One of my readers wrote in with this interesting question:
“I have just been told that kale is extremely high in oxalates and that they can be very dangerous to one’s health if one’s body doesn’t have the healthy gut flora which break oxalates down for elimination. Any info on this topic?”
Oxalates are naturally-occurring acids found in plants, animals and in humans that are always present in our bodies.
They become a problem for people who have untreated health issues with their kidney/gallblader according to George Mateljan, a respected nutritionist who has a wonderful site The World’s Healthiest Foods.
If you have any concerns about oxalates in food in conjunction with possible kidney/gallbladder issues, go to your doctor and get tested, I recommend getting blood work done as well to check your thyroid (since kale can affect that as well if you have a weak one).
That said, if you have a clean bill of health, kale is GREAT for your health — in fact, it’s an Über-superfood. That said kale is not extremely high in oxalates… many consider it a low oxalate food with a lot less than lima beans and about the same as spinach.
Per the health gut flora, I always urge people to eat probiotic foods weekly, including low-sodium pickles, fermented vegetables, kefir, plain yogurt, and olives to replenish the helpful bacteria that we need to protect our immune system, manufacture vitamins in the the gut, and digest fiber.