Oxalate is a naturally occurring compound found in many foods we eat. While most people can tolerate oxalate without any issues, some individuals may develop health problems related to high levels of oxalate in their body. This is where a low oxalate diet comes into play.
A low oxalate diet is a dietary approach that aims to reduce the amount of oxalate consumed through food. By following this diet, individuals can minimize the risk of oxalate-related health issues, such as kidney stones, urinary tract infections, and certain types of chronic pain.
The idea behind a low oxalate diet is simple: by limiting the intake of high-oxalate foods and focusing on low-oxalate alternatives, individuals can effectively manage their oxalate levels and potentially prevent the development of health complications. This diet typically involves avoiding or minimizing foods like spinach, rhubarb, beet greens, chocolate, nuts, and whole grains, all of which are high in oxalate.
However, it’s important to note that not all high-oxalate foods need to be completely eliminated. Moderation is key, as some high-oxalate foods also offer valuable nutritional benefits. By understanding the oxalate content of different foods and making informed choices, individuals can strike a balance between enjoying a varied and nutritious diet while still managing their oxalate levels effectively.
Foods to eat
The low oxalate diet allows you to enjoy a variety of foods that are low in oxalates. Here are some examples of foods that you can eat on this diet:
Fruits: Apples, pears, peaches, grapes, melons, bananas.
Vegetables: Cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce, cucumber, zucchini, onions.
Proteins: Chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, tofu, tempeh.
Dairy products: Milk, yogurt, cheese, butter.
Grains: Rice, oats, quinoa, corn.
Nuts and seeds: Almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, chia seeds.
Fats and oils: Olive oil, coconut oil, avocado.
Beverages: Water, herbal teas, low-oxalate fruit juices.
Remember to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration and help flush out oxalates from your body.
It is important to note that while these foods are low in oxalates, individual tolerance may vary. Some people may still have reactions to certain foods on this list, so it is best to work with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian to personalize your low oxalate diet.
Foods to avoid
If you’re following a low oxalate diet, there are certain foods you should avoid or limit. These foods are high in oxalates and can increase your risk of developing kidney stones or worsening your symptoms if you already have kidney stones.
High-oxalate foods to avoid:
- Spinach – Spinach is one of the highest oxalate-containing foods. It’s best to avoid it completely or limit your intake if you’re on a low oxalate diet.
- Rhubarb – Rhubarb is another vegetable that is high in oxalates. Steer clear of this tart vegetable if you have kidney stones.
- Beets – Beets are delicious and nutritious, but they contain a moderate amount of oxalates. It’s best to limit your intake if you’re following a low oxalate diet.
- Swiss chard – Swiss chard is a leafy green that is high in oxalates. If you’re on a low oxalate diet, it’s best to avoid or limit your consumption of this vegetable.
- Nuts – Many types of nuts, including almonds, cashews, and peanuts, are high in oxalates. It’s best to choose low-oxalate alternatives, such as macadamia nuts or pecans.
- Seeds – Some seeds, like sesame seeds and flaxseeds, are high in oxalates. Consider consuming low-oxalate options, such as chia seeds or pumpkin seeds.
- Chocolate – Unfortunately, chocolate is high in oxalates. If you have kidney stones or are following a low oxalate diet, it’s best to limit your intake or opt for low-oxalate chocolate alternatives.
Other dietary considerations:
In addition to avoiding high-oxalate foods, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids to help flush out oxalates from your system. You should also limit your intake of salt, animal protein, and vitamin C supplements, as these can increase your risk of kidney stones.
Remember, everyone’s dietary needs are different, so it’s always a good idea to speak with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian before making any significant dietary changes.