Do you have a history of kidney stones? If so, there’s a good chance you’ve passed a calcium oxalate stone or two. It’s estimated that up to three-quarters of kidney stones are composed of calcium oxalate; and one way to reduce the risk of a kidney stone recurrence is to eat less foods high in oxalates. Oxalates are found primarily in plant based foods such as vegetables and other “good for you” foods such as tea and nuts. If you eat a healthy diet, chances are you’re getting a fair amount of oxalic acid or oxalate already – a situation which could lead to kidney stone formation. Here are some high oxalic acid foods you may want to limit in your diet if you’ve had a kidney stone.
High Oxalic Acid Foods: Veggies
Vegetables that are a good source of phytonutrients and antioxidants, but many are also high in oxalates. Some examples of high oxalate vegetables are spinach, rhubarb, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, carrots, collard greens, green peppers, cabbage, beets, kale, eggplant, okra, squash, Swiss chard, parsley, and lettuce. It may be difficult to completely eliminate these foods from your diet; and you may not want to since they’re a good source of potassium – a mineral which reduces the risk of kidney stones. Ones you should definitely avoid include rhubarb, parsley, beets, Swiss chard, collard greens, radishes, and spinach since they have the highest oxalate content. Eat the rest in moderation.
High Oxalic Acid Foods: Fruits
Most berries are high in oxalates, as are red currants, concord grapes, tangerines, figs, and plums. These fruits are best replaced with other fruits that are lower in oxalates.
High Oxalic Acid Foods: Nuts, Grains, and Seeds
Certain grains such as amaranth, wheat germ, wheat bran, and quinoa are unusually high in oxalates and should be avoided. Peanuts, pecans, almonds, cashews, and peanuts are other foods to stay away from if you have a history of kidney stones.
High Oxalic Acid Foods: Other Foods
Other foods to avoid with a history of kidney stones include soy beans, black pepper, poppy seeds, cocoa, beer, tea, and chocolate. It’s also best to limit foods that are high in vitamin C since excess vitamin C can be converted to oxalates once in the body. Meat should be eaten in limited quantities.
The Bottom Line?
Because oxalates are found in so many foods, talk to your doctor before going on an oxalate restricted diet. A dietician can help formulate a nutritionally balanced meal plan for you that’s low in oxalic acid foods. Also, make it a point to drink plenty of water to help flush out oxalates and further reduce the risk of painful kidney stones.