High Calcium Oxalate Foods that Cause Kidney Stones
by Puneet Aggarwal
It’s hard to imagine the pain of a kidney stone. But if you’ve had it before or are still bearing it, you might know how difficult it can be to pass them. What’s more shocking is that every 1 person amongst 10 is sure to develop kidney stones at some point in his/her life. So, the question remains – where do kidney stones come from? Unfortunately, one of their major causes lies in our diet. There is a long list of foods that cause kidney stones which includes some of our common favourites. They contain micro-substances like calcium oxalate, phosphate, uric acid and cystine that have a high probability of forming kidney stones. So, let us take a moment to learn more about them!
What is Oxalate?
The usual culprit for recurrent calculi is oxalate. Oxalate meaning a binding chemical of Calcium, commonly found in plants. It is not an essential nutrient for our body. It can be ingested through protein or calcium rich plant foods. Generally, minor levels of oxalate do not harm the body. But, in high amounts it can severely damage our organ systems.
When does an Oxalate build up occur?
The human body has an intelligent mechanism to cope with high oxalate levels. It releases the excess molecules via urine and stool. But unhealthy eating practices and dysfunctional gut can meddle with this process. Consumption of high oxalate foods, probiotics and vitamin C on a daily basis can lead to oxalate accumulation in the soft tissues. These molecules later get stuck in the nephrons and turn into hard masses.
How does Oxalate harm the body?
Oxalate rich foods aren’t a bane to calculi patients alone. Medical research has proved that it has a negative impact on overall gastrointestinal health. Further, as the oxalate concentration increases, your joints, nerves, skin, immunity and urinary tract take a toll. Eventually, it can make you extremely sick.
Oxalate poisoning: A condition where one develops recurrent allergic reactions, digestive issues and muscular inflammation.
Stomachic issues: Oxalate molecules seep into the stomach lining, reducing its tensile strength. This in turn leads to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), ulcers or tissue injuries.
Poor gut activity: When they reach the intestine, oxalates paralyze the intestinal walls. This reduces the intestines’ capability to absorb nutrients and pass stool. Constipation, abdominal pain and colon infection are common symptoms.
Mental disturbance: Prolonged exposure to food oxalates hampers cognitive functions. It can create sleeplessness, poor retention capacity and stress.
Reproductive Issues: Recent surveys have shown that women with high oxalate levels are at increased risks of endometriosis, vulvar infection and hormonal imbalance.
Joint Disorders: Oxalates can lead to arthritis and gout in the long run, or can aggravate them. They slow down healing of damaged tissues.
Cardiovascular Disorders: Your chances of heart failure increase double fold when you have high oxalate levels.
List of High Calcium Oxalate Foods
Any food item that contains significant levels of oxalates or leads to their production can be harmful for your kidneys. High calcium oxalate foods can come in any form, from vegetables to fruits and nuts. Next time you plan your platter, refer to this list to make your meals healthy and disease-proof:
Green Vegetables: If you have been a vegetarian all your life, we have some bad news for you! Green vegetables, especially spinach, okra, beans and rhubarb are rich in natural oxalates. What’s worse is that they do not come with any counteracting nutrients. So, it is best to avoid these veggies if you are under treatment for calculi. On the bright side – you can mix them up in a salad or veggie mash up to reduce their harmful effects.
Not-so-lucky Legumes: While it is true that natural proteins are a “must have” food item, they are best considered a “must avoid” item for calculi patients. The heavy proteins of legumes like lima beans, black-eyed peas, garbanzo beans, lentils and soyabean come with an equally high amount of oxalates. In short, they are best kept away while you undergo treatment.
Choicest Carbs and Cereals: Don’t be too alarmed, but those appetizing potatoes and raisin bran can be a dangerous mix for your kidneys. Baked potatoes with skin, sweet potatoes, wheat bran, brown rice, French fries, Bran cereals and shredded wheat cereals double up your risks of oxalate stones. Yet, if you are a “cereal” fan, replace these items with malto-mealsand cream of wheat or oats.
Tata to Tang: While all other fruits typically come under the category of low oxalate foods. Vitamin C rich fruits are not quite innocent. Too much of oranges, kiwi, fig, purple grapes, dates and canned pineapple can easily convert into oxalate molecules. So, keep a check on the amount of Vitamin C foods or supplements you consume!
