Are green smoothies good for you, are green smoothies healthy? Or are green smoothies bad for you? These questions used to pop up in my mind all the time, until I finally settled the facts.
Green smoothies are very popular these days and recently I read an article saying that they contribute to serious health problems because of high oxalate levels, especially for people that have problems with candida overgrowth. I couldn’t believe what I was reading, since when dark leafy greens are unhealthy? So I dug deeper into this subject.
Green Smoothie Side Effects
For those who don’t know oxalate is an organic acid found in our diet, fungus, such as mold and candida and can also be synthesized by our body.
Under normal circumstances if you have a relatively healthy gut microbiome, it will effectivelly degrade oxalate and prevent the excess from getting absorbed.
Yet a lack of normal digestive bacteria, as found with chronic gut issues, can indeed lead to inability to manage the buildup.
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As a result this will provoke excess inflammation and oxalate crystal formation in tissues that will lead to gallbladder, liver, thyroid and kidney dysfunctions. Oxalates are also robbing us of calcium, sulfate, vitamin B6 healthy fats and fat-soluble vitamins. People with oxalate sensitivity will usually complain about having bladder irritability and pain on urination (no infection), vulvar pain (vulvodynia), body aches, fibromyalgia-like discomfort, moodiness and irritability.
Everything is connected and all begins in your gut. The main reason oxalates become a problem is that they leak in through a inpaired digestive system, and this is caused by an environmental issue inside the body. All we have to do is to change the enviroment, clear the detoxifying pathways and heal the gut.
Are Green Smoothies Really Bad For You?
Almost all plant foods tend to be rich in oxalates, it doesn’t mean you have to blame them for that and avoid them at all cost. This is like avoiding to treat a wound and just cover it with a band-aid. Even without an oxalate issue people with a dysfunctional digestive system and slowed detoxification are going to be sensitive to a buildup of toxins, hormones, histamine and heavy metals.
As long as our digestion is working properly, producing stomach acid and releasing enzymes and bile, the oxalates in food should not be a problem.
I think the real problem with green smoothies is the quality. Especially those sold in the health-food stores, they have way too much fruit or sugar from added fruit juices or artificial sweeteners. This extra sugar feeds the yeast and bad bacteria that can damage the intestinal wall even further.
I’m one of those people who suffered from chronic gut conditions and I remember scanning every information I could read about diet and foods that I should eat. I learned that everything has nutrients and antinutrients, and the presence of antinutrients (in this case oxalates) is not a good enough reason if the food has far more vitamins and minerals to offer.
I would rather avoid other high oxalate foods like cocoa products (chocolate), soy products, breads and grains, coffee, alcoholic beverages, caffeinated teas, and stick to greens smoothies as they have a higher beneficial impact on our health state. Having a glass of unsweetened green smoothie every other day made with anti-inflammatory foods will actually do more good than harm.
Solutions To Balance Your Oxalate Levels:
- Lower the oxalate intake slowly. Removing them quickly will overwhelm the system
- Adopt a gut healing diet and remove all processed and sugary foods completely
- Roasting, boiling (and discarding the water), soaking will reduce oxalate levels
- Increase your calcium and magnesium intake
- Take high doses of probiotics
- Suplement with vitamin B6 (it helps the liver produce the necessary enzyme to brake down the oxalates)
- Take digestive enzymes capsules
- Consume ½ body weight in ounces of pure water daily
Green Smoothie Benefits:
- Greens are high in calcium. When calcium is consumed with high oxalate foods, oxalic acid in the intestine combines with calcium to form insoluble calcium oxalate crystals that are eliminated in the stool . Note: choose lower oxalate greens (any other besides spinach) or take additional calcium. Interesting fact: the calcium in kale is better absorbed by our bodies than the calcium in regular milk.
- Green smoothies are high in fiber, this will sweep the intestines and colon and help you improve your bowel movement and elimination process.
- Chlorophyll in dark leafy greens strengthens the blood-producing organs, prevents anemia and gives the body an abundance of oxygen.
- Greens have a high amount of antioxidants that will help boost your energy and keep cravings for sugar and other snacks at bay.
Green Smoothies With Super Greens
In order to get even more benefits try to add some supergreens – nutrient dense, easy to assimilate, alkalize & energize. Sometimes buying large portions of fresh greens to blend is expensive, some of them go bad quickly. So one solution especially when you don’t have time, is to find a good powder blend that is raw and organic.
I really liked this blend of supergreens – including grasses, dark leafy vegetables, herbs, algae and sea vegetables, also it has enzymes and probiotics that are oxalate-eating species. I also like to add some aloe juice (only the inner leaf, the skin is irritating the stomach lining) and some fat for better vitamin absorption like hemp oil or avocado.
There are a lot of stories about people that managed to reverse their cancer after adapting a “green” diet. So I don’t think this is the real issue here, I will always choose to guzzle a glass of greens than a milkshake full of additives.