The Hidden Dangers of a Green Smoothie
Confession: I used to think having a green smoothie was a great way to get nutrients, and using a blender to break the cell walls, was even better. Turns out, it doesn’t just release more nutrients, but it also releases the anti-nutrients, prompting an oxalate overload and creating toxicity in your body. Many leafy greens, such as spinach and collard greens, are high in oxalates. Oxalates are plant-based compounds that may promote kidney stone formation and inflammation when consumed in large amounts.
Oxalates, an organic acid, is very tiny molecules that bind minerals, like calcium and form crystals. It is a natural substance found in many common food such as potatoes, spinach, nuts, seeds, peanuts, beets and tea. When present in human cells, in high amounts, it can lead to oxidative stress and/or damage, causing a depletion of glutathione, and other essential minerals, the igniting of the immune system’s inflammatory cascade, and the formation of crystals. Oxalic acid in the diet depresses the function of adrenal and thyroid glands, and could induce hypothyroidism or exacerbate conditions. A common symptom of eating a high oxalate diet is reoccurring kidney stones. Oxalates are toxic to the kidney cells, which is designed to handle and excrete calcium oxalate crystals. Damage also includes free radicals, membrane damage and produce a set up for progressive damage and overt disease which happens just hours after eating whole grains, nut bars, or nut snacks, sweet potatoes, french fries, bean burritos or a green smoothie. Your kidneys become angry and the liver doesn’t like it. It can also affect the nervous system, your joints and bones.
Oxalates are stored throughout the body thus compromising the immune system. This is a vicious cycle, the more, high oxalate plant foods you eat, the less you can tolerate them and the sicker you will become. Your glandular and hormonal health may also have a connection with consuming too many oxalate rich foods if you have problems with your thyroid, libdo, blood sugar, energy. You could be poisoning your glands with these endocrine disruptors.
A reduction of dietary oxalate may trigger dumping by lowering the amount of oxalate in the bloodstream. The reduced oxalate levels in the blood triggers the release of oxalate from tissues. Dumping is a good thing. It indicates that you have stored oxalates that may be a factor in your symptoms. There are a wide range of both physical and/or mental dumping symptoms that commonly occur when reducing oxalate.
WARNING: It is recommended that you do both, reduce dietary oxalate and introduce supplements gradually, so that you can keep the dumping at a manageable pace, as oxalate drives pain and inflammation. A slower reduction means less intense symptoms.
Some oxalate symptoms are listed below. It’s possible some of these symptoms may increase, as you start reducing dietary oxalate, due to the greater amount of oxalate being excreted.
- Bloated stomach
- Stomach pain/nausea
- Diarrhea / Constipation / alternating diarrhea and constipation
- Cloudy urine
- Bladder pain
- Kidney pain
- Lower back pain
- Gallbladder pain
- Frequent urination
- Chronic UTI’s
- Kidney stones
- Heart palpitations
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Burning tongue / mouth
- Sinus issues
- Odd sensations (fullness) / plugged ears
- Fluctuations in hearing
- Burning / red / gritty / crusty eyes
- Burning feet/ skin
- Joint pain
- Muscle twitching
- Frozen shoulder
- Back / neck pain
- Body ache
- Body rashes
- Psoriasis flares
- Cold sores
- Panic attacks
- Brain fog
Final Thoughts on Green Smoothies…
Unfortunately, green smoothies are not quite as healthy as we have been led to believe, due to their thallium, goitrogen, and oxalate content.
Rather than relying on green smoothies as a primary source of vegetables, I recommend eating veggies in their whole-food form and cooking cruciferous vegetables to lower their goitrogen content. If you are not ready to forgo green smoothies entirely, choose organic vegetables, which may be lower in heavy metals; rotate your greens so that you are regularly including low-oxalate options.