Spinach is a green leafy vegetable loaded with essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and polyphenols, etc, that provide many health and beauty benefits. Despite these amazing benefits, don’t overeat spinach as there are some side effects of eating too much spinach.
Side Effects of Eating Too Much Spinach
Following are the major side effects of eating too much spinach.
(1) Can Hinder Absorption of Minerals
Spinach contains oxalate, an organic acid that gets excreted out of the body through stool or urine.
However, in excessive quantity, our kidneys fail to filter them out properly and they may bind with essential nutrients like zinc, calcium, and magnesium, etc.
This may lead to poor absorption of these nutrients by our body and increases the risk of mineral deficiency.
These minerals keep us healthy as they perform/assist various biochemical reactions in our body, and deficiency of these minerals may harm our health.
(2) Too Many Dietary Fibers are Bad
A single cup of spinach contains about 6 grams of dietary fibers that provide numerous benefits like improving bowel movement, relieving constipation and digestive problems, lowering cholesterol levels, eliminating toxins, and regulating blood sugar, etc.
However, overeating grapefruit should be avoided as a high level of dietary fibers may cause problems like abdominal cramping, diarrhea, malabsorption, constipation, intestinal gas, and intestinal blockage, etc.
(3) May Increase Risk of Diarrhea And Constipation
Dietary fibers in spinach are the natural laxative that improves bowel movement and relieves constipation.
However, eating too much spinach may increase the risk of mild to moderate diarrhea because of its laxative properties.
In some cases, it may increase constipation risk as dietary fibers absorb water from the digestive tract making it difficult to pass stool.
It may also cause other problems like abdominal cramping, bloating, and intestinal gas, etc.
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(4) Too Much Iron Is Bad
Iron in spinach increases RBC production in the body and aids in treating iron-induced anemia, a blood disorder that causes symptoms like fatigue, weakness, irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, dizziness, and chest pain.
Iron also helps with the conversion of blood sugar to energy, boosting immunity, maintaining a healthy pregnancy, and improving cognitive functions, etc.
Eat spinach in moderation as otherwise, too much iron may cause symptoms like chronic fatigue, joint pain, abdominal pain, irregular heartbeat, hair loss, depression, high blood sugar, etc.
If you are taking iron supplements then consult with your doctor before adding spinach to your routine to eliminate food-drug intolerance risk.
Another concern is that high dietary fibers ( on overeating spinach) may hinder iron absorption, thereby increasing the risk of anemia.
(5) Oxalates In Spinach And Kidney Stones Risk
When consumed moderately, spinach is good for the kidneys as antioxidants like vitamin C in it protect the kidneys from free radical damage, and dietary fibers improve kidney health by helping with detoxification.
However, excessive consumption of spinach is bad for the kidneys.
Oxalates present in the spinach are efficiently removed by our kidneys through urine.
However, when spinach is consumed in excess then the high concentration of oxalates may cause damage to the kidneys.
In high concentration, oxalates in the spinach bind with the calcium of the body to form calcium oxalate, a common cause of kidney stones.
(6) Purines In Spinach And Gouts Risk
Vitamin C, an anti-inflammatory compound in spinach provides relief from pain and inflammation caused by inflammatory conditions like gouts and arthritis.
But, eating too much spinach is bad for individuals prone to gouts and arthritis.
Purines in spinach break down to uric acid in our body and later is efficiently removed by the kidneys before they cause any harm.
However, overeating spinach may lead to a high concentration of uric acid in the bloodstream and worsen the condition of gouts and arthritis.
It may cause joint pain, joint stiffness, redness or swelling, pain and difficulty in urinating, blood in urine, foul-smelling urine, and kidney stones.
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(7) Can Give Rise to Teeth Coarseness
Spinach makes our teeth harsh and gritty as they contain oxalic acid that forms small crystals that don’t dissolve in water.
This temporary side effect can easily be dealt with by brushing teeth regularly.
