There seems to be so much mis-information and misunderstanding about oxalates and kidney stones, that I decided write about here – hopefully clearing up any confusion.
First of all – just because health information is posted online, does not mean it’s true. Make sure the info is backed up by real science, research studies and qualified professionals. Preferrably with a physician’s endorsement.
I recently became aware of an article that stated, “green smoothies can devestate your health.” Seriously… Yep, a completely sensationalized article, that offered absolutely NO science, evidence or research. And people bought into it? Any excuse not to consume those veggies, I guess. The author even goes on to recommend eating greens cooked only with lots of butter. Seriously? Yep, another nutrition mishap. Clearly this woman in not educated with current nutrition data/research studies. Very irresponsible on her part.
The point in question involes the belief that the consumption of vegetables that conatin oxalates causes kidney stones.
Dr. Joel Fuhrman states, “It is relatively rare that people are bothered by normal oxalate levels in vegetables, even stone formers. We do check urinary oxalates in such patients and typically find that our *protocol results in reduction of calcium oxalates and a normalization of the ph, decreasing risk of stones. However, I still recommend such patients avoid spinach and chard, because their are so many other green options with lower oxalate levels. There are some rare people who cannot breakdown oxalates well and need further oxalate restriction, for them just restricting spinach and chard is not sufficient and they have to reduce other foods that have more moderate levels of oxalates.” *Eat to Live, Nutritarian
Dr Fuhrman goes on to say that it is extremely rare for for anyone to be sesitive to oxalates.
Let me break it all down for here:
What are oxalates?
Oxalates are naturally-occurring substances found in plants, animals, and in humans. In chemical terms, oxalates belong to a group of molecules called organic acids, and are routinely made by plants, animals, and humans. Our bodies always contain oxalates, and our cells routinely convert other substances into oxalates. For example, vitamin C is one of the substances that our cells routinely convert into oxalates. In addition to the oxalates that are made inside of our body, oxalates can arrive at our body from the outside, from certain foods that contain them.
What foods contain oxalates?
Fruits: blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, currants, kiwifruit, concord (purple) grapes, figs, tangerines, and plums
Vegetables: spinach, Swiss chard, beet greens, collards, okra, parsley, leeks and quinoa are among the most oxalate-dense vegetables celery, green beans, rutabagas, and summer squash would be considered moderately dense in oxalates
Nuts and seeds: almonds, cashews, and peanuts
Legumes: soybeans, tofu and other soy products
Grains: wheat bran, wheat germ, quinoa (a vegetable often used like a grain)
Other: cocoa, chocolate, and black tea
This website offers some insightful nutrition information: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=george&dbid=48
So – should you give up the greens? I say no way! Raw greens are incredibly beneficial for our health. We need a pound of raw veggies every day to stay healthy and prevent disease. Green smoothies are a great way to accomplish that.
For those of you that have an issue with kidney stones and are looking for sound nutrtiion advice as far as prevention, Dr. Michael Greger states, “In terms of food, according to the latest review on the subject, the most important thing is to reduce meat consumption (vegetarians may have only half the kidney stone risk). The reasons given why animal proteins are bad is because of hypercalciuria, hyperoxaluria, hyperuricosuria, hypocitraturia, and the acidification of the urine. You should also cut down on salt, and the more fruits and vegetables the better–they tend to have a high water, potassium, and magnesium content; a low sodium chloride content; and a high urine alkalinization power because of the presence of bicarbonate and citrate. I would warn against megadosing with vitamin C (as you’ll see across the internet) as this may exacerbate stone formation.”
Eat Healthy & Thrive. Enhance Performance & Recover Faster. Sound Nutririon is the Competitive Edge!
* (By Texas and Markus Boesch)