What Are Oxalates?

Oxalates are substances found in plants, animals, and humans.

Why Should I Follow This Diet?

In the body, oxalates come together with calcium and iron to make crystals. In most people, these crystals leave the body in urine. For some people, they can grow into kidney stones. This diet may lower the risk of certain types of kidney stones.

Each person's body absorbs oxalates differently. This diet doesn't work for everyone. You can still get all the nutrients you need without having too many oxalates. Talk to a dietitian.

The Basics

The diet limits oxalates to 50 milligrams (mg) each day. They are found in many foods. You will need to learn which foods you can limit and which foods you shouldn't eat.

It is hard to tell how many oxalates are in foods you eat using current standards. It can vary by food, cooking, processing, and growing factors.

Eating Guide

This chart lists foods that are low or moderate in oxalates. If you have calcium stones, you will need to lower sodium, too.

Foods Low in Sodium or Oxalate Foods You Can Eat
Drinks

Coffee, fruit and veggie juice (using the recommended veggies), fruit punch

Fruits

Apples, apricots (fresh or canned), avocado, bananas, cherries (sweet), cranberries, grapefruit, red or green grapes, lemon and lime juice, melons, nectarines, papayas, peaches, pears, pineapples, oranges, strawberries (fresh), tangerines

Veggies

Artichokes, asparagus, bamboo shoots, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, chayote squash, chicory, corn, cucumbers, endive, lettuce, lima beans, mushrooms, onions, peas, peppers, potatoes, radishes, rutabagas, zucchini

Breads, Cereals, Grains

Egg noodles, rye bread, cooked and dry cereals without nuts or bran, crackers with unsalted tops, white or wild rice

Meat, Meat Replacements, Fish, Poultry

Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, egg whites, egg replacements

Soup

Homemade soup (using the recommended veggies and meat), low-sodium bouillon, low-sodium canned

Desserts

Cookies, cakes, ice cream, pudding without chocolate or nuts, candy without chocolate or nuts

Fats and Oils

Butter, margarine, cream, oil, salad dressing, mayo

Other Foods

Unsalted potato chips or pretzels, herbs (like garlic, garlic powder, onion powder), lemon juice, salt-free seasoning blends, vinegar

Other Foods Low in Oxalate Foods You Can Eat
Drinks

Beer, cola, wine, buttermilk, lemonade or limeade (without added vitamin C), milk

Meat, Meat Replacements, Fish, Poultry

Lunch meat, ham, bacon, hot dogs, bratwurst, sausage, chicken nuggets, cheddar cheese, canned fish and shellfish

Soup

Tomato soup, cheese soup

Other Foods

Coconuts, lemon or lime juices, sugar or sweeteners, jellies or jams (from the recommended list)

Moderate-Oxalate Foods Foods to Limit
Drinks

Fruit and veggie juices (from the list below), chocolate milk, rice milk, hot cocoa, tea

Fruits

Blackberries, blueberries, black currants, cherries (sour), fruit cocktail, mangoes, orange peel, prunes, purple plums

Veggies

Baked beans, carrots, celery, green beans, parsnips, summer squash, tomatoes, turnips

Breads, Cereals, Grains

White bread, cornbread or cornmeal, white English muffins, saltine or soda crackers, brown rice, vanilla wafers, spaghetti and other noodles, firm tofu, bagels, oatmeal

Meat/meat replacements, fish, poultry

Sardines

Desserts

Chocolate cake

Fats and Oils

Macadamia nuts, pistachio nuts, English walnuts

Other Foods

Jams or jellies (made with the fruits above), pepper

High-Oxalate Foods Foods to Avoid
Drinks

Chocolate drink mixes, soy milk, Ovaltine, instant iced tea, fruit juices of fruits listed below

Fruits

Apricots (dried), red currants, figs, kiwi, plums, rhubarb

Veggies

Beans (wax, dried), beets and beet greens, chives, collard greens, eggplant, escarole, dark greens of all kinds, leeks, okra, parsley, rutabagas, spinach, Swiss chard, tomato paste, watercress

Breads, Cereals, Grains

Amaranth, barley, white corn flour, fried potatoes, fruitcake, grits, soybean products, sweet potatoes, wheat germ and bran, buckwheat flour, All Bran cereal, graham crackers, pretzels, whole wheat bread

Meat/meat replacements, fish, poultry

Dried beans, peanut butter, soy burgers, miso

Desserts

Carob, chocolate, marmalades

Fats and Oils

Nuts (peanuts, almonds, pecans, cashews, hazelnuts), nut butters, sesame seeds, tahini paste

Other Foods

Poppy seeds

Tips

Be aware of how many grams of oxalates you are eating. Think about meeting with a dietitian.

Here are more tips to help stop you from getting kidney stones:

  • Drink plenty of fluids each day.
  • Don't take large doses of vitamin C pills (limit to less than 1,000 mg/day).
  • Keep protein below 80 grams/day.
  • Eat a low-salt diet (less than 2,000 mg/day).