What are the benefits of sorrel and who should avoid it?

What are the benefits of sorrel and who should avoid it?

Sorrel is a perennial herbaceous plant. It is used for cooking or producing medical and cosmetic products. Sorrel contains vitamins, organic acids and minerals that have a positive effect on health. But you shouldn’t include it in your diet in large quantities. Together with experts, we tell you why sorrel is useful, what contraindications it has, and what can be prepared from it.

  • What you need to know
  • Calorie content
  • Benefit
  • Contraindications
  • What to cook

The material was commented on:

Alexandra Razarenova, dietician, nutritionist, therapist, member of the European Union of Nutritionists, Dieticians and Food Industry Specialists;

Yaroslav Klyuchevsky, chef of the highest category, brand chef, crisis manager.

What you need to know about sorrel

You can make many different dishes from sorrel: from soups and pies to smoothies and ice cream. The plant is loved for its characteristic sourness, which appears due to the oxalic acid contained in the leaves. There are recipes with sorrel in the cuisine of different countries: European, Romanian, Greek, Vietnamese, Indian, Portuguese and others. (1).

The sorrel season begins in May and ends with the arrival of autumn. But even in the cold season, sorrel can add variety to our diet. Enough to do blanks. Sorrel can be dried, frozen or pickled.

Sorrel is not only planted in summer cottages. It grows in forests, along the banks of reservoirs and in fields. According to nutritionist Alexandra Razarenova, both wild and cultivated sorrel are beneficial: “Wild sorrel is more aromatic and rich in taste. Cultivated sorrel usually has more tender leaves and may be more convenient to use fresh. Both contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that make sorrel healthy. Overall, the choice between wild and cultivated sorrel depends on preference, taste and availability.”

It is better to collect sorrel before flowering. When flowering shoots appear, as well as in hot weather, the concentration of oxalic acid increases, and eating dishes with sorrel can cause health problems. It is important to eat greens in small quantities and not on a regular basis – as part of a balanced diet.

Sorrel is used in medical and cosmetic preparations. The crushed root of the plant is used to treat problems with the gastrointestinal tract, to prevent vitamin deficiency or inflammatory diseases of the oral cavity. In cosmetics, products containing sorrel extract even out skin tone.

Calorie content of sorrel

100 g of sorrel contains:

  • fat – 0.7 g;
  • carbohydrates – 3.2 g;
  • proteins – 2 g.

Energy value – 22 kcal (2).

However, you should not overuse and include large amounts of sorrel in your diet, even on a diet. The plant has its own contraindications.

Benefits of sorrel: 5 properties

Photo: Lunov Mykola/Shutterstock/Fotodom

1. Supports the functioning of the digestive system

Sorrel contains fiber, which supports the stable functioning of the digestive organs, reduces hunger and helps remove toxins from the body. Fiber stimulates peristalsis, fights inflammatory processes in the intestines and maintains optimal intestinal microflora.

2. Strengthens the immune system

Sorrel contains vitamins and minerals that improve the immune system. Vitamin C helps the body produce interferon (proteins that fight infections and viruses), vitamin K has immunomodulatory properties, and B vitamins are involved in the formation of immune cells. Sorrel contains iron, calcium and magnesium. They are also necessary for the normal functioning of the immune system.

3. Improves skin and bone condition

Sorrel is rich in vitamin C, which is involved in the synthesis collagen. This is a protein that makes up connective tissue. It slows down the aging process of the skin and increases its protective properties. Collagen also strengthens bones and nails, accelerates muscle growth and helps with joint pain.

4. Normalizes the functioning of the nervous system

The body cannot produce on its own magnesium, necessary for the normal functioning of the nervous system. 100 g of greens contains 103 mg of magnesium (daily value – 300-400 mg). With a magnesium deficiency, a person may feel apathy, emotional exhaustion, or anxiety. Often these symptoms are accompanied by insomnia.

5. Helps fight cancer

Sorrel leaves contain flavonoids. Australian researchers from Edith Cowan University found that people who consume sufficient amounts of flavonoid compounds (500 mg) are less likely to die from cancer. For clarity: 500 mg of flavonoids are contained in one orange or 100 g of broccoli. Flavonoids also help maintain cognitive function (3).

What are the benefits of sorrel and who should avoid it?

Sorrel: contraindications and harm

Photo: Smit/Shutterstock/Fotodom

Sorrel is a difficult product. Despite its positive properties, it also has contraindications. Therefore, before including sorrel in your diet, you need to consult a specialist, especially for allergy sufferers and those who have chronic diseases. Sorrel is also contraindicated for pregnant women. But in general, health risks are often associated with regular consumption of sorrel (4).

Possible side effects from consuming sorrel include the following.

1. Formation of kidney stones

Sorrel contains oxalic acid derivatives – oxalates, which contribute to the formation of the most common type of kidney stones (oxalate). You can reduce the harm from foods containing oxalates: experts advise eating them along with foods that contain a lot of calcium.

2. Allergy

People who are sensitive to oxalates may experience a wide range of sorrel allergy symptoms. Itching of the throat and mouth, runny nose, swelling, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, or dizziness may occur. In some cases, an allergic reaction occurs due to contact of the plant with the skin. Hives or rash may appear (5).

3. Increased stomach acidity

Symptoms of increased stomach acidity include heartburn, a feeling of fullness in the stomach, flatulence, and pain in the upper abdomen. Increased acidity can be a signal of gastritis, peptic ulcers (6). If these symptoms appear, you should contact a gastroenterologist.

Recipes with sorrel

It's better to add add sorrel to dishes fresh and do not heat it. This way the plant will retain its beneficial properties. It is preferable to eat sorrel immediately after harvesting, because the longer it is stored, the less nutritional value it contains.

What are the benefits of sorrel and who should avoid it?