The Paradox of Diet and Health By Mrs Vera West
I have been exploring for some time, alternative health treatments, via herbs such as turmeric. However, what I have noticed is that the alternative health sites seldom report on side effects, although the side effects of Big Pharma drugs are well documented, and most medications come with information sheets detailing these, always with the wise words, that “all medications can have side effects.” Side effects are built into our biochemistry. Having had kidney stones, I began researching the causes of kidney stones, mainly being oxalates, chemicals that bind with calcium to form insoluble stones:
I was amazed to find that most of the healthy foods I had adopted to lower blood pressure (e.g. dark sugar free chocolate), and to avoid irritable bowel syndrome, were high in oxalis. This not only included nuts, but many otherwise healthy vegetables and high anti-oxidant fruit.
Spinach is particularly high. What to do? Obviously avoid the really high oxalate foods such as spinach, but beware that most vegetables and grains are going to have some oxalates. Websites have recommended getting adequate calcium, because while one might think that calcium intake causes stones in the first place, low amounts of calcium in the diet will increase the probability of the formation of calcium oxalate stones forming. This is so because calcium binds to oxalate in the intestines, and is eliminated through the bowels rather than the kidneys. For people facing dairy allergies and/or irritable bowel syndrome, that may be triggered by dairy, a substitution is needed. Almond milk sounds good, and I went this way, getting some for Christmas from my pension, but I read today that almonds are high in oxalates as well. So, I will probably get the calcium from coconut milk. Hopefully, there is nothing wrong with that.
Drinking plenty of clean water is important as well. Doctors often prescribe potassium citrate to help with the stones. However, there is also medical opinion that lemon juice can help with kidney stones, and there was some argument that lemon juice may be just as effective:
This is the paradox of health. Sometimes even the good things that are anti-cancer, can have a bad side effect. Everything involves a trade-off. The natural health movement probably has not recognised this problem, or at least is not vocal about it, because it would involve people taking a high degree of responsibility for understanding their health. Few people, even doctors, go that far.