January 24, 2023

Kidney Stones and Oxalate Foods: What You Need to Know


Kidney stones, specifically calcium oxalate stones, can be an incredibly unpleasant experience. If you’re here because you suffer from frequent kidney stones, I first want you to know that there are things you CAN do to help prevent their formation or frequency of occurrence. In this blog we will discuss oxalate foods, calcium, supplements, fluid and sodium.


You can help your body to avoid forming kidney stones by understanding oxalate foods. Contrary to popular belief, you do NOT need to avoid all foods that contain oxalate. Complete avoidance of oxalate foods is actually not necessary. The key is for you to avoid ultra high oxalate foods. We will get into it here in a second, but first let’s cover the basics. 


What is Oxalate? 


Oxalate is a chemical compound found in some foods. Oxalate binds with calcium, which can form tiny crystals in the kidneys. Over time, these crystals can form stones that can cause pain, nausea, and really make your life miserable until they pass or are surgically removed. 


If we were to outline all the foods that contain oxalate, you’ll probably feel overwhelmed by the potential long list of foods you should be aware of. But do not fret, my friend! The thing about oxalate content is that there are foods that have low, medium, high, and super high levels of oxalate. Studies have shown that often avoiding the super high oxalate foods is enough to prevent oxalate kidney stones [1]. 


Let me demonstrate the real jump certain oxalate foods might have so that you get my point about super high oxalate foods. For example, ½ cup of yams or turnips are considered high oxalate foods (40 mg and 30 mg, respectively), but ½ cup of cooked spinach contains 755 mg of oxalate and 1 cup raw of spinach has 656 mg of oxalate. 


For this reason, when starting to avoid oxalate foods, it would be a good idea to start with the super high oxalate foods as this might be enough to make a BIG difference in your oxalate intake.