If you have been following my blog and downloaded my free green smoothie eBook then you know I’m a green smoothie addict. Lately many of you emailed me with the question if drinking too many green smoothies is bad for your health.
Many green smoothie opponents state that green smoothies devastate your health due to their sugar, goitrogen, and oxalate content. They also claim that green smoothies can cause alkaloid buildup when consumed on a daily basis.
So today I want to share with you why you shouldn’t fear these delicious green drinks.
The Anti-Nutrient Story
Maybe you have heard the story that raw leafy greens aren’t healthy because they contain naturally occurring toxins or anti-nutrients (such as oxalic acid and goitrogens) which can cause kidney stones or thyroid issues. While it is true that most kidney stones contain calcium oxalate, most people who have kidney stones never even touched a green smoothie or consume significant amounts of leafy greens on a daily basis.
However, individuals with a pre-existing condition like thyroid issues or kidney stones might need to go easy on them and approach their green smoothie habit with a little caution.
I worked as a plant biologist for quite a while, and I know a few things about these anti-nutrients. To keep things short and not go into complicated scientific detail, plants contain minuscule amounts of toxins to protect themselves against herbivores that prey on these greens. When consumed in large, excessive amounts these toxins can cause health issues to protect them from being entirely consumed by animals and wipe out the plant species.
To give you an idea, a healthy person would have to eat three or more bunches of raw kale a day to have any effect on your health. So these anti-nutrients are definitely not the reason to stop eating leafy greens or having your daily green smoothie. Actually, leafy greens provide a wealth of beneficial phytonutrients such as protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fibers.
But What About The Sugar Content
Next to leafy greens, green smoothies also contain sweet and delicious fruits. Most calories come from the complex carbohydrates presented in these sweet fruits. Since they are high in sugar, many green smoothie opponents state that they provide too much sugar in your diet.
If you replace carbohydrate or sugar rich foods like pastries, sugary snacks, bread, white rice, sodas, commercially available fruit juices, or muesli with a healthy green smoothie (with no added sweeteners like honey or maple syrup), you’ll actually get less sugar into your diet.
And on top of that, these naturally occurring sugars come in a much healthier package as they are accompanied with tons of beneficial vitamins, minerals, fibers and other plant nutrients to improve digestion and health.
Scroll down to learn more about alkaloid build-ups.
Do I Have To Worry About Alkaloid Build-up?
Greens and fruits have an alkalizing effect on our body. In very rare cases too much alkaline material can build up in the body and cause a condition called alkalosis. Symptoms of alkalosis include nausea, tingling in fingertips and fatigue. This can only be reversed by going easy on the greens to balance levels again.
Alkalosis or anti-nutrient build up is actually nothing to worry about. Like mentioned before if you are a healthy person, you would have to eat 3 bunches of kale a day to notice any effect. And as long as you rotate your greens through the week and use a variety of leafy greens and fruits there is nothing to be scared of.
Take Home Message
With so many different diets out there, there will always be opponents or proponents of certain lifestyle changes because most of these people are just trying to sell you a diet. But to be honest I’ve never heard any expert in the field of nutrition, scientist or doctors say that increasing your fruit and veggies intake is bad for your health.
Increasing fruit and veggie intake changed my family’s health for the better. I lost my extra padding, reduced my cholesterol levels, and improved my heart condition naturally. And my hubby hasn’t had an MS flare up for over 3 years.
So if you enjoy green smoothies, fruits, and greens as much as I do, don’t let the media scare you. Unless you have underlying thyroid or kidney issues, it is nearly impossible to eat that many greens to cause any harmful side effect.
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Thanks for reading. I hope this information was helpful. Until next time!
Crazy cat lady, life and food lover, certified biologist, and holistic health coach.