Gritty Nuts: Usually nuts are an additional boon for kidney patients. But some nuts like almonds, cashews, pistachios and peanuts are extremely unhealthy for calcium oxalate stones. They contain a significant amount of oxalate concentration, which outruns their benefits for your body. So, in the interest of your kidneys, they are better avoided.
Red Fruits for Danger: You might grind your teeth to know that healthful fruits like beetroot, raspberries and cranberries are rich in natural oxalates. Besides their other nutrients, these items can also raise your blood oxalate levels in an instant. So, it is time to start thinking of alternatives if you wish to enjoy these kinds of fruits!
Sweet Chocolate: Medical researches may give you many other reasons to avoid chocolates, but we can give you two – sugar and cocoa powder. Both of these ingredients skyrocket the amount of oxalates in a chocolate bar, making it a prime danger for your kidneys. Our suggestion – indulge guilt-free desserts that are made from honey instead.
Refreshing but Unhealthy Beverage: Coffee and tea have been found to increase urine production. But overconsumption of caffeinated drinks may dehydrate the tissues and increase concentration of calcium oxalate in the blood. In addition, beer and soda serve to irritate the urinary tract lining. Both of these events can have adverse consequences for your kidney health.
What are the other ways to reduce Oxalate?
Low oxalate diet is your first line of defence against kidney stones. But it is not the only. High concentration of calcium oxalate in urine is a sign of toxicity. If it persists for a long period of time, it can make you prone to developing calculi in the future. You can prevent this by making minor changes in your lifestyle. Here are some expert tips to stop your stones from coming back:
Increase intake of Calcium: Foods rich in Calcium help to keep a cap on oxalate levels. Include milk, curd, kidney beans and broccoli in your daily diet. As a preventive measure, do not consume more than 2-3 servings of meat in a day.
Drink adequate water: Dehydration can affect your blood chemistry and accumulate toxins in your body. It is recommended to drink at least 2 – 2.5 litres of water every day.
Nullify oxalate content: It’s impossible to abstain from all vegetables and fruits. So,to neutralize their oxalate molecules pair them with calcium rich foods. You can try different combinations like, spinach on cheese, milk shake with berries, oats with milk etc.
Lower your Sodium: Salt is your kidney’s worst enemy. It lowers the Calcium content in your blood. To keep your kidneys in the best of their health, do not consume more than 2300 milligrams of salt per day.
Take the right tang: Lemon can be your sole companion to relieve those colic pangs. Dilute 1 tablespoon of lemon juice in one glass of water and drink once daily. Its citrate compound helps to dissolve kidney stones.
Make Magnesium a Friend for Life: It is a rare mineral which affects everything from metabolism to kidneys. Research has shown that consuming 420mg of Magnesium per day can cut down your risks of oxalate stones. To enrich your diet with Magnesium, you can garnish them with pumpkin seeds, banana, carrot or milk.
Old but Gold Yoga: The benefits of Yoga for kidney stone patients are innumerable. The best being, Yoga’s ability to prevent stone formation. Postures like Ushtra Asana, Uttanpadasana, Pawanmuktasana, Bhujangasana and Dhanur Asana work on your pelvic muscles to keep your kidneys, urinary tract and abdomen in optimum state.
A Solution You Can Trust: Nirogam’s KidstoQuor Tablets
Kidney stones are one problem, and their recurrence is quite another. It isn’t enough to pass out a calculus unless you can prevent it from developing again. That’s why you need Nirogam’s KidstoQuor tablets. This is an herbal formulation that unclogs nephrons and dissolves calculi. It strengthens the urinary tract muscles to ease calculi-related symptoms as well. All in all, it remedies your immediate and long term troubles!
Promotes smooth diuresis
Ayurvedic nephroprotective medicine
Improves reproductive health
Relieves colic and burning micturition
Treats urine hesitancy and frequency
Dosage: 1 tablet once/twice daily before meal(s)
The first step to fitness is healthy eating. Where medicines can give you temporary relief, diet and precautions can go a long way in keeping your kidneys stone-free. So, choose wise, choose Natural!