Is eating kale and spinach raw really bad for you

Often labeled as superfoods, kale and spinach are one of the healthiest and most nutrient-dense foods you can eat. These cruciferous vegetables come in a variety of colours, shapes and texture. Rich in antioxidants, these veggies have been shown to protect against heart disease and cancer, and are packed with fibre, vitamin C and calcium. But do these vegetables pose health issues when eaten raw?

Explaining the same through an Instagram post, Neha Sahaya, nutrition and wellness consultant wrote, “Spinach and kale contain a compound called oxalic acid, which can bind with calcium and other minerals in the body and form insoluble crystals. When eaten raw, the oxalic acid is not broken down by cooking, and it can interfere with the absorption of calcium, iron and other important minerals in the body.”

Adding to this, she noted that these two vegetables if eaten raw may result in an increased risk of kidney stones, IBS, gout, bloating, and gas. “For those who are already suffering from joint pain, swelling, and inflammation, excess spinach intake may worsen the symptoms,” she said.

Moreover, Sahaya pointed out that being a rich source of vitamin K, spinach and kale may react with anticoagulant drugs, which are used for the purpose of thinning the blood. It may also affect other coagulation factors present in the blood.

She recommends cooking spinach and kale to help kill bacteria and make it safer to consume. “Even light steaming or a few minutes of blanching can avoid the above-mentioned issues,” she added.

“While spinach and kale are safe to eat raw in small amounts, it is always recommended to cook it. Cooking also helps to break down the oxalic acid, making it easier for the body to absorb the nutrients in spinach,” Sahaya said.