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Spinach juice can cause kidney stones: Myth or fact?

We have always been told to consume spinach juice because it is packed with essential nutrients and improves overall health. But can spinach lead to kidney stones? Know the side effects of spinach juice.
side effects of spinach juice
Consume spinach juice in moderation. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Aayushi Gupta Updated: 17 Oct 2023, 06:27 pm IST
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Spinach, a nutrient-rich leafy green vegetable, is known for its highly nutritious profile. Packed with essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, spinach has become a popular ingredient in health-conscious diets. However, there have been concerns raised about the potential connection between spinach consumption in the form of juices and smoothies and the development of kidney stones. Let us learn the side effects of spinach and how it can lead to kidney stones.

Dr Dimple Jangda, an Ayurveda and gut health coach, recently shared an Instagram reel where she warned everyone against consuming excess spinach smoothies and spinach juice, as they can lead to kidney stones. Here’s the reason why.

Can spinach juice cause kidney stones?

“Spinach is a powerhouse of iron, but it’s also packed with a compound called oxalate, which is very difficult for the body to absorb and assimilate. Hence, it’s a leading cause of the formation of kidney stones and even gallbladder stones nowadays,” says Dr Jangda.

smoothie side effects
Spinach can be risky for your kidneys! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Jangda further stated, “A single glass of spinach juice or a spinach smoothie is equal to eight to ten times the oxalate compound that your body can possibly handle. This compound binds with the calcium present in your body, resulting in the formation of calcified stones in the kidneys and gallbladder.”

Side effects of eating too much spinach

Eating spinach is generally considered a healthy choice due to its numerous nutritional benefits. However, due to its oxalate compound, excessive consumption or certain conditions may lead to potential side effects. Here are 4 side effects associated with eating spinach:

1. Gastrointestinal issues

Spinach is rich in fiber, which can be beneficial for digestion in moderate amounts. However, Dr Jangda says, “Excessive fiber intake in the form of spinach can cause indigestion, bloating, gas, flatulence, constipation, diarrhoea, and irritable bowel syndrome, especially in individuals with sensitive digestive systems.

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2. Interference with mineral absorption

Spinach contains compounds like phytates that can hinder the absorption of essential minerals like iron, calcium, and zinc. This is of concern for those at risk of mineral deficiencies or individuals with poor nutrient absorption.

3. Thyroid function disruption

Spinach contains goitrogens, naturally occurring substances that can interfere with the normal functioning of the thyroid gland. In large quantities, goitrogens may hinder iodine uptake, potentially affecting thyroid hormone production.

thyroid and spinach
Spinach juice can affect your thyroid functioning. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

4. Allergic reactions

Some individuals may be allergic to spinach, experiencing symptoms such as itching, hives or difficulty breathing. It is essential to monitor for any allergic reactions after consuming spinach.

Spinach is a highly nutritious vegetable when consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet, but it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional for an appropriate intake of spinach.

How to cook spinach?

According to Jangda, “It is highly advisable to refrain from consuming spinach juice or smoothies, even if someone suggests it. Instead, opt for boiling or blanching the spinach. Research indicates that these cooking methods can significantly reduce oxalate levels by approximately 30 to 87 percent. Once boiled or blanched, you can use the spinach to prepare a delicious vegetable side dish in the form of a curry or paste or incorporate it into a nourishing soup.”

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About the Author

Aayushi Gupta is a health writer with a special interest in trends related to diet, fitness, beauty and intimate health. With around 2 years of experience in the wellness industry, she is connected to leading experts and doctors to provide our readers with factually correct information. ...Read More

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