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The low oxalate diet is a subset of the DASH Diet that helps limit or avoid dietary intake of certain foods, including processed meat and other products with high levels of oxalates. This diet is suitable for individuals who want to reduce their risk for kidney stones.
Foods like spinach, broccoli, and sweet potatoes are well-known for their health advantages. But did you know they’re rich in oxalates as well?
Organic chemicals called oxalates may build up in the kidneys, raising the risk of painful kidney stones. While a low-oxalate diet was traditionally the standard therapy for kidney stones, new research suggests that you may not need to exclude oxalates entirely from your diet.
So, what exactly are oxalates, how can they affect your health, and should you limit your intake? Here’s all you need to know about it.
What Are Oxalates and How Do They Work?
Oxalates, commonly known as oxalic acid, are naturally occurring chemicals that may be found in a range of foods. Plant sources such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds include some of the most frequent oxalates in the diet. Oxalate is a mineral that your body produces naturally.
Oxalates are minerals that bind to calcium and are expelled from the body via the feces. On the other hand, high levels of oxalate might build up in the kidneys, resulting in kidney stones.
Hard mineral deposits build inside the inner lining of the kidneys, resulting in symptoms such as stomach discomfort, nausea, and vomiting. Calcium oxalate stones are among the most prevalent forms of kidney stones; however, there are numerous others.
A conventional kidney stone diet restricts oxalate-rich foods to prevent these painful mineral deposits from developing. On the other hand, many oxalate-rich foods are also high in other nutrients and may double as fiber-rich, magnesium-rich diets.
Rather than eliminating these items from your diet entirely, a new study suggests that boosting your calcium consumption might be just as beneficial in preventing kidney stones.
Side Effects and Risks
Oxalates are classified as antinutrients because they may bind to minerals in the body and hinder them from being absorbed. Calcium, in particular, binds to oxalate and is expelled from the body, which might be troublesome for those who eat a low-calcium, high-oxalate diet.
However, most evidence shows that eating high-oxalate foods in moderation as part of a balanced diet is unlikely to harm one’s health. Additionally, soaking or boiling meals reduce oxalate levels, allowing better nutrient absorption.
Another problem connected with oxalate ingestion is kidney stones. This is because excessive levels of oxalates may build up in the kidneys, causing kidney stones to develop.
While reducing your diet to high-oxalate foods may lessen your chance of kidney stones, many of these foods are also high in other vitamins and minerals that your body needs.
Furthermore, studies suggest that eating oxalate-rich meals alongside calcium-rich foods may help the body excrete oxalate without having to eliminate all oxalate-rich items from your diet.
A low-oxalate diet is typically suggested if you want to understand how to avoid kidney stones, particularly if you’re prone to them.
In general, a low-oxalate diet has fewer than 40–50 mg of oxalates per day. Staying hydrated, reducing your protein intake, and boosting calcium consumption are all critical parts of a low-oxalate diet, in addition to minimizing your oxalate intake. To see whether your symptoms improve, it’s usually best to stick to the diet for at least 3–6 weeks.
Here are a few easy ways to stick to a low-oxalate diet:
1. Consumption of high-oxalate foods in moderation
Kidney stones may be prevented by limiting your consumption of high-oxalate foods like those on this list. There’s no need to exclude these things entirely from your diet. Indeed, a new study shows that increasing calcium consumption may increase oxalate excretion and be more effective in preventing kidney stones.
2. Eat a Wide Range of Low-Oxalate Foods
Many nutrient-dense, low-oxalate foods may be eaten as part of a healthy, well-rounded diet. The following are some of the best foods to include in a low-oxalate diet:
- Some of the fruits available are bananas, cherries, mangoes, grapefruit, melons, grapes, nectarines, and papaya.
- Cauliflower, kohlrabi, radishes, chives, mushrooms, cucumbers, cabbage, peas, and avocados are examples of vegetables.
- Meat, poultry, fish, and eggs are all excellent protein sources.
- Milk, cheese, yogurt, and butter are examples of dairy products.
- Rice, maize bran, rye bread, and egg noodles are examples of grains.