(8) May Cause Allergic Reactions
Spinach provides many health and beauty benefits and is a safe vegetable for the majority.
However, the histamine and Immunoglobulin E (IgE) in the spinach may cause allergic reactions in some individuals.
Some allergic reactions that may arise are hives, itchy or flushed skin, red eyes, facial swelling, runny nose, headache, and asthma, etc.
(9) High Contamination Risk
Raw spinach is at a higher risk of being contaminated with E. Coli, organic fertilizers, pesticides, and unhygienic irrigation water, etc, and may increase the risk of toxic reactions in food poisoning.
Wash spinach under clean running water before consuming it.
Avoid spinach with darkened color, moist texture, and bad smell.
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(10) Can Interfere With Anticoagulants
Vitamin K in spinach helps with blood clotting.
However, this makes spinach unsuitable for individuals who take anticoagulants like warfarin.
Vitamin K in spinach may interact with anticoagulants ( taken for reducing blood clots) and affect their performance negatively.
If you are on anticoagulant medication, consult with your doctor before adding spinach to your routine.
(11) Spinach During Pregnancy
Spinach aids in maintaining healthy pregnancy as it contains vitamin C and other relevant compounds like phytonutrients, etc that protect the fetus from free radical damage.
Folic acid in spinach helps with the brain development of the fetus and reduces the risk of neural tube defects like spina bifida.
Spinach regulates blood sugar and reduces the risk of gestational diabetes, often experienced during 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy.
Iron in spinach aids in maintaining a healthy pregnancy.
But, If you are taking folic acid or iron supplements, then overeating spinach may cause more harm than good.
Consult with your doctor before eating spinach during pregnancy to ensure that there is no food-drug intolerance.
High-level folic acid may cause abdominal cramps, diarrhea, rash, sleep disorders, irritability, nausea, upset stomach, seizures, and gas, etc.
Too much iron may cause symptoms like chronic fatigue, joint pain, abdominal pain, irregular heartbeat, hair loss, depression, high blood sugar, etc.
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(12) Too Much Spinach And Diabetes
Spinach has a low glycemic index of 15 and slows down the rate at which sugar is released into the bloodstream, prevents a sudden spike in blood sugar level, and helps in managing diabetes.
The dietary fibers in the pumpkin slow down sugar absorption by the bloodstream and thus controls blood sugar levels.
However, Consume spinach moderately as overeating it may lower blood sugar level abnormally causing symptoms such as shakiness, dizziness, excessive sweating, excessive hunger, fast heartbeat, confusion, and irritability or moodiness.
If you are on diabetic medication, eat spinach after consulting with a doctor to reduce food-drug intolerance risk.
(13) Too Much Potassium Is Bad
Potassium in spinach relaxes blood vessels, improves blood circulation, and provides relief from hypertension or high blood pressure.
Potassium also provides other benefits like maintaining electrolyte balance, regulating muscle and heart contractions, and strengthening bones, etc.
However, avoid eating too much spinach as the high potassium level may abnormally lower blood pressure causing symptoms like dizziness, fainting, nausea, dehydration, lack of concentration, blurred vision, and pale skin, etc.
Also, If you are already on blood pressure medication, then eat spinach after consulting with your doctor to eliminate food-drug intolerance risk.
(14) Interaction With Certain Medications
Spinach may interact with certain medications and should be consumed in moderation after consultation with your doctor to avoid food-drug intolerance risk.
Spinach may interact with diabetic medications like glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.
Vitamin K in spinach may interfere with anticoagulants like warfarin(Coumadin) and decrease their effectiveness.
This article provides general information about the topic and is not be taken as medical advice or as an alternative to medical advice, treatment, and/or diagnosis. Always consult with your doctor before trying out any of the remedies/recipes suggested in the blog post.
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Bharat Sharma is a Delhi-based writer who loves reading and writing research-based topics revolving around health, fitness, and nutrition. His love for writing started during his teenage and continues till date. After his graduation, he worked for GE Money, and IBM, but later found his true love i.e. blogging.