What Are Oxalates?
Oxalates, or oxalic acid, is a compound created in our bodies and plants as a waste product of vitamin C metabolism. Harmful levels of oxalates can be ingested through common plant foods.
Effects of Oxalate Overexposure
Oxalates bind with minerals in the digestive tract and can accumulate as harmful crystals in the body. They are associated with a variety of diseases where they gather in the bone, myocardium, blood vessels, and skin. Oxalates can impair healing of injured tissues and joints.
While our bodies will naturally release oxalates, high levels can overwhelm our capacity to process them. We advise enjoying the following high oxalate foods in moderation:
blackberry • blueberry • red currant • dewberry • fig • gooseberry • grape • kiwi • lemon peel • lime peel • orange peel • raspberry • starfruit • strawberry • tangerine • all juices made from these fruits
Nuts, Roots, Seeds, Spices, and Tubers
Vegetables and Teas
beets • black tea • celery • chives • collard • dandelion • eggplant • escarole • green pepper • kale (curly) • leeks • mustard green • okra • parsley • parsnip • purslane • rhubarb • rutabaga • sorrel • spinach • summer squash • sweet potatoes • Swiss chard • tomato sauce/soup • watercress • yam
Food Combining to Reduce Oxalates
Oxalates bind with calcium in the colon, neutralizing their impact on our health. Pair high oxalate foods with calcium-rich foods (i.e. bone broth, canned wild caught salmon and sardines, dairy, shellfish, and crickets). Stay hydrated before eating to dilute oxalates.
Food Processing Techniques to Reduce Oxalates
Because oxalates are water soluble, they can be reduced by blanching, boiling, or steaming with the liquid discarded. Fermentation reduces oxalates. Cooking in milk or macerating in whey can also mitigate oxalate exposure. Sprouting can help too.