Are leafy, green vegetables entirely good for us?

It’s almost heretical to suggest that green vegetables might not be solely beneficial but if we consume them in large amounts this might lead to a build-up of a chemical called oxalic acid or oxalates which could be detrimental.   Excessive accumulation of oxalates can cause kidney stones, bladder pain and a condition mimicking a bladder infection called interstitial cystitis, vaginal discomfort, bone and joint pain, gum inflammation and a compromised circulation.   Oxalates can also bind minerals which can diminish, calcium, iron, zinc and magnesium levels.  Plant foods that are high in oxalates include spinach, Swiss chard, kale, collard greens, celery, parsley, endive, beetroot greens, dandelion greens, and turnip greens.  Mustard greens, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, mushrooms, onions, peas and zucchini are low in oxalates as are bananas, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, strawberries, apples, apricots, lemons and peaches.

 Aside from the above indicators, to find out if you are high in oxalates an organic acid urine test will identify this.  Certain probiotics or so-called beneficial gut bacteria have been shown to reduce oxalate levels, at least in laboratory rats.  These include a probiotic supplement called VSL 3 as well as lactobacillus casei and lactobacillus plantarum.

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