Your doctor has ordered a diet to help you decrease the chances of forming calcium oxalate kidney stones. Oxalate is a compound that is naturally present in many foods. The following six factors increase the risk of forming calcium oxalate stones.

1. The amount of oxalate in certain foods

Eat fewer “high-oxalate” foods. Why? The more oxalate that is absorbed from your digestive tract, the more oxalate in your urine. High-oxalate foods to limit, if you eat them, are:

  • Spinach
  • Rhubarb
  • Beets
  • Potato chips
  • French fries
  • Nuts and nut butters

You do not need to cut out other healthy foods that provide some oxalate. In fact, oxalate is practically unavoidable, because most plant foods have some. Often a combination of calcium from foods or beverages with meals and fewer high-oxalate foods is required.

2. The amount of calcium in your diet

Low amounts of calcium in your diet will increase your chances of forming calcium oxalate kidney stones. You need calcium in your diet to bind oxalate in the intestines. This helps reduce the amount of oxalate being absorbed by your body, so stones are less likely to form. Eat calcium-rich foods and beverages every day (2 to 3 servings) from dairy foods or other calcium-rich foods. Eat high calcium foods at the same time as high oxalate food; for example, have low-fat cheese with a spinach salad or yogurt with berries. If you take a calcium supplement, calcium citrate is the preferred form.

3. The vitamin C content of your diet

Oxalate is an end product of Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) metabolism. Large doses of Vitamin C may increase the amount of oxalate in your urine, increasing the risk of kidney stone formation. If you are taking a supplement, do not take more than 500mg of Vitamin C daily.

4. The amount of fluids in your diet

It is very important to drink plenty of liquids. Your goal should be 10-12 glasses a day. At least 5-6 glasses should be water. You may also want to consider drinking lemonade. Research suggests that lemonade may be helpful in reducing the risk of a calcium oxalate stone formation.

5. The amount of protein in your diet

Eating large amounts of protein may increase the risk of kidney stone formation. As a part of a balanced diet, your daily protein needs can usually be met with 120 – 170mg (4 to 6 ounces) of protein per day, since other food groups (fat-free or low-fat dairy, whole grains, and vegetables) provide additional sources of protein. A Registered Dietitian can assist with determining your specific protein needs.

6. The amount of sodium in your diet

Reduce the amount of sodium in your diet to 2-3 grams per day. Limit eating processed foods such as hot dogs, deli meats, sausage, canned products, dry soup mixes, sauerkraut, pickles, and various convenience mixes.

Use the ChooseMyPlate.gov website to plan a well-balanced diet. Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are necessary for the proper functioning, maintenance, and repair of your body. In addition to these major nutrients, the body requires water, minerals, and vitamins for good health.

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