Time to read: 2 minutes
Hey, I’m all about the truth and spinach has some surprising downsides. Yes, too much of a good thing can be bad for you — including spinach. Did you know that to avoid problems — and extract the most nutritional value from this famously nutritious veggie — you need to ingest olive oil? It’s no coincidence that Olive Oyl was Popeye’s gal pal… it’s scientific fact! Most of the vitamins in spinach need “good fat” to fully assimilate into our bodies. You’ve heard me and others praise spinach… now let’s take a fair and balanced look at the seriously surprising cons of spinach.
How spinach can hurt you
Spinach can be tricky. It contains goitrogens which are naturally occurring substances in some foods that can interfere with the functioning of the thyroid gland. Cooking helps to deactivate the goitrogenic compounds but the risk to those with thyroid problems is not fully known.
Spinach also contains another naturally occurring substance called purine. I know — it sounds like a great brand name of something that’s actually bad for you! Seriously… purine is in spinach. Excessive consumption of spinach can lead to excessive accumulation of uric acid in the body from the purine. Gout and kidney stones from uric acid are two examples of problems related to excessive consumption of foods containing purine.
Spinach also contains measurable amounts of naturally occurring oxalates. When oxalates become overly concentrated in body fluids, they can crystallize and cause problems with kidneys and gall bladder.
You should also know that pesticides are often found in spinach — and any other dark green leafy vegetables.
To avoid the health risks from pesticides buy only organic dark leafy green vegetables.
Also, all of the green leafy vegetables contain alkaloids (alkaloids: sometimes toxic, bitter tasting, nitrogen-containing organic compounds released by plants). Even though they are in very small amounts I use different greens every day for my son’s smoothies.
By mixing it up a bit I’m eliminating the possibilities of accumulating certain alkaloids in the body.
Bottom line: Mix it up, include essential fats
I’m not suggesting you to eliminate spinach from your diet. That would be foolish considering the remarkable benefits. These concerns mean that spinach should be a part of a diet that is composed of a wide variety of foods.
With this in mind, when you make a smoothie with spinach to add some kind of “good fat” (as an example, coconut or olive oil). Or when serving your child a salad, dress-it-up with hemp oil or flax seed oil. Most of the vitamins (A, E) in spinach are fat soluble so in order to get all the benefits from them and to fully assimilate them we need to add fat.