Vegetables are an essential part of any healthy, balanced diet, but some of them can present hidden health risks if eaten the wrong way.
It is known that the rhubarb plant provides many health benefits, and the key is to eat only the stems. The leaves of the plant contain a chemical called oxalic acid, which can be toxic.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine warns that “rhubarb leaf poisoning occurs when someone eats pieces of rhubarb leaf.” The leaves also contain anthraquinone glycosides, which are suspected to be toxic.
Oxalic acid can also be found in spinach, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli, but in lower concentrations.
According to Ohio State University, oxalic acid is found in rhubarb leaves with a high content of about 0.5 grams per 100 grams of leaves.
Although the health authority notes that “the suggested lethal dose of oxalic acid is between 15 and 30 grams, which means that a few pounds of leaves need to be eaten to reach this dose, but low doses still cause vomiting and nausea.”
Symptoms (oxal poisoning):
• Burning sensation in the mouth.
• Death from cardiovascular collapse.
• Breathing difficulty.
• Burning sensation in the throat / mouth.
• stomach ache.
• Kidney stones.
• Red urine.
• Pain in the eye.
Symptoms of anthraquinone poisoning include skin irritation, eye irritation and discoloration of urine.
And while it remains crucial of the leaves, the stems can provide many health benefits because rhubarb is full of healthy nutrients, minerals and vitamins.
Although studies on the health benefits of rhubarb are limited, there are some promising results.
For example, rhubarb contains high levels of fiber, which has been linked to lowering cholesterol levels in the body.
A recent study found that men who consumed 27 grams of rhubarb fiber a day had an eight percent reduction in their cholesterol levels, as well as a nine percent reduction in LDL cholesterol.