Especially in cold weather it’s important to ensure that our car’s cooling system has adequate antifreeze.
So, what does that have to do with kidney problems?
The primary ingredient in antifreeze is ethylene glycol, a colorless, odorless form of alcohol. Domestic and wild animals (and small children) are attracted to its sweet taste, but consuming it can be fatal. The underlying cause of its toxicity isn’t so much the ethylene glycol itself, but rather its metabolite, oxalic acid—also called oxalate.
Almost all kidney stones are formed from oxalate and another mineral, typically calcium. When one ingests antifreeze, the glycolic acid is metabolized into oxalic acid, which binds to calcium, forming calcium oxalate crystals. These razor-sharp crystals accumulate in tissues throughout the body, including the brain, bones, lungs, and kidneys. In antifreeze poisoning, the accumulation of oxalate crystals in the kidneys causes severe damage and kidney failure, resulting in death.
Antifreeze poisoning illustrates an extreme situation involving oxalate crystals. And although I’m not worried about you drinking antifreeze, there is a list of foods, not to avoid but, to consume in moderation.
And, before you get caught up in the green smoothie craze, there are a few things you should know.
The basis of most green smoothie recipes is spinach and most will include other green vegetables such as kale, arugula, Swiss chard, collard greens, broccoli, celery, or parsley. From there, the sky is the limit. All types of fruits and berries can be on the ingredient list, as well as soy milk.
Unfortunately, as most kidney stone sufferers well know, many of these foods are very high in oxalate and can increase kidney stone formation. In addition to spinach, some of the biggest offenders include chives, purslane, cassava, amaranth, beets (particularly the tops), rhubarb, parsley, sweet potatoes, pokeweed, leeks, turnips, sugar beets, okra, strawberries, star fruit, lime and lemon peel, pecans, chocolate, tea, instant coffee, toasted wheat germ, dry beans (almost all except lima and green beans), soy protein (including soy milk), peanuts, peanut butter, and black pepper.
You’ll notice that many of these foods are healthy and beneficial in moderation. But for individuals who can’t process oxalate and are susceptible to kidney stones, they can trigger problems quickly.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, the lifetime risk of kidney stones in men is 19 percent. In women, it’s 9 percent. And once you have formed a stone, the likelihood of recurrence is more than 50 percent at five years and 80 percent at 10 years. Roughly 3.5 million people in this country seek medical care for kidney stone removal each year.
Daily oxalate intake in adults averages 69–235 mg per day. In comparison, many green smoothie recipes typically call for two cups of spinach in addition to other high-oxalate foods. Two cups of spinach alone contain roughly 1,450 mg of oxalate. Daily oxalate intake skyrockets when you add other ingredients and/or substitute one or two meals a day with these smoothies.
See my article on this blog site about curing Kidney Stones, once you get them and preventing them going forward.
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Although this article may contain factual information, the information contained in this article has probably not been evaluated by the FDA nor is it in any way intended to be medical advice.
Unfortunately I must recommend that for any change in medical or health behavior or for any change in the way you use prescribed drugs by your healthcare providers or before acting upon any of the advice given in this or any other article, that you consult with your licensed healthcare provider or physician.
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