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Spring is in full swing when the first stalks of rhubarb are available on the vegetable markets from April and the tart and sour aroma unfolds in the nose. Until St. John's Day, rhubarb is a welcome guest in German cuisine and is used in a variety of ways to make jam and cakes. Despite its pleasant taste, care must be taken that not only the leaves of Rheum rhabarbarum are poisonous. Even if you want to eat rhubarb raw, you should pay attention to a few things.

Rhubarb: poisonous or not?

If you're going to eat rhubarb raw in spring, you'll probably hear a lot of people tell you not to. And that is entirely justified, if somewhat exaggerated. Rhubarb contains the so-called oxalic acid, which is found in a variety of leafy greens and other foods, including:

  • spinach
  • sorrel
  • manigold
  • Beetroot (leaves)
  • manioc
  • amaranth

Rheum rhabarbum is mainly found among leafy vegetables with the highest content of oxalic acid (oxalic acid) which even increases after the harvest time from June 24th, so that the plant can prepare for the winter. Therefore, should stop eating the plant except after harvest time will. In 100 grams of rhubarb there is 460 milligrams of acid, what signs of intoxication can cause as soon as it is eaten raw. You can eat the cooked vegetable without hesitation, but you can also eat rhubarb raw, depending on several factors:

  • diet
  • Kidney diseases, gout, rheumatism or people suffering from gallbladder disease
  • Eaten plant parts (flower, leaves, stalks peeled or unpeeled)
  • after or before the typical period for harvesting

The leaves contain particularly high amounts of acid. You should never eat these. This is also the case with the flower, which, however, tastes rather unpleasantly bitter before it has been cooked. After that, it resembles broccoli in aroma with a slightly sour note. You can only eat raw rhubarb stalks, with a rule of thumb: the greener the stalk, the more toxic acid it contains. That's why you should only eat the pulp. To do this, peel the stems. This can reduce the risk of poisoning, but not completely neutralize it. Yes, rhubarb is poisonous, but this is overdramatic.

How does oxalic acid affect the body?

A major problem with the question of whether Rheum rhabarbarum is harmful to humans is the common belief that excessive consumption of raw rhubarb can cause kidney stones. The acid binds to minerals found in the body, including iron, calcium and magnesium. If the acid binds to calcium too often, too much of it is deposited in the kidneys and leads to kidney and bladder stones. However, the acid is not the only reason for the formation of kidney stones. Human nutrition is of the utmost importance and includes the following deficiencies:

  • insufficient water intake
  • not getting enough potassium and magnesium from foods or supplements
  • excessive consumption of table salts
  • Intestinal flora disturbance due to unbalanced diet
  • chronic hyperacidity

The acid is especially toxic for adults when their body is weakened due to deficiency symptoms in the organism and existing diseases. Healthy people who eat a balanced diet can eat rhubarb raw as long as they can in moderation to do. Of course, this does not apply to children. Due to the smaller organism, it is not recommended to let children consume the plant raw as the amounts here are too high. Therefore, children and people with pre-existing conditions should not consume Rheum rhabarbarum in its raw state. There are also some foods that are 100 percent effective against acid:

  • Dairy products
  • citrus fruits
  • Raspberries, bananas, grapes
  • avocado
  • nuts
  • legumes
  • full grain
  • Dates, figs, plums

Dairy products and citrus fruits in particular should be mentioned here. The citric acid thoroughly breaks down the oxalic acid and exogenous calcium also acts against the acid. The balanced diet with lots of vegetables, fruits, proteins and fatty acids is the perfect "antidote" against the acidity of rhubarb. The dairy products act as a "distraction" for the acid. This then binds with the calcium from the dairy products and is therefore not deposited in the body, but is instead led out of the body via other routes. Even a yoghurt is sufficient for this, which can also soothe the intestinal flora.

notice: People with allergies often find it more difficult to implement a balanced diet. Therefore, if the allergy sufferer cannot eat dairy products or citrus fruits, it is advisable to avoid raw rhubarb.

How to cook rhubarb?

Rhubarb can be prepared in a variety of ways. In addition to the well-known culinary delights à la jam, cake and compote, you should definitely juice the plant once. The resulting syrup is wonderfully piquant. You can also freeze the knotweed plant and keep it long before use.

Be careful when pregnant

If you feel hungry for the knotweed plant during pregnancy, you should definitely consider the above points. While it's fine in itself if you occasionally one or two sticks of the delicious vegetables raw, but you should be aware that your body is under a lot of strain during the months of pregnancy. Although signs of fatigue or the like do not affect the general effect of the oxalic acid, your intestinal flora can be disturbed during this time. You should for this reason always consume dairy products with raw rheum rhabarbarum or this one consume cooked, again to balance the effect.

notice: If pregnant women have previously had problems with the deficiency symptoms and diseases mentioned above, they should definitely refrain from eating raw rhubarb. During this time you should pay more attention to nutrition so that the child does not suffer from it.

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