Fruits, vegetables, and nuts are without question staples of a healthy diet. Unfortunately, some of these highly nutritious foods might be affecting your body and sending your defense mechanisms into chronic overdrive. Nature's weapon of choice in this matter is a compound called oxalate.
Many people are just learning of the benefits of limiting oxalates in their diet and are finding relief from symptoms such as inflammatory conditions, autoimmune issues and mineral deficiency. Although chances are you haven't heard of oxalate until now, odds are greater that you may have a form of oxalate intolerance or know someone suffering from symptoms of excess oxalate.
If you are having challenges with kidney stones, what you need to know is that they most likely aren’t a calcium problem or a vegetable problem. They signal an acid problem! For people who form calcium oxalate kidney stones, dietary oxalates only account for 10-15% of the oxalate that is found in their urine. The rest, 80-85%, occur in the body metabolically. One of the largest and longest studies on kidney stones and oxalate vegetables was published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. It studied over 200,000 people for 44 combined years. The study concluded, “The relation between dietary oxalate and stone risk is unclear.”
Oxalates are naturally occurring compounds in plants, animals, and even humans . The body is naturally able to synthesize oxalates from various compounds such as excess vitamin C, fructose, and yeast. Vitamin B-6 deficiency, magnesium deficiency, and thiamine deficiency are also ideal circumstances for increased oxalate synthesis. Unfortunately, oxalates are also found in high concentrations in some of the healthiest foods that we eat on a daily basis. When your body is unable to metabolize oxalates effectively, health problems can occur.
Dietary oxalate foods are excellent sources of key nutrients such as vitamin C, folate, and fiber and are obvious essentials to maintaining a healthy body. Harvard published a valuable list of oxalate content in foods ranging from fruits and vegetable to cereals and fast food. I will share the link in the description below, this list can be helpful for those that are watching their oxalate intake. Here is a quick breakdown of some of the foods.
Fruits: Highest concentrations include avocados and many citrus fruits such as lemon or grapefruit. Lower levels found in most berries, apples, plantains, watermelon, and cantaloupe.
Vegetables: Very high oxalate concentration is found in beets, olives, rhubarb, spinach, turnip, and yams. Other food sources are mustard greens, most beans, and artichokes. Little to no oxalate concentration is found in broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber, iceberg lettuce, mushrooms, zucchini, or scallions.
Grains: Large concentration of oxalates is measured in whole wheat, soy flour, brown rice and buckwheat. Little to no oxalates are concentrated in flaxseed, barley malt flour and oat bran.
Meat, fish and alternatives: Most meats such as ham, hamburger, turkey, and wild game contain low to no levels of oxalates. Most fish also contain little or no oxalates.
Nuts and seeds: All nuts are high in oxalate concentration; the concentration in almonds is quadrupled that of a single serving of mixed nuts. Flaxseed contains little to no oxalates.
Oxalates are also available in processed snacks and beverages including potato chips and hot chocolate. Wheat crackers and Apple Juice contain very little oxalates.
An individual with a healthy gut and otherwise healthy immune system can generally tolerate low levels of oxalate from foods. Individuals with either common or rare conditions associated with excess oxalate concentrations in the body may benefit from eliminating dietary sources of oxalate.
Researchers suggest that you do not need to completely eradicate every source of oxalate foods from your diet as much as you should limit the consumption to less than 50 mg daily.
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Oxalate Content in Foods List:
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Should You Be Concerned About Dietary Oxalates? Kidney Stones? Low Oxalate Diet? Oxalate Food List