Kidney stones are a common, painful, and potentially serious condition that impacts millions of people. There are many kidney stones treatment options, depending on the severity of the condition. Making certain dietary adjustments is one way to prevent or manage kidney stones.
High and Low Oxalate Foods List 2023
It’s important to get a diagnosis so you know what type of kidney stones you have. If you have calcium oxalate stones, the most common variety of kidney stones, you should avoid high oxalate foods. The diet for uric acid kidney stones and other varieties is different.
High Oxalate Foods
The following are some common high oxalate foods that you should avoid or minimize with calcium oxalate stones.
- Vegetables —Spinach, beets, potatoes, chard carrots.
- Nuts & Seeds —Cashews, almonds, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds.
- Miscellaneous —Chocolate, ice tea, potato chips, peanut butter.
Low Oxalate Foods
The following are some low oxalate foods that are safe to consume.
- Animal proteins — meat, fish, eggs, milk, yogurt, butter.
- Vegetables — cabbage, chives, cauliflower, cucumbers, endive, kohlrabi, mushrooms, radishes and water chestnuts. Peas, which are legumes, are also low-oxalate.
- Fruits — apples, avocado, bananas, cherries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries.
- Grains — oat bran, oatmeal, white rice, corn flour, barley malt.
Medium-Oxalate Foods to Limit
There are many in-between foods that you can consume in small quantities but shouldn’t overdo, such as:
- Starches — white, whole wheat, and rye flour. This includes many commercially made breads and pasta.
- Vegetables —tomato, asparagus, artichoke, collards.
- Fruits — oranges, cranberries, pineapples, prunes, coconut.
Keep in mind that low oxalate doesn’t necessarily mean healthy. You have to consider your overall health and dietary needs. For example, most animal proteins are low oxalate but you may need to limit them for other reasons.
5 Foods to Prevent Kidney Stones
1. Lemon. Lemons are high in citric acid, which helps to prevent kidney stones from forming. Lemonade is always refreshing, but commercial brands are high in sugar. The healthiest way to consume lemons is to squeeze fresh lemon into water.
2. Milk. Although calcium oxalate stones are produced when calcium binds with oxalates, this doesn’t mean you should avoid calcium in your diet. In fact, consuming high calcium dairy products such as milk has been linked to a lower risk for kidney stones. It is best to consume calcium foods at the same time consuming foods with oxalates so that the calcium and oxalates have a better chance of combining in the intestines and passing with a bowel movement rather than passing into the kidneys.
3. Oatmeal. This common breakfast food is high in fiber and rich in magnesium, an important nutrient for preventing kidney stones. Oats are also a low oxalate food. you can make it even healthier by adding milk and some nuts, seeds, and fruits that are low oxalate, such as blueberries, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, or flax seeds. It’s best to buy pure oats or plain oatmeal, not commercial mixes that may include all kinds of additives and sweeteners.
4. Cabbage. Low oxalate vegetables such as cabbage are helpful for preventing calcium oxalate stones. Cabbage is high in phytonutrients and important vitamins such as Vitamin K, B6, and folic acid. It’s also a high fiber food, which helps fill you up and makes it less likely you’ll be tempted to overeat less healthy foods.
5. Apples. Apples and apple juice are another refreshing fruit that can be beneficial for kidney stones. They are a low oxalate fruit that is high in antioxidants such as Vitamin C and rich in fiber.
More Dietary Tips to Prevent or Manage Kidney Stones
Kidney stones can be quite painful. In severe cases, kidney stones treatment may require surgery. By watching your diet and lifestyle, you can help to prevent kidney stones from occurring or recurring.
- Stay hydrated. Hydration is essential for preventing kidney stones in urine. Fluids help to flush out the kidneys. Doctors recommend drinking at least six 8 ounces glasses of water daily spread throughout the day. Aside from water, fruit juices such as orange and apple are good for hydration, but lemonade is the best choice. Limit your intake of caffeinated drinks.
- Limit meat and fish. Although animal proteins are low oxalate foods, they cause the body to produce uric acid, which can contribute to kidney stones. If you have uric acid kidney stones, it’s especially important to limit foods such as red meat. Even with calcium oxalate stones, you should watch your intake of these foods.
- Limit your intake of salt. Eating too much sodium can cause calcium to accumulate in the urine. It also contributes to dehydration. Be careful about consuming too many fast foods and salty snacks.
If you have kidney stones, make sure you get an accurate diagnosis from your doctor so you can receive any necessary treatments. Paying attention to your diet and staying hydrated can help to manage symptoms and help stones to pass more quickly.