Is Eating Spinach With Milk Harmful?

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Is Eating Spinach With Milk Harmful?

Hello All!!!!

Our Indian diet is very balanced. For generations we have been eating a meal that has a serving of a dairy product like yogurt, two servings of vegetables that can be a veggie curry or a curry made out of leafy greens. The carbs come from either rice of chapatti and there is a dessert as a treat for the taste buds. This is what is being served in most Indian vegetarian homes.

However, there is a notion stating that you should not eat spinach with milk products. Is this true or is it just a myth? Let us find out!

Theory behind the myth

It is said that the combination of calcium present in milk and oxalic acid in spinach can form calcium oxalate crystals that lead to the blockage of the kidney or the urinary tract. It means that this applies to all food combinations that have high oxalic acid content and calcium in them.

Spinach

spinach

The nutrient profile and health benefits of spinach are well known. However, you might not be aware of the fact that even though spinach is rich in calcium, it does get well absorbed by the body. The anti nutrient oxalic acid prevents 95% of the calcium from being absorbed by the body. Thus, only 5% of the calcium in spinach gets absorbed.

What is oxalic acid?

It is a naturally occurring chemical which can be a dangerous poison at higher levels. However, you need not worry as such high levels are not present in food but in products like bleaches and anti-rusting products.

Oxalic acid is found in leafy greens too. On being processed in the body it combines with minerals like calcium and forms salts, in this case calcium oxalate. When in higher concentration they precipitate into a crystalline form. The tiny crystals can contribute to form kidney and bladder stones. This takes a few years to happen and is not an instant effect.

Calcium

Lactose Intolerance & Calcium

Milk is a great source of calcium. 1 litre of milk provides 1100 mg to 1300 mg of calcium. The mineral calcium is required for the bones, muscle contraction, hormone secretion and central nervous function.

Milk nutrition facts

Is Eating Spinach With Milk Harmful?

Now, coming back to the notion, ‘Is Eating Spinach With Milk Harmful’? You would be glad to know that it is nothing but a myth. As a matter of fact, the opposite if this is true. Dietary oxalate has a very important role to play in the formation of stones of calcium oxalate but consuming high calcium foods with foods containing high oxalic acid actually decreases the risk of the formation of kidney stones.

Several experiments have been conducted in this regard and the notion has been termed as a myth. Calcium in fact is protective as it binds to oxalate and phosphorus in the gut, prevents the absorption and lowers urinary oxalate and urinary phosphorous which contribute to kidney stone formation. The crystals are carried out of the body as feces. If you consume less amount of calcium, more oxalate is absorbed into the body causing higher excretion of oxalates via urine. This means that when you consume high calcium foods along with high oxalic acid foods, there are lower chances of the formation of kidney stones. On the other hand, if you consume high oxalic acid foods with a low-calcium diet your chances of getting kidney stones increases.

So, to conclude eating spinach with milk products is not harmful at all!!

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