Vegetables are pretty amazing. We can all agree on that.
Leafy green vegetables help you lose weight, increase energy levels, and fuel your body. They’re also an excellent way to lower your risk for cancer.1
But beneath the leaves, they’re hiding something you probably didn’t know. It’s a natural chemical defense mechanism that prevents them from being eaten by insects, animals…and people.2
Of course, we still recommend you eat leafy greens every day.
So what’s the catch?
This sneaky chemical can lead to health problems down the road including calcium deficiencies, kidney stones, and gout…
Oxalic acid binds to calcium in the gut. It robs you of the calcium that you eat. When you eat a leafy green vegetable that is high in calcium and high in oxalic acid, the oxalic acid steals the calcium for itself by binding to it.
Oxalic acid also forms crystals over time that may cause muscle pain. Even worse… If oxalic acid binds with calcium in the kidneys, it can form kidney stones.
But again, you still need to eat your veggies. And thankfully there are a couple of options so you can keep them as part of your regular diet…
Gently steaming vegetables high in oxalic acid can significantly reduce the oxalic acid content.3
Some vegetables to do this with are spinach, parsley, Swiss chard, collard greens, and kale.
Lightly steaming some vegetables even increases the amount of nutrients you absorb from them. (But don’t overcook them! According to a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, cooking vegetables destroys an important cancer killing compound.)4
Supplementing with calcium and magnesium is also a good idea if your diet is high in leafy greens. The oxalic acid will bind to the supplements in the gut instead of the kidneys. This will aid in the proper digestion of oxalic acid and reduce your risk of kidney stones.
Bottom line: You can still get all of the benefits of eating your greens—just be sure to gently steam and drain them first. Steamed vegetables with some grass-fed butter is delicious and creamy. And the healthy fat in the grass-fed butter aids with nutrient absorption, too.
Or you can always supplement with calcium/magnesium.
So don’t skip your veggies. Just be sure you eat them the right way.