Rhubarb is a unique looking plant that belongs to the Polygonaceae family of the plants. Botanically speaking, it is an herbaceous perennial with leaves growing off the top of the thick rhizome. It is a vegetable but is mainly used as a fruit in culinary practices. The leaf stalks of the rhubarb are used as a dessert or as an ingredient in sweet dishes. Rhubarb taste is similar to that of green apple and sometimes more sugar is added to it to make them even sweeter. Rhubarb is an excellent source of many nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and polyphenols, etc. that provides a number of health and beauty benefits. Although rhubarb is good for us and provides a number of benefits, it is advisable to consume them in moderation. This is because too much of everything is bad and the same goes for rhubarb. In this article, we will know about the major side effects of eating too many rhubarbs.
Side Effects of Eating Too Many Rhubarbs
(1) Too Much Dietary Fiber Is Bad For Stomach
Consuming rhubarb on a regular and moderate basis has been found to be very beneficial for our stomach and helps in keeping our digestive system healthy. This benefit of rhubarb is mainly due to the presence of dietary fibers in them. The dietary fibers present in the rhubarb acts as a natural laxative, improves bowel movement and ensures smooth elimination of stool from our system. This not only provides relief from constipation but also aids in treating various gastrointestinal problems like abdominal pain, irritable bowel syndrome, gas, bloating, flatulence, etc.
Although dietary fibers are great for our digestive health, it is advisable to consume rhubarb in moderate basis. This is because the high level of dietary fibers is bad for our system and can give rise to problems like intestinal gas, intestinal blockage and poor absorption of nutrients, etc.
Dietary fibers are also known to absorb excess water from our system. This property of dietary fibers helps in reducing the risk of diarrhea. However, if you are taking too many dietary fibers and not drinking enough water then it can cause dehydration in the body and can give rise to problems like indigestion, increased risk of constipation and diarrhea, muscle cramps, etc.
(2) Too Many Antioxidants Are Bad
Rhubarb is an excellent source of many antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A and other antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients and polyphenols, etc. and presence of these compounds make them very beneficial for our health.
The antioxidants present in the rhubarb fruit fights with the free radicals of our body, stabilize them and prevents them from causing oxidative damage to our cells, and thus reduces the risk of various cancers. They are also effective for proper elimination of toxins from our system and thus helps in reducing the burden from our vital organs like liver and kidneys.
In addition to this, antioxidants also provide a number of other benefits like strengthens our immune system, improves cognitive functions, improves the cardiovascular system, reduces the risk of neurodegenerative disorders, etc.
Although antioxidants are great and provide a number of benefits, it is advisable to consume rhubarb in moderation.
This is because of the high level of antioxidants in our system can do more harm than the good. As per a research conducted by the National Cancer Institute, it was found that smokers who took beta-carotene supplements in excess for a prolonged period of time were more likely to develop lung cancer in comparison to those who didn’t. Another study conducted by the office of the dietary supplements found that a high level of vitamin E in our system can increase the risk of hemorrhagic stroke.
This negative effect of the antioxidant is mainly because of the fact that in excessive quantity, antioxidants not only targets the cancer cells but also starts targeting the healthy cells around them and cause oxidative damage to them, and thereby increases the risk of various cancers.
(3) May Develop Allergic Reactions In Some Individuals
Rhubarb is an excellent source of many nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, polyphenols, and dietary fibers, etc. and presence of these compounds make rhubarb very beneficial for us and provides a number of health and beauty benefits.
Although rhubarb is an excellent fruit that provides numerous benefits, not everyone can enjoy these benefits.
This is because it has been found that some individuals might be allergic to rhubarb and these individuals should avoid consuming rhubarb at all cost. This will helps in reducing the risk of allergic reaction caused by the rhubarb fruit. Some other allergic reactions that may arise by rhubarb are itching, burning sensation in the mouth, swelling of tongue and lips, etc.
(4) May Cause Hypotension
Regular and moderate consumption of rhubarb has been found to be very beneficial for providing relief from hypertension or high blood pressure, a common health problem that affects millions of people around the world and is a leading cause of various cardiovascular problems like heart attack, heart stroke, irregular heartbeat and so on.
