With Spring in the air and new versions of my smoothies on the horizon, I thought this would be the perfect time to address a topic that comes up from time to time in the Beauty Detox Community : is it recommended to consume spinach on a daily basis? After-all, it is listed as a top Beauty Food in The Beauty Detox Foods, and is definitely packed with potent nutrients to help create glowing skin and healthy hair from within.
What exactly are those beauty nutrients?! Well first off, spinach is rich in beta-carotene, which converts to the powerful anti-aging vitamin A. This important nutrient promotes youthful skin by allowing for proper moisture retention in the epidermis, helping to prevent wrinkles, removing dead skin cells from your body and making room for fresh new ones.
It’s also high in vitamins C, K and E, a wide variety of minerals, enzymes, fiber, antioxidants…the list goes on and on.
What About Oxalates?
Some research shows that oxalic acid, which is in a variety of foods such as caffeine products, cola drinks, asparagus and certain greens, including spinach, can bind in some plants and prevent some calcium absorption.
However, the degree to which this occurs is controversial. In the book Human Nutrition and Dietetics, Stanley Davidson points out that the chelating effect of oxalic acid on minerals like calcium is most likely negligible.
In Fresh Vegetable and Fruit Juices, Dr. Norman Walker shares, that when greens are cooked (rather than eaten raw), oxalic acid binds irreversibly with calcium, hindering its absorption and crystallizing in the kidneys. Many different experts nowadays, such as Dr. Christiane Northrop, write that the potential harms of “overeating” spinach are probably overestimated (paraphrased).
There is a chance that an imbalance or health concern in one person could lead to problems from consuming too much spinach or kale. Someone without the same or a similar issue may be able to eat the same amount of these types of greens with no problems whatsoever.
You can also think about it in these terms- if you’ve already got a condition that spinach (or kale), could have a little influence over when you eat it, other things in your system could be contributing to the problem.
With all that being said, this continues to be a controversial and unresolved issue. What now…
How To Minimize Side Effects…
First, I want to mention that all of the ingredients in the Glowing Green Smoothie should be rotated- veggies and fruit. It’s best to keep the ratio of about 70 percent greens to 30 percent fruit, and always include your lemon, which is the citrus component.
The reason I stress this is because you may have heard the “kale is bad” stories (and this includes “spinach stories”), where in most cases, this involved consuming it in excessive amounts, and the greens were not rotated.
To be on the safe side, always rotate your greens!!
Depending on the season and what is local at your farmers market or health food store (check out my Dirty Dozen list), try rotating in greens such as kale, chard, wild weeds- such as lamb’s quarter and purslane, and different lettuces- which are all fantastic substitutions.
First and foremost, listen to your body. It will tell you what you need by how you react to the food choices you make, and how you feel, once consumed.
Next, always rotate the greens that you’re using- including your herbs! That way you’re not overexposing yourself, which can cause health problems with any food. Rotation really is the key to everything and this includes the Glowing Green Smoothie recipe.
Finally, the decision about raw versus cooked or baby versus mature leaf spinach or other oxalate-containing vegetables should be a matter of personal taste and preference. I personally eat primarily raw but also cooked spinach- but I do vary my greens considerably on a weekly basis because I do eat so many of them.
Hope this helps Beauties! It’s a real blessing to be able to write and connect with you from home while I’m with Lil Bub.