Does spinach cause diarrhea?

In this article, we will answer the question “Does spinach cause diarrhea?”, how much spinach is too much, how do you know if you have a spinach allergy or intolerance, can expired spinach cause diarrhea, what you can eat instead of spinach, what other foods cause diarrhea.

Does spinach cause diarrhea?

Yes, spinach causes diarrhea. This is particularly problematic for people who have a spinach allergy or other allergies and intolerances. Their intestines cannot process the large amount of insoluble fiber present in spinach. This increases the gut movement resulting in diarrhea. 

Another possible reason why you might get diarrhea from spinach is due to E.coli. Spinach, like many other leafy greens, is often contaminated with E.coli which from the soil in which the greens grow. 

You can eliminate this bacteria by thoroughly washing your produce before using it. Although cooking or baking destroys the vegetative forms of this bacteria, some strains of e.coli produce toxins that withstand the cooking temperature. 

The bottom line is to always wash your spinach no matter what the intended use is. They refrigerate it to slow down bacterial growth. If possible, use the spinach after cooking. Diarrhea may be a sign of food poisoning you get after acquiring e.coli from unwashed spinach. 

If you have a sensitive gut, be sure to never use bulk amounts of spinach in your smoothies or salad bowls. This will upset your stomach and may cause stomach pain and bloody diarrhea. The severity of the symptoms varies from person to person. 

How much spinach is too much?

Unless you have a spinach allergy or intolerance, you can eat spinach without experiencing any uneasiness. If spinach is not a regular part of your diet, start by incorporating it in small amounts in your diet. 

This allows your gut to familiarize yourself with the new food and prevent any uncomfortable symptoms when you consume it in a slightly larger quantity. If you are a sensitive individual, taking 2 cups of up to 70g of spinach in one sitting is too much for you.

How do you know if you have a spinach allergy or intolerance?

If the uncomfortable symptoms start to appear within minutes or an hour of eating spinach, you likely have a spinach allergy.  

Food allergies are characterized by symptoms such as diarrhea, stomach cramps, vomiting, difficulty breathing, hives, sneezing, dry cough, dizziness, weird taste, and itchiness in the mouth.

Having a spinach allergy means spinach is bad for your gut. On the other hand, spinach intolerance means that your immune system is acting up when exposed to spinach.

In the former case, even a little bit of spinach is bad for you. If you fall in the second category, you may have a chance with spinach but in small amounts. To understand whether you have spinach allergy or intolerance, contact our doctor.

Can expired spinach cause diarrhea?

Yes, expired spinach causes diarrhea. Refrigeration cannot keep the bacterial population of the spinach under check for more than 5-7 days. 

After a week, the bacteria grow to unacceptable limits that may be harmful upon ingestion. Therefore, it is best to use your stomach within a week or freeze it before its refrigeration period elapses.

What can you eat instead of spinach?

If washing, refrigerating, cooking the spinach before using it, and eating it in small portions, do not work for you, you may need a replacement. There are plenty of green leafy vegetables out there so choosing an alternative won’t be difficult.

For example, you may try swiss chard, arugula, dandelion greens, beet greens, collard greens, kale, mustard greens, broccoli, romaine lettuce, etc. Start by eating these veggies in small amounts and after light cooking. 

Cooking enhances the bioavailability of the nutrients in the leafy greens. This means that cooking destroys the anti-nutrient factors and makes the iron, vitamin K, fiber, folate, vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, and other nutrients present in spinach more digestible.

What other foods cause diarrhea?

Following types of food have been long known to cause diarrhea as they are commonly associated with food allergy or intolerance. Let’s have a look at them.

  1. Spicy foods
  1. Sugar substitutes including artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohol
  1. Milk and other dairy products
  1. Coffee
  1. Foods that contain caffeine such as black tea, green tea, energy drinks, cola, and other sodas, hot cocoa, chocolate, chocolate-flavored products, etc. 
  1. Foods containing fructose such as candies, soft drinks, preservatives, etc.
  1. Garlic and onions (due to the presence of fructans and bulk of insoluble fiber)
  1. Broccoli and cauliflower (due to their high insoluble fiber content)
  1. Fast food 

Conclusion 

In this article, we answered the question “Does spinach cause diarrhea?”, how much spinach is too much, how do you know if you have a spinach allergy or intolerance, can expired spinach cause diarrhea, what you can eat instead of spinach, what other foods cause diarrhea.

References 

https://www.livestrong.com/article/556464-spinach-and-diarrhea/

https://www.healthline.com/health/foods-that-cause-diarrhea#fast-food

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