Too much spinach

Posted by Wen Dan Jiang on

How Much Spinach is Too Much? – 4 Risks of Too Much Spinach

Contrary to what Popeye the Sailor Man may have you believe, it is in fact possible to consume too much spinach.

Spinach is an incredibly healthy green leafy vegetable that is believed to have originated in Persia of all places.

Spinach belongs to the amaranth family and is a very distant relation to quinoa and beets. It is therefore, extremely healthy as it is loaded full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other active compounds that do the body a world of good.

As beneficial and healthy as spinach is, it is possible to consume too much, in which case it could potentially become dangerous for your health.

Too much spinach can result in the formation of kidney stones, and if you are using blood thinning medication, the high amounts of vitamin K found in spinach could interfere with the medication as well.

But precisely how much spinach is too much? Here’s a look at a few potential risks of too much spinach.

Increased risk of kidney stones

If you’re ever been unfortunate enough to experience kidney stones, you certainly won’t need anybody to tell you how painful the condition is.

If you’ve not yet experienced kidney stones, you will almost certainly want to keep it that way, as kidney stones can be incredibly painful and debilitating.

Spinach is rich in oxalates, which are natural compounds which, if consumed in large volumes, can cause the formation of stones in the body. This is through an increase in the concentration of oxalates in the urine.

Most common kidney stones come in the form of calcium oxalate stones.

If you wish to reduce the oxalate content of spinach, experts recommend boiling it first, as this does slightly reduce the numbers, though not by a huge number.

Higher risk of gout

Gout is a very painful condition that causes pain and swelling in and around the joints.

Spinach is a plant-based food loaded full of purine, which are converted into uric acid by the body once consumed.

If uric acid levels rise and the kidneys are unable to flush excess amounts out, crystal deposits of uric acid can form on and around the joints, resulting in very painful gout symptoms that affect mobility and can cause a lot of pain.

Foods rich in purine such as spinach, can increase your risk of gout and so should not be consumed in vast amounts.

Can interfere with blood thinners

If you are taking blood thinning medication for any reason, excess spinach consumption is not recommended.

The reason for this is that spinach is rich in vitamin K, which, despite being healthy and beneficial, can interfere with blood thinning medications.

Vitamin K, in excess, reduces the effectiveness of blood thinners, making too much spinach very risky for people using this medication.

Suppressed mineral absorption

Again, going back to the oxalates in spinach, it has been found that too many oxalates can hinder the rate in which minerals are absorbed by the body. This is because oxalate is an antinutrient.

The oxalates found in spinach have been found to particularly effect calcium absorption, and iron absorption.

This means that, ironically, despite being rich in both iron and calcium, consuming vast quantities of spinach could actually leave you with deficiencies in both of these minerals.

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