The word “oxalate” is a dietary term for certain acids found in food. Oxalates are found in coffee, tea, and the juices of fruits and berries. These foods include grapefruit, cranberry, and even chocolate. However, oxalate does not have to be a negative thing. You can still eat these foods in moderation. In order to reduce your oxalate intake, consider fermented foods, which can increase the healthy bacteria in your gut and prevent the harmful Candida yeast from growing.
Studies have shown that oxalate is a possible cause of kidney stones. This mineral does not come from foods; instead, it is synthesized in the human body. Studies have shown that salt, excessive vitamin C, and animal protein are associated with increased levels of oxalate in the body. In fact, consuming too much salt is associated with increased risk of developing kidney stones. The benefits of consuming these foods do outweigh the risks.
Although hummus is low on the Harvard oxalate list, it is highly concentrated in oxalate. It contains approximately 1700 milligrams per 100 grams. However, most people use hummus sparingly. In addition, almonds have moderate levels of oxalate. However, they may be a good snack option. The best way to consume oxalate-free foods is to stick to whole grain bread, brown rice, and fresh fruits and vegetables.
Cooking has a small impact on the amount of oxalate in foods. While repeated food chemistry studies found that blanching green leafy vegetables reduced oxalate content by between five to fifteen percent, it was not enough to reduce the levels of oxalate. In addition to reducing oxalate levels, overcooking destroys other nutrients in a food, making it less nutritious.
While some studies indicate that oxalate is harmful to the kidneys, a lower intake is recommended for healthy people. In addition, extra vitamin C can turn into oxalate. As long as the amount of oxalate in your diet is low, you won’t develop kidney stones. If you’re worried about oxalate and kidney stones, you can also lower the amount by boiling fruits and vegetables.
Spinach is the most commonly consumed food high in oxalate. Having a cup of spinach in leaf form weighs just one ounce and contains 200 milligrams of oxalate. However, you can reduce this amount by eating just 1/4 cup of spinach. Either way, it’s still a healthy choice. If you’re worried about oxalate in your diet, then consider substituting spinach with kale instead.
One reason to limit the amount of oxalates in your diet is that they can bind to certain minerals in the gut. For instance, oxalates can prevent the absorption of zinc and magnesium. Thus, they are considered anti-nutrients. However, many fruits and vegetables rich in oxalate are still very healthy. While they can be a source of calcium, they do contain a good amount of iron.