hi, ive been searching and im a bit overwhelmed. where is a reliable list of oxalate content in vegetables? it matters to me because i eat 3-4 cups of kale and spinach a day and i have magnesium absorption issues.
also, i eat a lot of kale chips. these are baked in the oven, so i would assume the oxalate content goes way down? correct?
asked byholly_1 (661)
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on September 20, 2012
at 06:11 AM
There are many tricky things about assessing the oxalate content of vegetables. One is that if you use a chart that talks about volume measurement, it can end up inaccurate because people chop up or stuff a cup measure in a different way. For that reason it is much more accurate to get a gram scale and find a chart that measures oxalate in amount per 100 grams, and then do the math.
Another issue is that all varieties of a food will not test the same. For instance, there are many varieties of kale, and they don't have the same oxalate content.
Also, the amount of oxalate in a vegetable is also determined by its growing conditions, such as whether it was grown in cool weather or warm weather, what type of fertilizer it had and the nature of its soil. Also, oxalate values change as a plant gets older.
I do oxalate research and attended a FASEB oxalate meeting seven years ago where there was a poster that had been done comparing the oxalate content of a huge number of different varieties of kiwifruit. Yes, kiwi is very high and star fruit is so high that it can cause seizures in some people. What these botanists found out about kiwifruit is that not only did the total quantity vary, but also where the oxalate was located within the fruit changed by variety...so you can't make a universal rule like "don't eat the peel" or "all green leafy veggies are high in oxalate" or something like that. But all kiwifruit is very high, but nothing as bad as spinach or swiss chard. There are plenty of green leafy vegetables that aren't too bad.
This question of variety and nethod of cultivation is one reason lists you find may not agree. The labs involved simply may have measured a sample that was grown in different growing conditions or was a different variety.
Even so, there are some plants that are so much higher than other plants that these finer points don't matter because they are extremely high in oxalate no matter how they were grown.
All these issues are discussed on a listserve called Trying_Low_Oxalates@yahoogroups.com and its associated website www.lowoxalate.info. We are about to have a great big redesign of that site offering many, many more helps that I hope will be ready in a few weeks. We're working on it!
Our group has been testing foods through a very experienced laboratory for seven years, aimed particularly at testing foods that tend to be eaten by people who believe food has a lot to do with their health. That's why we have tested gluten free flours of all types, and many herbs, finding that most of the spices used in curries are extremely high in oxalate as are poppy seeds and sesame seeds. Tahini...extremely high.
So, we have recipes in our group that help people make tasty substitutions
Cooking doesn't change the amount of oxalate at all. What it may do is redistribute the oxalate from the plant to the water, and if you throw out the water, you will have less left in the plant because some of its soluble oxalate will have dissolved into water. But steaming or baking foods won't reduce the oxalate though it may change the way the oxalate is measured per volume because a lot of foods shrink when they cook, or lose water, or gain water.
If you want to learn more, come and join our support group and learn what health issues have changed for the better in those who realized that high oxalate foods were the reason they weren't getting better on a more natural diet.
We also are working hard to accomodate vegan diets, and have a project beginning for identifying veggies from other cultures that may help to expand the choices that are lower in oxalate.
One of the weird things about oxalate is that it doesn't cause symptoms as it is being absorbed into the body, but it slowly builds up insidiously over a long time. The body will try to detoxify from this load when the oxalate level is reduced and you may feel temporarily worse when you lower the amount you are eating. After seven years of experience with this process with thousands of people, we warn people to only reduce slowly if you have been very, very high a long time.
This works a bit like alcohol and DT's in that the best way to stop DT's is to have another drink. If you start feeling worse after reducing oxalate for a day or two, and then feel better going back to the level you were eating before, you probably are someone whose body was trying to detoxify when it got half a chance.
We have helped probably more than 6000 people with reducing oxalate who had all sorts of different reasons to come on our listserve. I have done autism biomedicsal research for 17 years, and discovered that people with autism are very high in oxalate, but found that the resources on the net were really bad for reducing oxalate. Lists conflicted, and there was no support, so I set up our listserve to be helpful to anyone who wants to look into this area regardless of why they think to try it.
If you are interested in our work in autism, you can find the first peer reviewed paper on this connection to autism published in the European Journal of Paediatric Neurology entitled "A Potential Pathogenic Role of Oxalate in Autism" that you can find in Pubmed or Google. I'm one of the authors, and the only one that wasn't from Poland. Hope to meet some of you soon on our listserve! --Susan Costen Owens, head of the Autism Oxalate Project at website owner of www.lowoxalate.info and its associated yahoogroup, Trying_Low_Oxalates
on September 20, 2012
at 12:10 AM
Spinach is well known to be high in oxalates. Oxalates are pretty darn stable and rather insoluble, so cooking, even wet cooking, is likely going to have a hard time reducing the amount of oxalates.
I've read that folks with oxalate issues are often missing symbiotic bacteria in their guts that are able to break down oxalates. All the more reason to have a healthy gut!