Beware poisonous oxalates in spinach, almonds and other "superfoods"

Can you harm yourself by eating too much spinach? Should those baby leaves we know and love as a “superfood” come with a health warning? And what about almonds? Both are super-high in oxyalates.

If you’re not already rolling your eyes and saying Nooooo Susan, I’ve maxed out on worrying about what to eat when, this fascinating conversation will make you think again.

Sally K Norton is a nutritionist and public health leader from Richmond, Virginia raising awareness about oxalates, chemical toxins found in many plants. She suffered decades of ill health before discovering they were the cause of her misery.

Why focus on oxalates when all plant toxins – lectins, phytates, tannins, glycosylates and goitrogens – can damage our gut and immune system?

“What makes oxalates special is they’re nearly impossible to remove from foods. They accumulate in the body and create long-term damage. They’re tiny and get everywhere, messing up cells by stealing essential minerals and electrolytes and causing both physical damage and oxidative stress in cells and their mitochondria. The preparation methods used to disarm many of those other compounds, such as fermentation and high-heat cooking, don’t adequately lower the toxic actions of oxalates.”

“Remember too that the affected cells include our immune system, nerves and brain, glands and critical organs. By the time we reach 40, we all have some degree of a toxic load of oxalate compromising our glands, bones, brain, etcetera. They cause us to miss out on our potential for enjoying our lives, beyond our youth.”

Toxic Superfoods, Sally’s new book on oxalates, is out in January.

Enjoy learning all about oxalates. No more heaving plates of spinach for me – just a handful will have to satisfy my love of it!


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