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Staying healthy is not an easy thing to do. Sometimes the food that we percieve as good can actually be doing us more harm than good and can interfere in our goal to keep our body as healthy as we can.
I love spinach and probably eat it about twice a month. Over time I’ve found that it’s a great vegetable to hide in almost anything — from pasta to pancakes. But like so many other foods, there is a dark side to spinach. It contains high amounts of oxalates which can contribute to the formation of calcium oxalate kidney stones as well as creating other deposits in the body which happens when oxalates team up with calcium in the body and can potentially hurt thyroid health. The deposits can then lead to pain and inflammation and eventually oxidative damage.
Cooking can decrease oxalates but not enough to make a significant difference. For most people with a healthy gut oxalates won’t create too much of a problem but even though I would suggest keeping it to not more than once per week and for sure keeping them out of your smoothies!
Low oxalate diets have been said to help reduce the pain of fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, interstitial cystitis and pelvic floor dysfunction among others so if you suffer from any of these, or thyroid dysfunction you might try avoiding or drastically cutting down your spinach intake!
These yummy foods are members of the Solanaceae family and its edible members which so many people love include potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, goji berries and ground cherries. Unfortunately nightshades have three components that could be hurting your health.
- Alkaloids: which can cause inflammation and stress resulting in joint stiffness and pain.
- Calcitriol: a hormone that signals the body to uptake calcium from the diet and having too much of it can cause too much calcium in the blood which can end up as calcium deposits in the body’s soft tissues.
- Lectins: a natural pesticide, which can attach to intestine walls and exacerbate a leaky gut; allowing undigested food particles into the blood stream.
Some people are more sensitive to the effects of nightshades than others but as a general rule I would say if you suffer from any autoimmune disease, arthritis, gout, osteoporosis or chronic inflammation you should very strictly limit them or remove them completely from your diet. Some other symptoms of nightshade intolerance include depression, anxiety, constipation, headaches, nausea, and bloating as well as irritable bowel syndrome. The easiest way to find out if you suffer from nightshade intolerance or if they are making your pain worse is to simply eliminate them from your diet for at least three weeks and notice any changes in how your body feels.
Looking back at traditional diets going back before our time you may notice that our ancestors typically paired nightshades with dairy. For example eggplant parmigiana, tomato sauce and cheese or potatoes au gratin. There is no doubt that our ancestors were more connected and knew more about food than we do know. I suggest we follow their steps after all the calcium in the dairy may be counterbalancing the calcium that the nightshades are pulling from you.
Jacqueline Banks, who grew up in Casa de Campo, is a certified holistic health counselor and busy mother.
Her focus is on helping other busy moms in all stages of motherhood keep themselves and families healthy and happy. She uses natural and organic solutions to solve individual health problems and promote clean living.
Check out her website at: www.jacquelinebanks.com