If you're suffering from chronic pain or inflammation, it could be due to natural chemicals called oxalates, found in many foods you eat. Read on to learn a simple trick you can use to ease your symptoms. Boiling out oxalates in vegetables can help.
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. But in 2016, oxalates made headlines. This time, for a great reason. University of Houston researchers made the first potential advancement in the treatment of kidney stones caused by oxalates in more than 30 years.1
More on that later. First, we'll start with the basics.
Oxalates 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.
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:
**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
- 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 ecosystem and heal digestive distress.
Nuts and Seeds
- Black beans
- Navy beans
**These foods are not on the initial healing stages of The Body Ecology Diet.
- 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 The Body Ecology Diet.
It's true. Our collection of recipes make eating for your health fun, tasty, and easy.
Are Oxalates in Your Food?
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.
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.2 As we mentioned above, University of Houston researchers made great strides in the treatment of kidney stones caused by oxalates in 2016. Compound hydroxycitrate (HCA), a natural fruit extract, may help inhibit, and even dissolve, oxalate crystal growth under the right conditions.1 This discovery is exciting and may be helpful to those with oxalate buildup and resulting symptoms like kidney stones. However, we still strongly recommend a low-oxalate diet for long-term wellness — and to prevent this dangerous buildup in the first place.
What's The Body Ecology Diet all about? Here's our handy blueprint.
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.3
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 2005 findings published in Kidney International could also help to target kidney stone formation related to oxalate buildup.4
3 Ways to Reduce Oxalates in Your 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!3
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."
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:
- 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 foods to your diet to encourage colonies of oxalate-eating Lactobacillus to thrive.
- 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.
- 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.
Laila Ali's seen her health improve thanks to Body Ecology. Read more here.
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:
- Restore gut health. Probiotic liquids and fermented foods encourage communities of beneficial oxalate-eating bacteria to grow.
- Address Candida overgrowth. Candida yeast can inhibit your body's ability to break down oxalates. Fermented foods can reduce dangerous levels of Candida in the gut.
- Consider a calcium supplement. Oxalates may bind to a citrate-based calcium supplement to improve elimination.
- Jihae Chung, Ignacio Granja, Michael G. Taylor, Giannis Mpourmpakis, John R. Asplin, Jeffrey D. Rimer. Molecular modifiers reveal a mechanism of pathological crystal growth inhibition. Nature, 2016; 1 DOI: 10.1038/nature19062.
- Taylor EN, Fung TT, Curhan GC. DASH-style diet associates with reduced risk for kidney stones. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2009 Oct;20(10):2253-9.
- Susan Owens, M. A. LowOxalate.info.
- Lieske JC, Goldfarb DS, De Simone C, Regnier C. Use of a probiotic to decrease
enteric hyperoxaluria. Kidney Int. 2005 Sep;68(3):1244-9. PubMed PMID: 16105057.
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