- Water, herbal tea, and wine are some of the beverages available.
- Rosemary, oregano, basil, turmeric, ginger, and dill are examples of herbs and spices.
3. Increase your calcium intake by eating more calcium-rich foods.
Because oxalate and calcium bond together, kidney stones are less likely to develop. As a result, it’s best to eat oxalate-rich foods like sardines, yogurt, kefir, cheese, and almonds with calcium-rich meals like sardines, yogurt, kefir, cheese, and almonds.
2–3 servings of calcium-rich meals each day are ideal.
4. Get a lot of water
Water may help drain waste out of the kidneys, which can help prevent kidney stones. Try to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water or drinks every day to keep hydrated.
5. Protein Intake in Moderate Amounts
Kidney stones may be exacerbated by consuming too much animal protein. Protein, which may be found in foods such as meat, fish, poultry, legumes, nuts, and seeds, should account for 10–35 percent of total daily calories in a balanced diet.
6. Cook or soak foods high in oxalate
Some meals, such as greens and other vegetables, maybe reduced in oxalate content by boiling or steaming. Boiling or heating veggies for 6–10 minutes until tender is a good option.
Soaking grains and legumes may help reduce oxalate levels while also lowering levels of antinutrients such as phytate, protease inhibitors, lectins, and tannins. Check out this helpful sprout guide for more information on soaking and sprouting vegetables.
7. Make an attempt at supplementation
To cope with oxalic acid-related side effects or discomfort, some patients use calcium citrate, NAG (N-Acetyl-Glucosamine), CMO (cetyl myristoleate), or a combination of these supplements.
You may discuss them with your doctor to see if they help you manage your symptoms.
Foods High in Oxalate
Oxalates may be found in various concentrations in most plant foods, including numerous fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Meanwhile, oxalates are found in trace levels in most animal products such as meat, fish, and poultry.
Here are a few foods that are rich in oxalates:
- Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, kiwis, tangerines, and figs are some of the fruits available.
- Broccoli, rhubarb, okra, leeks, beets, potatoes, eggplant, sweet potatoes, zucchini, carrots, celery, olives, rutabaga, chicory parsley, peppers; vegetables: broccoli, rhubarb, okra, leeks, beets, beets, potatoes, eggplant, sweet potatoes, zucchini, carrots, celery, olives, rutabaga, chicory parsley, pepper
- Spinach, escarole, beet greens, kale, collards, and Swiss chard are examples of leafy greens.
- Almonds, cashews, peanuts, and sesame seeds are among the nuts and seeds available.
- Miso, tofu, soy milk, green beans, and kidney beans are examples of legumes and soy products.
- Bulgur, corn grits, wheat germ, whole wheat bread, amaranth, buckwheat, and quinoa are among the grains available.
- Cocoa/chocolate, chocolate milk, black tea, instant coffee, and dark beers are some available beverages.
Some foods have a modest level of oxalates and may readily be included in a low-oxalate diet. For example, here are some foods with a medium oxalate content:
- Apples, oranges, prunes, pears, pineapples, peaches, and apricots are some fruits available.
- Artichoke, fennel, canned peas, asparagus, tomato, lima beans, Brussels sprouts, mustard greens, turnips, onions, parsnips, corn, fennel, fennel, fennel, fennel, fennel, fennel, fennel, fennel, fennel, fennel, fennel, fenne
- Coffee, carrot juice, tomato juice, and orange juice are some of the beverages available.
- Many fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds include oxalates, which are natural chemicals present in a range of plant diets.
- Oxalates may build up in the kidneys in large volumes, causing kidney stones to develop.
- While a low-oxalate diet was originally suggested to avoid kidney stones, a new study reveals that increasing oxalate excretion by consuming more calcium-rich foods may be more helpful.
- It may also be useful to consume a range of low-oxalate diets, drink enough water, boil or soak oxalate foods, and restrict your consumption of animal proteins.
Frequently Asked Question
What is a good low oxalate breakfast?
A: According to my calculations, the best low oxalate breakfast is an egg-white omelet with turkey bacon.
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