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Do Greens Harm or Help Your Health?

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Do Greens Harm or Help Your Health?

Many people are afraid of eating too many greens because they have heard the possible dangers of consuming too much oxalic acid. Greens, like certain plant foods, are high in oxalic acid.

You might already guess my stance on this controversy, but just in case there is any confusion, I will spell out my personal reaction to these concerns at the end of this post.

The Problem:

1. Oxalic acid binds with some nutrients, making them inaccessible to the body. To eat large amounts of high oxalic foods over a period of weeks to months may result in nutritional deficiencies, most notably of calcium.

2. Oxalic acid is associated with the formation of kidney stones. If you have kidney problems, your doctor may advise you against eating foods with high levels.

3. Oxalic acid poisoning symptoms include weakness, burning in the mouth, cardiovascular collapse, burning in the throat, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, and coma.

4. Individuals with gout, rheumatoid arthritis, or certain forms of chronic vulvar pain are advised to avoid foods high in oxalic acid or oxalates.

Next page: Are these problems reasonable? What are the benefits?

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Read more: Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Food, Health, Vegan, Vegetarian, , ,

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Diana Herrington

Diana Herrington turned a debilitating health crisis into a passion for helping others with healthy, sugar-free, gluten-free, eating and cooking. After testing and researching every possible healthy therapy on her delicate system she has developed simple, powerful principles which she shares in her recent book Eating Green and Lean, and as host to Care2 groups: Healthy Living Network and Healthy Cooking. She is the head chef at Real Food for Life, where she shares recipes and tips. Sign up for the Real Food for Life weekly newsletter or catch her on Facebook or Twitter (@DancinginLife).


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8:42PM PDT on Jul 13, 2014


10:35PM PST on Nov 15, 2012

Thanks for making me confused. you've just told me that oxalic acid is bad for me/good for me. You've just listed all the stuff I eat every day and that they are high in oxalic acid. Then you tell me that if I suffer from gout - thanks to incompetent doctors prescribing the wrong medication I do - I shouldn't ingest oxalic acid - I know it forms crystals in the joints. So pray tell what the Mary Ellen am I supposed to do about oxalic acid foods. I'm with Karen M on this article -- and learn to put your info on one page -- some of us have neither the time or patience to bother with multi-page articles. I only bothered with this because of the gout issue.

8:57AM PST on Nov 14, 2012

very useful info

11:06AM PST on Nov 11, 2012

Thanks for useful info.

7:02PM PST on Nov 9, 2012

Thank you so much for a well-researched and informative article.

7:41PM PST on Nov 6, 2012

Thanks for the information, I was told that heat was good.

3:05AM PST on Nov 4, 2012

Thank you for the information!

7:52AM PDT on Nov 2, 2012


6:17AM PDT on Nov 2, 2012

Thanks for the info.

4:52AM PDT on Nov 2, 2012

I have never heard of oxalic acid and I certainly would never consider decreasing the amount of green vegetables in my diet, and in fact I am trying to increase the amount. Only if I started to get some of the symptoms would I ever think twice about it and even then I'd get the opinion of my GP before cutting out foods that are in every other way fantastically healthy for us.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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