First off, oxalate is a natural substance in many foods. So more likely than not, most of the foods that we eat have oxalate. Our body naturally rids of it via urine. But if there is too much waste and too little liquid in the urine, crystals can form which then can eventually turn into a solid mass or kidney stone. One way to prevent that from happening is by choosing to include in your diet low oxalate foods as an alternative to the oxalate-rich ones that you’re more likely used to eating.
Since oxalate is one of those substances that causes crystals in the urine, a low oxalate diet or an oxalate-controlled diet may benefit those who are at risk of developing kidney stones. This is especially true given that calcium oxalate stones are the most common type of kidney stones. You may not experience any symptoms if the kidney stones are very small because they can simply pass through the urinary tract without problems. However, a larger kidney stone presents noticeable symptoms like painful urination, sharp back pain, nausea and vomiting, and even blood in the urine.
Having said that, here is a list of the 19 low oxalate foods that you can include in your oxalate-controlled diet. It also pays to have an idea of the oxalate content of other foods to make sure you also know which ones should you be taking in moderation and which ones should you be avoiding altogether.
Low Oxalate Foods
A serving of ½ cup of blackberries has very low oxalate content at only 2mg. It’s perfect in your smoothies, oatmeal, or as is for snacks!
Blackberries are rich in beneficial vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Its anthocyanins content holds many anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties.
A nice slice of watermelon contains only 1mg oxalate, so eat away! It’s a great way to rehydrate which is particularly more important if you want to reduce oxalate in your body.
Aside from watermelon’s high water content, it also has other important nutrients like lycopene and vitamin C. It’s good for hydration, heart health, and digestion.
A serving of about ¼ cantaloupe fruit has low oxalate content, it’s only about 1mg. It’s best eaten as fresh fruit, salad, or as a dessert served with perhaps a scoop of ice cream or some custard.
Cantaloupe is packed with vitamin C and is also a good source of vitamin A. It’s good for the eyes, bones, skin, and immune system.
About 16 pieces of seedless grapes or equal to half a cup only contains 1mg oxalate. So, do enjoy grapes, even the seeds (if it’s not seedless)! Apparently, it’s full of antioxidants.
Grapes, aside from antioxidants, also contain vitamins K and C. Its potassium content helps balance fluids in the body. It also helps in controlling high blood pressure and lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Enjoy a whole ripe mango because it’s very low in oxalate as well! Simply eat them fresh for a snack or you can also try adding them in salads or salsas.
Mangoes are excellent sources of vitamin A and flavonoids, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Their peel also contains phytonutrients. It’s good for controlling blood pressure and heart rate.
Eat up your broccoli because half a cup of chopped broccoli only has 1mg oxalate. Aside from steaming, sauteing is actually a quick and easy method of cooking your broccoli.
It’s packed with many nutrients like fiber, vitamins C and K, iron, and potassium. It’s great for supporting heart health and regulating blood pressure.
Just like broccoli, cabbage is also one of the cruciferous vegetables that are low in oxalate, ½ cup has only 1mg. You can simply eat it raw like in slaw or salad. You can also make soup or stew with it.
Cabbage is a great source of dietary fiber and vitamins K and C. It’s good for improving digestion, lowering cholesterol levels, and keeping the heart healthy.
Zucchini, one of the low FODMAP foods, is actually very low in oxalate, too, just 1mg for every half cup. So, simply enjoy it as a refreshing snack, addition to salads, or make some zoodles!
Zucchini is rich in vitamins A and C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and manganese. Its antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties help in ridding the body of free radicals.
A whole cucumber contains only 4mg oxalate, so it’s in the clear. Keep on enjoying your cucumber salad, sticks, pickles, or smoothies.
Cucumber is a good source of vitamin K. It also has vitamins B and C, copper, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium. It helps in rehydration, weight loss, regularity, and blood sugar levels.
A serving of half a cup of corn only has 1mg oxalate. So, keep enjoying your corn-on-the-cob with butter or perhaps even with parmesan cheese. And of course, tacos and salsas are never the same without corn.
Corns are actually rich in vitamin C. Sweet corn in particular is packed with vitamins B1, B5, and C, manganese, phosphorus, folate, and dietary fiber. It helps in fighting diseases, generating new cells, aiding digestion, and boosting eye health.
Plain yogurt is also very low in oxalate, just 2mg every cup. Yogurt with fruit and frozen yogurt (as well as their non-fat counterparts) are also very low in oxalate. Both have just 1mg for every cup.
Aside from its protein and calcium content, yogurt is known for its live culture or probiotics that boost gut health. It’s great for supporting digestion, aiding weight loss, and boosting heart health.
A medium-sized egg has little to no oxalate content, so this protein-rich food is in the clear. But you’ll still want to eat it in moderation because having too much animal protein in the body can also contribute to kidney stone formation.
Aside from protein, eggs are also a good source of other nutrients like vitamin D which boosts bone health and the immune system, and choline which helps in liver function and metabolism.
