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Boiling Your Vegetables: A Low Oxalate Solution to Reduce Pain

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If you're suffering from chronic pain or inflammation, it could be due to natural chemicals called oxalates, which are found in many foods you eat. Read on to learn how boiling your vegetables is a simple trick you can use to help ease your symptoms.

Many children on the autism spectrum suffer from sensitivity to oxalates in their diets.

Are Oxalates in Your Food?

Oxalates cannot be seen, tasted, or smelled. Yet we consume them almost every day. Since oxalates prove harmless for the majority of the population, many of us have not even heard of them.

Oxalates are chemical compounds that are found naturally in our bodies, as well as in many plants, fruits, and essentially all nuts and seeds.  Typically, when it is healthy, your gut doesn't absorb much of the chemicals from your diet. And oxalates are usually metabolized by the good bacteria in your gut (if you have them) or are eliminated in your stool. However, when oxalates meet up with damaged tissues, they bind with calcium and crystallize—causing irritation and pain.

innergy-750-big_2Oxalates are chemicals found in a number of healthy foods, and your ability to process them depends on the health of your gut. Strengthen your gut with good bacteria found in InnergyBiotic to counteract oxalate overload.

This either causes or increases inflammation.

It can be particularly painful when the crystals implant themselves in areas where they prevent other material from passing through (such as in your digestive tract). Additionally, in the case of a permeable or “leaky” gut, excess oxalates are absorbed into your body. This overload is linked to several health issues, including fibromyalgia, autism, kidney stones, vulvodynia, and hypothyroidism, just to name a few.

Hyperoxaluria is a condition that occurs when oxalate levels in the urine are so high that they cause severe kidney damage. In cases like this—often related to intestinal diseases and some high-oxalate diets—oxalate buildup may damage the kidneys and move to other parts of the body. It is possible that when kidney stones are caused by high oxalate levels, oxalates may have already accumulated in other areas of the body.1

Researcher Susan Owens points out an intriguing fact about oxalate absorption in the body: A history of heavy or even recent antibiotic use can increase the body's risk of dietary oxalate damage. The reason being is that antibiotics wipe out beneficial bacteria in the inner ecosystem, needed to break down oxalates. These good bacteria must be replenished after any antibiotic cycle.2

What researchers refer to as the "manipulation of gastrointestinal flora" can help to improve oxalate excretion through urine to reduce urinary supersaturation levels. Simply put, inoculating the gut with the right probiotic bacteria can positively impact oxalate levels in the gastrointestinal tract and could decrease their absorption, though more research is needed. The findings published in Kidney International could help to target kidney stone formation related to oxalate buildup.3

Which Foods Are High in Oxalates?

Some foods that contain oxalates are listed here. You will want to replace them with low oxalate options. As you read on, we'll tell you how to find those too.

Here is a short list of commonly eaten high oxalate foods:


  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Currants
  • Figs
  • Kiwi
  • Oranges
  • Papaya
  • Raspberries

**Currants, oranges, papaya, and figs are very sweet fruits and are not eaten on the Body Ecology Diet. The other four fruits have very little sugar and are fine to eat if you eat them with a probiotic food or liquid like cultured veggies, young coconut kefir, or InnergyBiotic.

Vegetables Highest in Oxalates

  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Okra
  • Olives
  • Parsley
  • Spinach

Vegetables Moderately High in Oxalates

  • Artichokes
  • Leeks
  • Red potatoes
  • String beans

Many children on the autism spectrum suffer from sensitivity to oxalates in their diets. Besides reducing the amount of oxalate-containing foods, we recommend adding fermented beverages to your daily routine. Fermented foods and beverages are the best way to build a healthy inner ecosystem and heal digestive distress.

Nuts and Seeds

  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Peanuts


  • Black beans
  • Navy beans
  • Soybeans
  • Tofu

**These foods are not on the initial healing stages of the Body Ecology Diet.


  • Millet
  • Rye
  • Wheat bran
  • Wheat germ

**Millet is the only "grain," really a seed, listed that is approved by Body Ecology.


  • Black tea
  • Chocolate
  • Cocoa

**Only black tea—preferably decaffeinated—is on the initial healing stages of the Body Ecology Diet.

According to Owens, low oxalate vegetable options include kale, mustard greens, and collard greens. Owens has found that boiling vegetables significantly reduces their oxalate content. For example, kale that has been steamed has an oxalate content of 8.8 mg, whereas the same amount of boiled kale contains 4.9 mg. That's a 40 percent reduction!2

Additionally, Owens stresses the significance of avoiding assumptions when it comes to vegetables and other foods. She states, "It is so important to know that you CANNOT make generalizations about oxalate content. There are always foods that break the rules in all categories, and there are some foods in every category that are high oxalate, and plenty that are also low oxalate. You just have to learn the specifics."

3 Ways to Reduce Oxalates in Your Diet

If you suspect that oxalates are a concern to you or someone you know, the good news is that it's relatively easy to minimize these chemicals:

  1. Improve gut health. First and foremost, without eliminating anything, make sure that your digestive tract is in great shape and that you have an inner ecosystem teeming with a variety of beneficial microflora. Add probiotic liquids or fermented foodsto your diet to encourage colonies of oxalate-eating Lactobacillus to thrive.
  2. Address Candida overgrowth. Fermented foods increase healthy bacteria levels in the gut and can also reduce levels of harmful Candida yeast. If you have Candida overgrowth, you're promoting an environment that will not be able to break down oxalates.
  3. Try a calcium supplement. Consider adding a citrate-based calcium supplement (calcium citrate) to your daily routine. Oxalates have a tendency to bind to this and can then be eliminated.

