Recently, I’ve seen more marketing gurus posed as health enthusiasts start to warn people of the dangers of certain whole foods that contain “poisons” that could cause various symptoms and health problems.
The latest target is kale.
From a marketing and clickbait stand point, it stands to reason why kale would be the mark. It’s been unabashedly promoted by health nuts for a decade as the healthiest food you can consume, so to claim you can be poisoned by it is certainly a shocking statement you would want to investigate.
But as with most of these bold statements, it lacks background, detail, experience, and some common sense.
First of all, does kale contain “poison” that can cause symptoms and health problems?
Yes, in the vein that many plants have a natural chemical component that deters pests from eating them, often called oxalates or anti-nutrients, and these compounds can cause digestive distress and other symptoms when consumed by humans who have ruined their intestinal infrastructure.
I’ve warned people for many years that if you have a chronic health condition, especially digestive issues, you need to be careful with plants that have high oxalate values when attempting to heal. But I’ve never said they are poisonous and deterred people to swear off of them forever, because there are always work arounds that allow you to consume these highly nutritious plants.
So when someone tells you that you can be poisoned with kale, take it with a HUGE grain of salt, and understand that it’s not the kale that is the issue, as much as it is the state of your digestion.
You see, humans have specific probiotic strains that allow us to properly assimilate “plant poisons” like oxalates, but unfortunately many us have wiped them out in one round of antibiotics, eating too much glyphosate ridden food, or through other habits that have ruined our delicate microbiome.
If kale has created bloating, fatigue, or skin issues for you, those are all signs for you to investigate why you aren’t metabolizing it, rather than chalk it up to “it’s poisonous” and avoid it for the rest of your life.
And how are you eating it? Raw? Cooked? Juiced? What have you added to it that can make it harder to digest (ie. nuts) or easier (ie. ACV)? These are all things to consider to unlock the benefits of this nutritional powerhouse, and avoid any negative side effects that poor digestion can create.
Now, with all the truly poisonous things we encounter in the world, is the oxalates in kale really the “poison” we want to focus on, or the chemicals sprayed on it and other foods? After all, you can’t remove the dangers of eating glyphosate, but you can remove any potential dangers with eating kale (and other high oxalate foods) with a few simple tips and restoring your digestive fire.
Or you can keep buying into the clickbait of half-baked health gurus and their questionable marketing tactics, and avoid these highly nutritious foods and the health benefits they create, forever.