Milk, including whole milk, buttermilk, fat-free milk, 1% milk, or 2% milk are all very low in oxalate content. A cup of has only 1mg.
It’s a great source of high-quality protein, calcium, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamins D, B12, and A. It’s good for maintaining strong teeth and bones and healthy blood pressure, central nervous system, and skin.
A slice of American, cheddar, or low-fat cheese is also in the clear as its oxalate content is little or none. Same thing with cottage cheese, mozzarella, and cream cheese.
Cheese, like milk, is a dairy product that is rich in protein and calcium. It also has vitamins A and B12, phosphorus, zinc, and riboflavin. It’s good not just for the bones but in protecting teeth from cavities as well.
Keep enjoying your ice cream, particularly vanilla, light, or non-fat ice cream! Apparently, a serving of half a cup contains little to no oxalate. So, do treat yourself every now and then without feeling guilty.
Ice cream not only contains calcium, phosphorus, and a handful of vitamins, it also stimulates the thrombotonin which is a hormone that triggers happiness and excitement!
Most pasta and grains are very high in oxalate but white rice is actually in the clear. A cup of cooked rice contains only 4mg of oxalate.
White rice although considered empty carbs is usually enriched with added nutrients like iron, folic acid, niacin, thiamine, and B vitamins. Brown rice is of course more nutritious compared to white rice, but it’s very high in oxalate, 24mg in every cup.
Corn flour is a good flour substitute with only 3mg oxalate in every one cup. Other flours are very high in oxalate – all-purpose flour for instance has 17mg for every cup while wheat flour has 29mg.
Corn flour contains fiber, protein, B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, and iron. It’s gluten-free and also aid in reducing constipation, energizing the body, improving bone health, and preventing high blood pressure.
Oat bran is the outer layer of the oat groat. It’s perfect for hot oat-bran cereals in the morning. It can also be added to baked goods, smoothies, or yogurts. A serving of 1/3 cup hardly contains any oxalate.
Oat bran actually has more protein and fiber compared to rolled or quick oats. It’s good for improving blood sugar control, supporting bowel function, and lowering blood pressure and blood cholesterol.
Flaxseed is always a welcome addition in smoothies, hot or cold breakfast cereals, or baked products! A tablespoon contains little to no oxalate.
Aside from dietary fiber, it’s also known for its omega 3 fatty acids contents. It’s great for regulating bowel movements, improving digestive health, and lowering blood pressure, blood sugar, and blood cholesterol levels.
How To Lower Risk of Kidney Stone Formation
Now that you know the different types of low oxalate foods, you can then start planning to work them into your daily meal plans. Here are a few tips as well on how to lower the risk of kidney stone formation. See what else can you do to reduce oxalate buildup in your body.
We’ve always been thought that drinking water is important to keeping a healthy body, well because it really is! About 8-10 cups of fluids (of course preferably water) is about enough to keep you well hydrated. Fluid will help dilute urine and reduce oxalate.
Keep a water bottle handy so you’re always reminded to drink. If you’re having trouble drinking plain water, then add a squeeze or a slice of lemon or throw in some mint leaves in there.
Get enough calcium
You’re maybe tempted to cut down your calcium intake in order to avoid stones from forming but apparently, that’s not the case. In fact, we actually need this calcium to bind with the oxalate in our stomach and intestines before it moves to the kidneys. In that sense, calcium is helping our body to get rid of oxalate.
Having said that, don’t get too excited about taking calcium supplements, too. Because too much calcium can also lead to calcium oxalate stones. It’s best to naturally get them from foods with calcium. But if you feel strongly about taking supplements, talk to your healthcare provider first to ensure you’re having just enough calcium in your body.
Watch out the salt
We’re already having too much sodium in our diet as is. So, it will really take some serious adjustments in the way we eat to cut back our sodium intake to no more than 2300mg per day. This is especially true when you want to lower the risk or if you’re already at risk for kidney stones.
So, watch out for and definitely limit the amount of salt and seasonings in your diet. Perhaps, it’s probably time to put the salt shaker away. Don’t worry though, because there are other ways to flavor food more healthily. For one, make use of spices and herbs!
Limit protein intake
Too much animal protein like red meat, seafood, poultry, and eggs, can boost the level of uric acid. It also reduces the levels of urinary citrate in urine which is a chemical that helps in preventing stones from forming.
The recommended dietary allowance according to the National Research Council (US) Subcommittee on the Tenth Edition of the Recommended Dietary Allowances is .80 g/kg of body weight for adults.
Avoid vitamin C supplements
You can boost your immune system with vitamin C-rich foods, but if you want to take supplements, talk to a health provider first because too much vitamin C in our body can cause high amounts of oxalate in the urine.
There is even a study that shows middle-aged or older men taking vitamin C supplements may be twice as likely to experience kidney stones compared to those who are not taking vitamin C supplements.