Knowing what kind of diet to take at some point in time is quite important. For instance, diabetes patients are expected to stop consuming carbs and sugary meals. This is done to facilitate speedy recovery from these chronic illnesses.
Now, if you have had calcium oxalate kidney stones, and your urinary oxalate level is high (as determined by a 24-hour urine test), you may benefit from a low-oxalate diet. Switching to a low oxalate diet may help reduce your risk of forming another stone. The diet is quintessential for reducing complications for those who have suffered from a kidney stone at some point.
This article has been written to enlighten you on the low oxalate diet, its importance, and its benefits to the body. However, before delving into this let’s see what oxalate diet means
What are oxalates?
Oxalates are a natural substance in many foods. They bind to calcium during digestion in the stomach and intestines and leave the body in the stool. Oxalate that is not bound to calcium travels as a waste product from the blood to the kidneys where it leaves the body in the urine. There are many different types of kidney stones, but 8 out of 10 stones are calcium oxalate stones. If there are too much oxalate and too little liquid in the urine, calcium oxalate fragments create crystals. As the crystals begin to increase in number, they stick to one another to form a larger crystal known as a kidney stone.
Kidney stones are a big concern for those who have or are at risk for kidney disease. The process of stone formation may cause damage to renal tissue, thus decreasing renal function.
Foods high in oxalate
If you have a history of kidney stones, limiting oxalate-rich foods is a good way to lower your chances of forming another kidney stone. this is not the most important part of avoiding kidney stones but is an important piece to consider. Foods high in oxalate include nuts and nut butters, especially almonds, and various vegetables, such as beets and beet greens, rhubarb, and spinach, beans, beer, beets, berries, chocolate, coffee, cranberries, dark green vegetables, such as spinach.
The main symptoms of calcium oxalate crystals in the urine are:
- pain in your side and back that can be intense, and may come in waves.
- pain when you urinate.
- blood in your urine, which can look red, pink, or brown.
- cloudy urine.
- foul-smelling urine.
- an urgent and constant need to urinate.
- nausea and vomiting.
Why you should follow this diet?
In the body, oxalates come together with calcium and iron to make crystals. In most people, these crystals leave the body in urine. For some people, they can grow into kidney stones. This diet may lower the risk of certain types of kidney stones.
Each person’s body absorbs oxalates differently. This diet doesn’t work for everyone. You can still get all the nutrients you need without having too many oxalates. Talk to a dietitian.
The diet limits oxalates to 50 milligrams (mg) each day. They are found in many foods. You will need to learn which foods you can limit and which foods you shouldn’t eat.
It is hard to tell how many oxalates are in foods you eat using current standards. It can vary with food. Be aware of how many grams of oxalates you are eating. Think about meeting with a dietitian.
Here are more tips to help stop you from getting kidney stones:
- Drink plenty of fluids each day.
- Don’t take large doses of vitamin C pills (limit to less than 1,000 mg/day).
- Keep protein below 80 grams/day.
- Eat a low-salt diet (less than 2,000 mg/day).
To further prevent complications for kidney stones, do the following
- Limit intake of any food or beverage with added sugar and other sweeteners, such as high fructose corn syrup. Examples include soda, candy, sweetened tea, coffee, or energy drinks. There are many thoughts on why this may help with kidney stones. There has not been one large study to validate this claim. However, since it doesn’t hurt and very well may help with kidney stone formation, it is worth the effort to start eliminating added sugars from the diet.
- Also, keep your salt and sodium intake low! Researchers are not exactly sure why a high sodium diet causes more stones. One thought is that a high sodium diet triggers a mechanism that increases water reabsorption in the body and, thus, produces more concentrated urine. More concentrated urine means more stones. Therefore, limiting how much sodium you eat can also play a role in decreasing the risk of kidney stone formation.