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Body Ecology, Inc.

Boiling Your Vegetables: A Low Oxalate Solution to Reduce Pain

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 fibromyalgiaautism, 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.


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

(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:

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

Vegetables Moderately High in Oxalates:

  • Leeks
  • Red potatoes
  • String beans
  • Artichokes

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:

  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Peanuts


  • Black beans
  • Navy beans,
  • Soybeans
  • Tofu

(these foods are not on the initial healing stages of Body Ecology)


  • Wheat bran
  • Wheat germ
  • Millet
  • Rye

(Millet is the only “grain” – really a seed listed that is approved by Body Ecology)


  • Cocoa
  • Chocolate
  • 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.”

There are food lists like the ones at available that can assist you with interpreting the oxalate values in foods. This information along with a diet rich in probiotics will put you well on your way to a healthy, balanced, well-functioning inner ecosystem!

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!

Recipe of the Week by Gina LaVerde

Mineral Rich Low oxalate soup

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  • 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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