This week's "Fun Fact Friday" is a very very brief overview on oxalates. If you already know what oxalates are, than you have probably had kidney stones in the past. But for those of you who don't... oxalate (or oxalic acid) is a naturally occurring chemical compound found in the human body and in plant tissue. The body produces oxalates naturally but we also absorb more through a diet of foods containing oxalates.
In healthy individuals, oxalates are excreted in urine and do not have any negative health affects. However, some people are more sensitive to higher oxalate concentrations and the notorious manifestation is the development of kidney stones. High amounts of oxalates in the blood can also cause severe joint pain and fatigue. Oxalates prevent calcium absorption, so for people with osteoporosis oxalates can further increase risk of fractures.
So why am I saying all this? None of this sounds fun.... or a "fun fact" relevant to The Serene Forest.
Here's why. Oxalates are found at high concentrations in a lot of foods and we don't even realize it. Further, the foods that contain the highest concentrations of oxalates are the same plants gardeners are breaking their backs to grow. Things like:
So, this week's "Fun Fact Friday" is meant to introduce you (if you hadn't already) to oxalates with just a little information to get you started. I encourage people to dig a little bit deeper into learning about oxalates and evaluate their potential risk for having negative affects.
Keep in mind, these are all still very healthy foods loaded with nutritional value. And I am not at all suggesting absolute avoidance.
As we continue our foodscape adventure, we are constantly trying to become more self-reliant on our land. That means narrowing diets down to what comes from the land. So moving forward with planning.... I need to be aware of making sure that we are not building dinner plates that could have a health risk in disguise. If my plate revolves around leafy greens for any period of time, will I begin to have too high of oxalate concentrations in my blood? I never considered that too much spinach could ever be a bad thing.
The good news:
Oxalates can be removed from foods by allowing them to soak or boil / blanch. This makes eating foods much safer for those who may be sensitive to oxalates. It should also allow healthy individuals to eat more of certain high concentration foods without risking side effects.
Check out some of these websites where you can learn more about oxalates and figure out what you think for yourself.
What are your thoughts? Comment below to keep the convo going