Healthy People Need to Watch Out for Kidney Stones Too!
Written by: Diana Schiro
Did you know that you could be eating the healthiest, most nutritionally dense diet on the planet – and it could actually be making you sick?
Antioxidant-rich, leafy greens, dark chocolate, nuts, beets and strawberries are all the foods that we are supposed to try to fill our plates with. These are also the exact foods which are part of a specific class that is called high oxalate foods. They can cause serious trouble if you are one of the 8.8% of the population who gets kidney stones.
What exactly are oxalates?
An oxalate is a naturally occurring substance in plants, nuts and beans. Think of them as tiny crystals of calcium that naturally grow in the plants.
Interesting fact: They protect the plants from the harsh environments and foraging insects.
But what protects these plants can actually cause a lot of problems in humans when oxalates become highly concentrated and don’t get broken down.
How do you know if you are at risk of producing kidney stones?
In general, if you eat quite healthy, stay well hydrated and are not pre-diabetic, the likelihood of you producing a kidney stone is slim. Ask yourself: Are you eating processed food that is loaded with sugar or sodium? Eating an abundance of dark, leafy greens – such as kale and spinach – which for some, can contribute to kidney stones. How ironic is that?
How do you know if your body has a sensitivity to high oxalate foods?
Well, you don’t know, unless it becomes too late, which is exactly what happened to me a little over a month ago and I can confirm with you that it was truly awful and I really wouldn’t wish this experience on anyone.
What do you do about this?
You could be preemptive and ask your GP or Specialist for a blood and urine test to measure the levels of uric acid and oxalates in your system. The Urologist that I was seen by was surprised by my interest in having this done. Most people just have their stone analyzed, but you can have further testing done so you can analyze your sodium levels, uric acid and calcium deposits.
All of these results can help you determine the right foods for you. Unfortunately, I do have a little 3mm stone sloshing around in my kidney, which will start to make its voyage at some point in the future. But until then, it is essential for me to eat a low oxalate diet in order to prevent new stones from developing.
High oxalate foods:
- Black Tea
- Wheat Bran
- Dry Beans
Are these some of your favorite foods? Mine too. And If you typically eat these foods in abundance (as I generally enjoy doing), here are some things that you can do so you can continue eating them in a modified way:
1. Start adding lemon to your water: The Lemon inhibits the amount of citrate known to help prohibit kidney stones. Another good reason to start your day with lemon!
2. Calcium: Check your multivitamins for how much calcium is added. You need calcium in your diet to bind the oxalate to the intestines so less is being absorbed throughout your body. It seems contradictory, but calcium helps prevent Calcium Oxalate Stones.
3. Plan your day: 1-2 cups of high oxalate food is a sufficient amount if you are properly hydrating yourself and keeping your sodium levels low. Eat chocolate and nuts sparingly and small recommended portions 1-2 times a week.
4. Stay hydrated: Keep extra hydrated and try to drink 10-12 glasses of water a day. At a minimum, aim for ½ your body weight in ounces of pure water daily.
5. Start your day off right: Drink low oxalate juice. That will also help flush out your body and support you as you prevent those kidney stones.
Low Oxalate Breakfast Juice
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 orange
- ½ cup of pineapple
- 1 cucumber
- 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
- Ice cubes
- Blend up and enjoy this refreshing, cooling and calcium rich juice to start off your day.
Keep it simple, keep it real and keep adding health to your diet!
My Favorite Low Oxalate Wrap
- Whole wheat wrap
- Chicory lettuce
- Yogurt cheese
- Touch of truffle olive oil
- Put all ingredients on whole wheat wrap, roll it up and enjoy!
Diana Schiro is currently studying to be a Certified Health Coach and holds a M.S.Ed. A lifelong interest in food, health and wellness practices has led her to professionally pursue a career in educating others about how to truly be healthy through food and balance. Diana advises lifestyle changes by emphasizing strong core nutritional values and simplifying how to add them to your life regularly.
A very unhealthy relationship to sugar and processed food was finally healed once a holistic individualized approach to her life was practiced; resulting in stable body weight, eliminating medication for sleep, as well as mood balance.
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