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.
What are Oxalates?
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 many not have 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 to the tissues. In turn, 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 an permeable, or “leaky” gut, a lot of oxalates are absorbed into your body and this overload is linked to several health issues including fibromyalgia, autism, kidney stones, vulvodynia and hypothyroidism, just to name a few.
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.
(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 Innergy Biotic. )
Vegetables Highest In Oxalates:
- Brussels sprouts
Vegetables Moderately High in Oxalates:
- 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 eco system and heal digestive distress.
Nuts and Seeds:
- Black beans
- Navy beans,
(these foods are not on the initial healing stages of Body Ecology)
- Wheat bran
- Wheat germ
(Millet is the only “grain” – really a seed listed that is approved by Body Ecology)
- Black tea
(only black tea – preferably decaffeinated – is on the initial healing stages of Body Ecology)
According to researcher Susan 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% reduction!
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.”
Reducing 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 reduce them from your diet. 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. For starters, if you have candida overgrowth, you’re promoting an environment that will not be able to break down oxalates. Adding probiotic liquids or fermented foods to your diet will encourage colonies of oxalate-eating Lactobacillus to thrive. Furthermore, consider adding a citrate-based calcium supplement (calcium citrate) to your daily routine, as 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 towards ideal balance. Lowering your oxalate intake may help reduce painful symptoms. But very importantly, begin to take charge of your health by creating a super healthy gut and you’ll be pleasantly surprised how many uncomfortable issues disappear!