September 7, 2008

You Ask, I Answer: Oxalates

I know that spinach is not considered a good source of iron because it contains oxalates, which bind iron during digestion so your small intestine cannot absorb it.

I have heard, though, that cooking spinach will decrease the amount of oxalates.

Is this rumor true?

-- Christine (last name unknown)

Via the blog

The rumor is true, but irrelevant.

Yes, boiling reduces oxalate levels in food. However, this reduction is minimal, and it also leeches out vital water-soluble nutrients.

By the way, oxalates also bind the calcium in spinach, so if you're looking to get that mineral from a green vegetable, broccoli is a smarter bet.

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