Busting the myth: Combination of spinach with milk sounds strange! And as per the Indian mentality, one should not consume milk (or curd items) with spinach (or any leafy things). What do you think about this combination? Can it be harmful to health in many ways? Let's uncover the truth behind this myth.
Spinach with milk products
- It is said that the combination of calcium present in milk and oxalic acid in spinach can form calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause kidney blockage.
- This is not only for spinach and milk products but also leafy vegetables and milk products. Let us see the merits and demerits of both and then we will decide the kind of influence (both of them) leave on us.
- Note: It applies to all food combinations that have high oxalic acid content and calcium.
If you look at the nutrient profile of spinach, then it is beneficial for health in every way. However, you may not be aware of the fact that even though spinach is rich in calcium (well absorbed by the body). The anti-nutrient oxalic acid prevents 95% of calcium being absorbed by the body. Thus, only 5% of the calcium in spinach is absorbed.
What is oxalic acid?
It is a naturally occurring chemical, which can be a dangerous poison at high levels. However, you do not have to worry because they are not present in our food (but are in products like bleach and anti-rusting). Oxalic acid is also found in leafy greens. When processed in the body, it combines with minerals such as calcium to form calcium oxalate. These small crystals can then contribute to kidney and bladder stones. It takes a few years to happen and does not make an immediate impact. But this whole process continues in the body. Gradually, it can also cause stone pellets.
On the other side is milk, which contains a good amount of calcareous. Calcium is found in 1 litre of milk from about 1100mg to 1300mg. Calcium helps to maintain our bones, muscle contraction, hormone secret and central nervous system.
Is eating spinach with milk harmful?
You will be happy to know that this is nothing but a myth. Dietitian and Diabetes Educator Dr Swati Bathwal throws light on the subject.
Taking high calcium foods with high oxalic acid foods decreases the risk of kidney stone formation because the calcium binds to the oxalic acid in the gut, prevents its absorption and lowers urinary oxalate. These crystals, formed in the intestines, are carried by fibre and other unwanted masses to be discarded as faeces. According to Ayurveda - a combination of milk and spinach helps in the removal of phlegm during the change of season. However, it needs to be consumed in moderate amounts only - 1/2 cup milk and 2-3 spinach leave only.
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