Gut Health Is Always the First Step

Whenever you're considering any dietary changes, it is always important to remember Body Ecology's Principle of Uniqueness. You are a unique being, and your body is always striving toward ideal balance. Lowering your oxalate intake may help reduce painful symptoms. Just as importantly, as you begin to take charge of your health by creating a super-healthy gut, you'll be pleasantly surprised by how many uncomfortable issues disappear!

Make your low oxalate transition delicious by starting with this mineral-rich low oxalate soup.

What To Remember Most About This Article:

It's possible that your chronic pain and inflammation could be caused by oxalates—chemicals found in a number of foods, including the favorite healthy foods you eat. Most of us eat oxalates every day without a problem. When the gut is healthy, good bacteria can metabolize oxalates and help them to be eliminated. But when oxalates encounter damaged tissue in the body, they can bind with calcium to crystallize, resulting in serious irritation and pain.

One important tip to remember: Boil high oxalate vegetables to naturally reduce their oxalate content.

If oxalates are destroying your health, there are three things you can do to buffer their effects on your body:

  1. Restore gut health. Probiotic liquids and fermented foods encourage communities of beneficial oxalate-eating bacteria to grow.
  2. Address Candida overgrowth. Candida can inhibit your body's ability to break down oxalates. Fermented foods can reduce dangerous levels of Candida in the gut.
  3. Consider a calcium supplement. Oxalates may bind to a citrate-based calcium supplement to improve elimination.
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  1. Jack Norris, RD. "Oxalate." December 2013.
  2. Susan Owens, M. A. info.
  3. Kidney Int. 2005 Sep;68(3):1244-9.

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    […] them in water for at least 8 hours, preferably 24 hours before rinsing and cooking. You can lower the oxalate content in grains by boiling them in water (similar to pasta) and then dumping the water out and refilling […]

  • Cathy Hilbert

    For your information, same of the foods listed here are not high in oxalate.
    Blueberries are low per half cup
    Organically grown millet slacked over night and cooked for 20 minutes is low for half cup
    Raw broccoli are low, cooked and steamed are medium
    Not all red potatoes are high, there are some that are

  • JohnnyWhite

    I don't know if sodium ascorbate, the preferred buffered C, converts to oxalic acid. So this mite be the best for to take. You kinda get frozen and don't know what to eat!

  • Julie

    Does dandelion tea have high oxalate content?

  • Cindy

    Hello, I have pudendal nerve entrapment and have a pain stimulator implanted. I had bladder removed in 1988 due to having interstitial cystitis. I follow the Low Oxalate Diet from the Internet. I read that celery is not avoided by some of you. That would send me over the edge. I am currently having to watch my oxalates oh ever so closely and have found this list so helpful. I am a very experienced high oxalate sufferer and thought that if you need any input, I might be of help.

  • Joanna

    Can a child successfully do BED diet and low oxalate diet or is it too limiting. From everything I have read on oxalates, it can be due to Candida. How do I do both diets but still consume enough calories for her?

  • belinda

    Oxalate crystals can be dissolved with Dandelion Tea (or Hydrangea Root Tea). Cut up fresh Dandelion plants, roots and flowers - 4 plants to about 5 lt water. Rinse in citric acid to kill critters. Boil on a rolling boil for 5 minutes. Sterilize a 5 lt bottle with boiling water/ozone. When cool, decant. Take 1/2 a cup in watered down apple juice (or straight for the very powerful), 3 x per day or more. Relief is very rapid especially around the stomach and chest area - I can vouch for this. Part of your gut healing should be to kill bad bacteria with Oregano oil. 9 drops in an empty capsule 3 x a day with food.

  • Melissa

    Elizabeth, you are not correct. Actually vitmin C is bad for oxalates!

    Please do not give out false information, this can make peoples pain WAY worse. I followed a RAW FOOD, loads of veges and got a horrible bladder condition from oxalate.

  • Melissa

    This list is not correct. Brussels sprouts and broccoli are not high oxalate, they are low if boiled. They are medium if not. Please go to oxalate yahoo group to get the most up to date list. All nuts and seeds are high except sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and walnuts are medium, still not low. Spinach is for sure the worst, that and beets.. which I use to eat often and had terrible bladder issues. Anyway please see the list on the group, it is much more detailed.

  • Cindy

    Donna, so confused by oxalate restriction. I have been healing joint issues now for 6 years. Swelling occurs mostly in my knees. I am confused by this because I have been juicing celery for years thinking it was helping the inflammation. And recently added a teaspoon of Tumeric paste to my juice to increase the anti inflammatory effects. My juice is usually lots of celery, cucumber, green apple,greens and ginger. Also healing gut from long undiagnosed wheat allergy and dairy sensitivities. Please give me some clarity. Do I need to take the celery out of my juice? And what is your take on the Tumeric? Thank you Donna. You have been such an inspiration to me. But my diet is getting more and more limited.

  • agronymous

    @Elizabeth (@destinycoach)
    "Oxalate is destroyed by Vitamin C"

    ... oh really?! I read that excess C is converted INTO oxalate ... !!! And raw smoothies vs "cooked, dead vegetables"? Show us your peer-reviewed published sources.

  • Elizabeth (@destinycoach)

    Oxalate is destroyed by Vitamin C - which by the way is also contained in almost ALL green raw vegetables. While the cooking process destroys Vitamin C, it may not destroy oxalates. People get kidney stones not by drinking green smoothies, but by eating cooked, dead vegetables.


    I have high oxalates and just had two lazer surgeries to remove one large stone.

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