This benefit of rhubarb is mainly because of the presence of potassium in it. Potassium is a vital mineral that acts as a natural vasodilator which means it relaxes our blood vessels, improves blood circulation and thus helps in providing relief from high blood pressure or hypertension.
Although rhubarb is very effective in regulating high blood pressure, it is advisable to consume them in moderation. This is because it has been found that a high level of potassium in our system can lower our blood pressure to an abnormally low level giving rise to hypotension. Hypotension is a condition in which our blood pressure drops down below the normal range and is characterized by symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, nausea, depression, blurry vision, etc.
In addition to this, if you are suffering from high blood pressure and already taking medication for the same then it is advisable to consume rhubarb in moderation as too much of it may interfere with the medication.
(5) May Increase The Risk of Hypoglycemia
Consuming rhubarb on a regular and moderate basis has been found to be very beneficial for individuals suffering from diabetes and for those who are at the risk of developing diabetes.
This benefit of rhubarb is mainly because of its low glycemic index. Glycemic index of food determines the rate at which a particular food item releases sugar into the bloodstream. It is measured at the scale of 0 to 100. Lower the glycemic index of fruit and lower will the rate at which it releases sugar into the bloodstream.
Glycemic index of rhubarb is low which means it releases sugar into the bloodstream at a slow rate and prevents a sudden spike in the blood sugar level, and thus helps in managing diabetes.
Additionally, the dietary fibers present in the rhubarb reduces the rate at which sugar gets absorbed into the bloodstream and thus helps in managing diabetes.
Although rhubarb is very effective in regulating blood sugar level, it is advisable to consume them in moderation. This is because consuming too much rhubarb may lower our blood sugar to an abnormally low level giving rise to hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is a condition in which our blood sugar level drops down below the normal range and is characterized by symptoms such as excessive hunger, excessive sweating, fainting, nausea, and vomiting, etc.
And, if you are a diabetic patient and already taking medication for the same then it becomes even more important to eat rhubarb in moderation as too much of them may interfere with the diabetic medication and may worsen the situation.
(6) Eating Rhubarb During Pregnancy And Nursing Stage
Pregnancy is an important stage in every woman’s life and at this stage, it becomes very important for the woman to make sure that she is eating a diet full of essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals, and rhubarb can help in achieving the same. During the pregnancy stage, what she eats and drinks not only determines her health but also the health and fitness of the baby developing in her womb.
This benefit of rhubarb is mainly because of the presence of various nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and polyphenols, etc. in them. The antioxidants and the relevant compounds like polyphenol and phytonutrients etc. present in the rhubarb protects the uterus from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals and thus helps in maintaining a healthy pregnancy.
They also help in the proper elimination of toxins from our system and thus helps in keeping the vital organs like liver and kidneys healthy.
Other nutrients like vitamins and minerals etc. provides nourishment to the mother and the baby developing in her womb and aids in maintaining a healthy pregnancy.
Although rhubarb is safe, it is advisable to be on the safe side and consume them in moderation and only after having a word with your doctor.
Not just pregnant women, but nursing women should also keep an eye on their rhubarb consumption and eat them in moderation.
(7) May Cause Allergic Reactions
Rhubarb is an excellent source of many nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and polyphenols, etc. and presence of these compounds make them very beneficial for us and provides a number of health and beauty benefits. Although rhubarb provides a number of benefits, not everyone can enjoy these benefits. This is because some individuals might be allergic to rhubarb and they should avoid consuming rhubarb as much as possible. Some of the common side effects of rhubarb might be swollen tongue, itching, swelling in lips, rashes, etc.
Additionally, rhubarb is also rich in oxalic acid, a compound which is known to increase the risk of kidney stones.
The information contained in the post is for general purpose only and shouldn’t be considered as medical advice or as an alternative to medical advice. Although I’ve tried my best to keep the information contained in this post as accurate and updated as possible, I make no guarantee of the accurateness of the same.
P.S- Consider sharing this post, if you find it useful and/or interesting
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.