Isn’t the kitchen a happy place for everybody? When boredom strikes, you head towards the kitchen and rummage the well-organized shelves to shovel down anything that looks appealing before your mom arrives. Often, people don’t realize that not every food that looks enticing is healthy for the normal functioning of our body. 

Being a man means a lot of responsibilities on your mighty shoulders. Since your choice of food affects your everyday activities, it is sensible to think twice before gulping down anything that your sight perceives. When you eat a lot of food but deprive your body of sufficient water, you may be prone to kidney stones as the toxins are not flushed out. 

If you are having trouble with kidney stones, your doctor would have recommended you to stick to a low oxalate diet. Here’s everything you ought to know about a low oxalate diet.

What is a low oxalate diet?

A low oxalate diet is a diet plan in which one avoids the consumption of foods rich in oxalate, a di-anion usually found as salts in plants and animals. It also includes staying hydrated, increasing calcium intake, and moderating the protein intake. In a low oxalate diet, the daily value of oxalate does not exceed 50 grams. Following a wise diet plan is essential to maintain a healthy body. 

Over-consumption of oxalate-rich foods leads to a higher concentration of oxalate in the blood. Too much oxalate in the body increases the risk of kidney stones. Hence, it is advisable to limit the number of foods rich in oxalates such as beer, beans, spinach, soy products, potatoes, berries, and chocolates. 

Vitamin C that you consume is also converted to oxalate and increases the body’s oxalate levels. Typically, the good bacteria in the gut help to diminish the levels of oxalate, but this doesn’t work when you have fewer gut bacteria due to digestive diseases. Hence, it is prudent to give a second thought before consuming any food. 

We advise you to discuss your body condition with a doctor before following a low oxalate diet as it may cause side effects in some cases.

What can I eat in a Low Oxalate Diet?

Any food that has low oxalate makes a part of the low oxalate diet. The following are the foods you can eat in a low oxalate diet.

1. Fruits: Bananas, Avocados, Cherries, Apples, Papayas, Melons, Apricot, Red or Green Grapes, Peaches

2. Vegetables: Broccoli, Asparagus, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Mushrooms, Peas, Cucumber, Radish, Sprouts, Lettuce, Onions

3. Proteins: Egg, Poultry, Salmons, Non-processed meat

4. Grains: Oat bran, Corn bran, Wheat flour, White rice, Rye bread

5. Dairy products: Milk, Greek yogurt, Butter, Cheese, Buttermilk

6. Beverages: Water, Herbal tea, Wine, Fruit juices of above-mentioned fruits, Coffee, Lemonade

7. Spices: Black pepper, Cumin, Ginger, Turmeric 

8. Other: Unsalted chips, low-sodium soup, butter, margarine, cookies, cakes

Foods to avoid while on a Low Oxalate Diet

A low oxalate diet curbs the intake of foods rich in oxalate. Such foods that are to be avoided are as follows:

1. Fruits: Dates, Raspberries, blackberries, Cranberries, Oranges, Tangerines, Kiwis, Black Currants, Purple Plums, Mangoes

2. Vegetables: Spinach, Sweet Potatoes, Beetroots, Turnips, Yams, Okra, Navy beans, Kidney beans, Carrots, Watercress

3. Dairy Products: Chocolate and Cocoa

4. Nuts and seeds: Almonds, Pistachios, Walnuts, Cashews, Pumpkin seeds, Macadamia nuts, Sunflower seeds, Sesame seeds

5. Grains: Millet, Barley, Amaranth, Bulgur, Cornmeal, Brown Rice, Couscous

6. Soy products: Tofu, Tempeh, Soya beans, Soy milk, Soy burgers

7. Beverages: Tomato juice, Chocolate drinks, Instant iced tea

8. Other: Chocolate cake, sardines, jellies and jams of above-mentioned fruits, marmalades

Benefits of a Low Oxalate Diet

A low oxalate diet is beneficial for people with kidney stones and other serious illnesses. 

1. Prevents kidney stones:

The oxalates you consume are not very important for your body and hence travels along the digestive tract and passes out as stools or urine. During their passage in the alimentary canal, they bind with calcium ions and form crystals that lead to kidney stones

Following a low oxalate diet for three to six weeks and drinking enough fluid interrupts the formation of kidney stones in the future. 

2. Reduces the risk of Cystic Fibrosis:

Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic disorder that affects the mucous-producing cells in the lungs and digestive juices-producing cells in the digestive system. Medications to cure cystic fibrosis have not been discovered but a low oxalate diet helps in reducing further complications like hyperoxaluria. 

3. Helps to treat Autism:

Autism is a nervous system disorder that impairs the cognitive, emotional, social health of an individual. Most often, individuals are incapable of communication and verbal interaction. Patients with autism have higher levels of oxalate in their blood and are disposed to oxalate intolerance. Though there has not been any proof yet, following a low oxalate diet reduces the symptoms of autism and prevents complications. 

4. Averts thyroid problems:

When the levels of oxalate in the blood increase, it deposits in the thyroid tissues. The excess oxalate binds with the T3 hormone produced in the thyroid and forms crystals. These crystals deteriorate thyroid health and cause weight gain, hair loss, extreme fatigue, anxiety, palpitation, and high cholesterol. Practicing a low oxalate diet dwindles the risk of thyroid diseases.

Tips to follow while on a low oxalate diet

Here are some simple tips to be followed while on a low oxalate diet to improve your body’s condition.

  • Minimize the direct intake of high oxalate foods such as dark green leafy veggies and berries.
  • Consume oxalate-calcium combos if you feel like relishing your favorite berries. For example, pair your berries with yogurt and your chia seeds or oatmeal with milk. 
  • Add a lot of calcium foods such as broccoli, okra, kidney beans, and salmon to your diet.
  • Limit salt intake to about 2000 milligrams per day.
  • Avoid Vitamin C foods and supplements as vitamin C is converted to oxalate in the body.
  • Be thoughtful with the amount of your daily sodium intake. Too much sodium in the body retains the water and electrolytes instead of flushing out the oxalate. 

Doctors recommend a low oxalate diet only when you have complications and diseases due to excess oxalate. Otherwise, your body will lack the necessary and rare nutrients that are present in oxalate-rich foods.