If you regularly experience kidney stones, you’re not alone: Approximately 1 million Americans complain of kidney stones every year. If your doctor determines that your kidney stones are formed from oxalate, she may recommend a low-oxalate diet. Low-oxalate foods are those that have less than 2 milligrams of oxalates per serving. When you follow a low-oxalate diet, most of your foods should be from the low-oxalate list.
Many protein sources are low in oxalates, but because eating a large amount of protein can increase the risk of kidney stone formation, you should limit protein intake to two to three servings per day. Low oxalate protein sources include beef, lamb, pork, fish, shellfish, poultry, bacon, ham, eggs and lentils. Cheese is also low in oxalates.
When on an oxalate-controlled diet, you’ll be able to get plenty of nutrients from the variety of fruits and vegetables you can include in your diet. Low-oxalate fruits include bananas, cherries, cantaloupe, coconut, watermelon, grapefruit, grapes, mangoes, melons, nectarines, papaya, canned peaches, canned pears, kumquats, avocado and raisins. Vegetables that are low in oxalates include artichokes, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber, mushrooms, peas, radishes, squash, zucchini, red peppers, alfalfa sprouts, water chestnuts, endive, kohlrabi and chives.
The suggestions for breads and starches are slightly different from general recommendations. You’ve got to limit whole-wheat products, but you can have barley, corn cereal, rice cereal, egg noodles, English muffins, graham crackers, plain pasta, white rice, wild rice or rye bread.
When following a low-oxalate diet, you also have to consider what you’re drinking. The best choice is water, which is not only void of oxalates, but also helps hydrate you, making kidney stones less likely. Other low-oxalate beverage choices include apple juice, herbal tea, green tea, lemon juice, lime juice, milk, pineapple juice, grapefruit juice, apricot nectar, wine and bottled beer that isn’t too dark or robust. The Cleveland Clinic recommends that those on an oxalate-controlled diet drink 10 to 12 cups of fluids per day. At least 5 to 6 of these cups should be water.