellular structure, binds to it and depletes the body of existing calcium reserves.
This depletion can cause many calcium deficiency diseases. Additionally the lumps of coagulated, oxalate-bound calcium are a common cause of kidney stones.

For raw greens, I prefer kale (see my kale salad recipe).  Green veggies are high in chlorophyll.  Kale is simply bursting with vitamins and minerals.  It is packed with vitamins A and C as well as calcium and beta-carotene.

Dr. Weil points out that cooking can break down oxalic acid, but as I understand it, you have to boil spinach and drain the water in order to be rid of the oxalate content

If you want to boost your bones, this magnesium supplement is currently a huge seller for those who want to support bone strength by absorbing more calcium. 

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