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What Is A Low Oxalate Diet? How Does The Body Get Benefits From It?

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The word- diet usually means a specific restricted meal program that facilitates losing weight in a certain period. But some diets are not only for weight loss but for some diseased conditions also. Some diet plans are specially to manage the symptoms of a particular illness. The low oxalate diet (LOD) plan is a basic plan your doctor will advise many times. But do you know what it exactly means? 

What are oxalates?

Oxalates are also known as oxalic acid, is a chemical compound naturally found in our body. They are present in a variety of plant foods like green leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. They are present in low quantities in dairy food, meat, and poultry food. 

What does our body do to the oxalates?

Oxalates are not so essential for our body, so it binds to the other waste products in food and makes their way to the kidneys to excrete it out. Oxalates often bind to minerals such as calcium and are excreted out of the body through urine and stool.

However, when we consume excessive oxalates, our body fails to flush it through urine, especially if you are not drinking enough fluids. As oxalates increases in the body, they can bind to calcium and block the absorption of minerals, form crystals and eventually kidney stone. 

Hence to avoid these consequences, your doctor often advice you to have a low oxalate diet. But what does it mean?

What is a low oxalate diet?

A low oxalate diet refers to a diet from which the amount of oxalate does not exceed 50 grams per day. If you plan your diet properly, then you can do it. In addition to limiting your oxalate intake, staying well-hydrated, moderating your protein intake, and increasing calcium consumption are other essential aspects of a low-oxalate diet. Typically, doctors recommended, to follow the diet for at least 3–6 weeks to see if your symptoms improve.  

Which are low oxalate foods? 

 There are plenty of low oxalate foods that are available easily and can enjoy as a part of a healthy diet. Here are some top low oxalate food that you can add to your diet –

  • Dairy products – Milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, and buttermilk
  • Fruits – avocado, banana, cherries, mango, papaya, passion fruit, grapes, and melons 
  • Vegetables – cauliflower, cabbages, radish, mushrooms, cucumber, and peas
  • Grains – white rice, barley, oat bran, and corn bran
  • Herbs and spices – rosemary, basil, turmeric, cumin, and ginger
  • Beverages – water, herbal tea, apple cider vinegar, and wine
  • Poultry food – eggs and chicken 
  • Meat products (Avoid processed meat)

What are the benefits of a low oxalic diet?

1: Prevent the formation of kidney stones. 

When oxalate concentration increase in your body, calcium oxalate stone will develop in your kidney. Various research suggests that almost 75% of kidney stones developed from calcium oxalate. A better pathway to excrete oxalate is from the stool as it will not bind to calcium and prevent the formation of kidney stones. 

2: Reduce the risk of cystic fibrosis complication

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a hereditary lung and digestive disorder where the body produces thick and sticky mucus that can clog the lungs and obstruct the pancreas. Though cystic fibrosis is untreatable and unavoidable, we can lower the risk of complications. 

In cystic fibrosis patients, doctors always recommend consuming low oxalate foods because to avoid further complications named-hyperoxaluria. The research found that 51% of cystic fibrosis patients had hyperoxaluria, and this is a dangerous risk factor for kidney stones.

3: Prevent underactive thyroid problems

When the body contains excess oxalate, it will store in various tissues and thyroid. This excess oxalate binds to a hormone released from the thyroid – T3 leads to formations of crystals in the thyroid. This crystal reduces the activity of the thyroid gland, leads to the development of various symptoms such as weight gain, fatigue, high cholesterol level, menstrual problems, etc. Hence, it always better to consume oxalate-containing food within a limit. 

4: Helpful for autism patients

Researchers have suggested that individuals with autism may be predisposed to oxalate intolerance. Although the metabolic pathways are unclear, individuals with autistic tendencies have seen an improvement in their symptoms when consuming a low oxalate diet.

Tips to follow a low oxalic diet

1: Moderate consumption of high-oxalate diet

Minimizing high-oxalate food from your diet could potentially help to prevent kidney stones. Research suggests that increasing your intake of calcium could boost oxalate excretion and may be more effective against kidney stones. Here are some sample oxalate-calcium combos to try- 

  • Berries with yogurt
  • Broccoli with feta cheese
  • Quinoa and chia seeds with milk (to make overnight breakfast quinoa)

2: Enjoy low oxalate foods

Various low oxalate foods help to lower your oxalate levels to enjoy it. In a low oxalate diet, you can include avocado, cauliflower, herbal tea, dairy products, chicken, and meat.

3: Consume calcium-rich foods 

Oxalate and calcium bind together to prevent the formation of kidney stones. Therefore it’s recommended to pair your oxalate diet with high-calcium-containing foods like yogurt and cheese. 

4: Drink plenty of water 

Water helps to flush many toxic substances from your body through your kidney and helps to prevent the formation of kidney stones. It is advisable to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water or fluids per day.

5: Avoid excessive sodium in diet 

Sodium causes the body to hold on to water, which counteracts the oxalate-flushing benefits of healthy hydration.

6: Cut down excess vitamin C supplementation 

When you consume vitamin C, it breaks down into your body and forms oxalates. If you are taking an excessive amount of vitamin C, then oxalate may get accumulated in your body and will produce various health issues. 

Read more about: 7 Healthy Benefits Of The Mediterranean Diet

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Riddhi Parmar

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