How a Low-Oxalate Diet Might Prevent Kidney Stones

By , Category : Digestion

Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed*** and may vary from person to person***.

low oxalate diet for kidney stonesKidney stones are one of the most painful, common disorders of the urinary tract—and research shows they have been around for centuries. Scientists have even found evidence of kidney stones in a 7,000-year-old Egyptian mummy!

A kidney stone is a hard mineral deposit (hard, rock-like substance) that is processed from inside your kidneys. Kidney stones generally form when substances in the urine (i.e. calcium, oxalate, and phosphorus) become greatly concentrated.

Every year, about one million Americans get kidney stones. People who have a higher risk of getting kidney stones are typically between the ages of 20 and 40, males, and have a family history of them.

Most kidney stones are small in size and pass through the urinary system without any pain at all. However, large stones can cause excruciating pain or urinary blockage, which can lead to trouble urinating. Further symptoms include:

  • Persistent need to urine
  • Pain while urinating
  • Pain in the side and back, just beneath the ribs
  • If an infection is present, you may experience a fever or chills
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Pink, red, or brown urine

Some kidney stones are made from calcium oxalate, a chemical compound that forms enveloped-shaped crystals. This naturally occurring molecule is found in plants and humans. With plants, oxalate can help blast excess calcium by binding with the oxalate. In humans, it works by feeding the good bacteria in the gut. A low-oxalate diet can help calcium and oxalate bind together before reaching the kidney, which could reduce the likeliness of kidney stones forming.

So for many people, cutting back on high-oxalate foods might help prevent kidney stones.

Foods to Eat as Part of a Low-Oxalate Diet

A low-oxalate diet is exactly what it sounds like: a meal plan that consists of low doses of oxalate. On a low-oxalate diet, limit your oxalate consumption to between 40 mg and 50 mg a day. The following low-oxalate foods have less than two milligrams of oxalate per serving:


  • Lime juice
  • Apple cider
  • Apple juice
  • Lemonade
  • Lemon juice
  • Buttermilk
  • Grapefruit juice
  • Pineapple juice
  • Cherry juice

Herbal teas:

  • Peppermint
  • Wild forest
  • Blackberry
  • Mandarin orange spice
  • Cinnamon
  • Apple spice
  • Cranberry apple
  • Red raspberry
  • Gentle orange
  • Lemon soothe
  • Chamomile flowers


  • Cheese
  • Buttermilk
  • Milk

Fats, nuts, and seeds:

  • Butter
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salad dressing
  • Margarine
  • Mayonnaise


  • Melons
  • Raisins
  • Canned pears
  • Mangos
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Grapefruit
  • Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Passionfruit
  • Papaya


  • Poultry
  • Lamb
  • Ham
  • Pork
  • Lean meats
  • Shellfish
  • Bacon
  • Beef
  • Corned beef
  • Fish


  • Peas
  • Mushrooms
  • Endive
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Chives
  • Cucumber


  • Sage
  • Sugar
  • Basil
  • Cinnamon
  • Corn syrup
  • Dill
  • Honey
  • Ketchup
  • Maple syrup
  • Nutmeg
  • Oregano
  • Jelly
  • Vinegar
  • White pepper
  • Dijon mustard

Foods to Eat (in Moderation)


  • Tomato juice
  • Rosehip tea
  • Grape juice
  • Cranberry juice
  • Draft beer
  • Carrot juice
  • Orange juice


  • Yogurt

Fats, nuts, and seeds:

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Flaxseed


  • Prunes
  • Pineapples
  • Oranges
  • Mandarin oranges
  • Apricots
  • Apples
  • Applesauce
  • Fresh peaches
  • Fresh strawberries
  • Plums


  • Sardines
  • Liver


  • Bagels
  • Corn tortilla
  • Brown rice
  • White bread
  • Sponge cake
  • Oatmeal
  • Ravioli

Foods to Avoid as Part of a Low-Oxalate Diet


  • Black tea
  • Cocoa
  • Dark beer
  • Hot chocolate
  • Soy drinks
  • Instant coffee


  • Soy yogurt
  • Soy cheese
  • Soy milk
  • Chocolate milk

Fats, nuts, and seeds:

  • Soy nuts
  • Nut butters
  • Tahini


  • Tangerines
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries
  • Orange peel
  • Rhubarb
  • Fruit cocktail


  • Eggplant
  • Beet root
  • Beets
  • Olives
  • Rutabaga
  • Spinach
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Swiss chard
  • Summer squash

If you think that you have kidney stones, seek consultation from your doctor first. You may want to ask your physician the following questions:

  • Do I have a kidney stone?
  • Where is the kidney stone located?
  • How big is the kidney stone?
  • What type of kidney stone is it?
  • What are the chances of me developing another kidney stone?
  • Will I need medication to treat the condition?

Once you know more about your condition, consult with your physician as to whether or not a low-oxalate diet is right for you.

Sources for Today’s Article:
“Low Oxalate Diet,” UPMC web site;, last accessed September 8, 2015.
“Low Oxalate Diet,”;, last accessed September 8, 2015.
“Kidney Stones,” Mayo Clinic web site, February 26, 2015;
Pletcher, P., “What Is a Low-Oxalate Diet?” Healthline web site;, last accessed September 8, 2015.
“Kidney Stones in Adults,”;, last accessed September 8, 2015.

WANT MORE? Sign up for latest health news, tips and daily health eAlert from the experts you can trust for FREE!

Dr. Jeffrey Shapiro, MD

About the Author, Browse Jeffrey's Articles

After receiving athletic and academic awards at Yale and Stanford, Jeff has coached those seeking peak wellness, appeared on ABC News 20/20 and served as a consultant for CBS News 60 Minutes and The Late Show with David Letterman. As the author of many research studies and practicing anesthesiology/critical care medicine for more than 20 years, Jeff can be your guide to common sense decision making regarding drugs, supplements and vitamins. With no corporate sponsors and no vitamins or supplements... Read Full Bio »