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  • Oxalic Acid: A Problem In Greens or A Nutritional Bonus?




    Rainbow Chard and Oxalic Acid

    Oxalic Acid is a hazy subject with lots of conjecture and not much actual fact. It has been challenging to find reliable information with sources listed. As in all food-related research, each individual must see how their individual body responds to particular foods.

    I particularly like the following quote:

    Before we even begin, let us emphasize that we are not physicians or trained medical persons; if you drink bleach and get sick, don’t say “but they said oxalic acid is no big deal.” – Oxalic Acid and Foods

    This really sums up the common sense factor needed when reading anything, whether it is online or in a book.

    It may also be important to note that many believe Oxalic acid is important for colon health. However, it is only available to the body in the raw form. Additionally when you cook greens, the Oxalic acid content seems to increase to many professionals recommend eating greens high in Oxalic acid either raw or only very lightly cooked. There is some research that even suggests that, when eaten in raw foods, oxalic acid is very beneficial and may be part of the reason many of these foods are also on lists of great anti-cancer foods.

    Basically, the only plant with a high enough oxalic acid content to be toxic is rhubarb, and then only the leaves. All of the other greens that are high in Oxalic acid (each list is a little different) can be eaten and enjoyed as part of a diet of diverse healthy foods, and rich in greens. (So enjoy your green smoothies with spinach, chard and more!)

    If you have a genetic predisposition to kidney stones then it would be wise to monitor your intake of oxalic acid. If this isn’t the case, then go ahead and enjoy your chard!

    For those people who are prone to kidney stones, I would recommend that you have tests done on the stones to see exactly what is causing them, as there are several things that could be the culprit.

    I’ve included URLs below from the sites I gleaned my information from. If you are prone to kidney problems, then I recommend cranberries to help with this. Fresh is best, however dried ones or tablets also help. The cranberries combat infections and stones.

    Blessings,
    Veronica

    http://growingtaste.com/oxalicacid.shtml

    http://www.fredericpatenaude.com/questions/oxalicacid.html

    http://www.beautifulonraw.com/raw-food-blog/why-eat-raw/raw-food-livestyle-and-oxalic-acid-consumption/

    http://www.rhubarbinfo.com/rhubarb-poison.html

    http://adam.about.com/reports/000081_2.htm

    http://oxalate.wikispaces.com/page/code/home

    http://health-cancertreatment.blogspot.com/2008/01/oxalic-acid-cure-for-cancer.html

    Editor’s Note:  I asked Veronica to research Oxalic acid because some of our readers were concerned when reading about the high Oxalic acid content in some of the wonderful greens they are now consuming when making green smoothies. As you can see it is a complicated research topic! If anyone has any information to add, please add it to the comments so we can together offer complete information to readers as they research the topic themselves.




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    13 Responses to “Oxalic Acid: A Problem In Greens or A Nutritional Bonus?”

    1. By Hanlie on Mar 16, 2009

      Thanks for this! I had wonderered, since so many books mention oxalic acid, but then I looked at everyone consuming green smoothies and I thought, “Sometimes you have to trust the living proof, instead of the scientific conjecture…” Clearly green smoothes are enormously beneficial to our health, so I’ll just keep on drinking them!

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    2. By Kristen's Raw on Mar 16, 2009

      Great post!

      Cheers,
      Kristen

      [Reply]

    3. By Kristen's Raw on Mar 16, 2009

      Great post!

      Cheers,
      Kristen

      [Reply]

    4. By JASBIR SINGH BHANGU on Apr 16, 2009

      I HAVE JUST TAKEN BYCHANCE THE JUICE OF SPINACH BY CONSIDERING IT TO BE ANTIOXIDANT.I DID NOT FEEL WELL. THEN I CHECKED IT ON INTERNET AND FOUN THAT ITS HIGH CONTENTS OF OXALIC ACID ARE HARMFUL AS THE OXALIC ACID EAT UP THE CALCIUM OF BODY TO FORM CALCIUM OXALATE .SO I HAve IDEA OF TAKING THE JUICE OF SPINACH IN FUTURE.

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    5. By JASBIR SINGH BHANGU on Apr 16, 2009

      I HAVE JUST TAKEN BYCHANCE THE JUICE OF SPINACH BY CONSIDERING IT TO BE ANTIOXIDANT.I DID NOT FEEL WELL. THEN I CHECKED IT ON INTERNET AND FOUND THAT ITS HIGH CONTENTS OF OXALIC ACID ARE HARMFUL AS THE OXALIC ACID EAT UP THE CALCIUM OF BODY TO FORM CALCIUM OXALATE .SO I HAVE LEFT THE IDEA OF TAKING THE JUICE OF SPINACH IN FUTURE.

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    6. By Veronica on Apr 17, 2009

      Jasbir,
      The amount of oxalic acid needed to harm you is quite high compared to the small amounts found in plants. Unless you have problems with kidney stones, having spinach shouldn’t be a problem.
      Blessings,
      Veronica

      [Reply]

    7. By benjamin on Feb 21, 2010

      All your concerns about oxalic acid and how it cures cancer and many other diseases can be addressed by going to http://www.coljoe.com

      [Reply]

    8. By Gabriel Ellis on Jun 21, 2010

      i like reading food blogs because i am always seeking for new recipes..~:

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    9. By LiZa Bliss on May 26, 2012

      What if…………..the so called crystals are what energy healers refer to as stuck energy? Maybe it is the tangible manifestation of unresolved stuff ready to be released? What if continued detoxing with glorious greens will flush it out? Maybe more detoxing is necessary not less? Just a point of view………..

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    10. By Lindajoy on Jun 14, 2012

      My understanding from reading about oxalic acid is that it can aggravate arthritis, so I’ve aimed to minimise my intake of oxalic greens – especially wild sorrel. I can’t say I’ve noticed any increase in arthritic pain when I do eat them. But chard seems too acidic or astringent for me and sometimes causes reflux. It also stimulates bowel evacuation!

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      Reply by LiZa Bliss on June 14th, 2012

      What do you think? I have a theory that the aggravation to arthritis that we might experience from certain foods is an attempt to cleanse it out. Yes, like other cleanse symptoms it may not be comfortable.

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    11. By zaina on Aug 13, 2012

      I’m very grateful for this discussion. I’ve been drinking green smoothies for years, and often have done a few weeks of only green smoothies. At first I felt better & better for it. BUT I didn’t know to rotate the greens and consumed heaps of parley and chard everyday, as it grew in abundance in my garden and recently ate heaps of cooked chard as there was so much available. Then I got sudden severe pains just below my knee when I make certain, none strenous moves, (even just clothes or bed sheet pulled across can cause sudden severe pain!) or wearing tight leggings! So I had to change my clothes style & eating patterns cos it started to spread to other joints and got me really worried. A nauturopath suggested it may be due to oxalic acid crystals, so I’ve cut back on the greens a lot and avoid chard, spinach and parsley for now. The pain has reduced in the last few months but not gone completely. So I tried to research oxalic acid but found confusing and inconsistent info. Particularly there is little info on oxalics in weeds. What about miners lettuce and chickweed for example? Any comments or info gratefully appreciated.

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    12. By pikka on Nov 24, 2012

      Oxalic acid cannot increase because of cooking.
      Can’t be more out than put in. BUT, because
      when you cook greens they become wilted and
      “small”, you could eat much more than if fresh
      and “fluffy”.

      [Reply]


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