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Green smoothies don't sound particularly appealing. You've got to be extremely open-minded to dare to put spinach, kale, swiss chard, collard greens, celery, parsley, mint, broccoli and even lettuce in a drink, don't you? Sure, you can add oranges, apples, honey and other sweet things to make green smoothies more palatable, but that will never hide the fact that they're basically medicinal drinks that are more about health than taste.
People try green smoothies for all kinds of reasons — to add juice to their workout regime (literally), because they're worried they're not eating healthily enough, in the hope to lose weight, or because they just can't say no to that crunchy, health-obsessed, friend. Once they have discovered the joys of green smoothies, they might just find it hard to stop. Getting used to the unorthodox taste isn't that hard, that energy boost and remarkably smooth skin, may soon turn them into "green smoothie converts" who start every day with that all-natural health infusion.
Most health fads get some backlash, and green smoothies are no exception. Blog posts warning that the high oxalate levels in your green smoothies may be damaging your health have started to appear on the internet. If you've seen them, you may now be worried that the positive lifestyle change you've come to love is actually bad for you.
What Are Oxalates?
Oxalates are organic acids naturally produced by plants, animals, and people. The human body makes its own oxalates and gets more from food. The body can also convert other substances, like vitamin C, into oxalates. You might be surprised how many different kinds of foods contain oxalates — you'll find them in nuts, seeds, vegetables, mushrooms, and fruits.
To name some examples, tangerines, rhubarb, strawberries, almonds, soybeans, wheat bran, and black tea, all contain oxalates. Some foods have much more than others, however. Looking at a list of the highest-oxalate foods is a bit like looking at your shopping list if you're a green smoothie fan — the greens used for green smoothies are nearly all very high in oxalate.
Not only do they write about oxalate calcium kidney stones, they also caution that oxalate stones can form all over the body, including the heart, brain, thyroid, lungs, and skeletal muscle. Some even say that too much oxalate can lead to autism in children. Should you be worried about the oxalates in leafy greens, whether you're an avid green-smoothie consumer or a vegan who naturally eats a lot of foods that are very high in oxalates?