On the BBC Radio 4 programme Inside Health on 16/07/13 Dr Mark Porter was talking about kidney stones. He said that they affect one in ten of the population and the pain can be worse than childbirth. Surgeon Bhaskar Somani said that to avoid kidney stones we should drink lots of water and have a diet low in salt and low in red meat. He also said that it can be a good idea to avoid plants high in oxalate such as spinach, beetroot and rhubarb.
This interested me because I have been reading about low-oxalate diets since reading this article in the Daily Mail. I have tried a low-oxalate diet to see if it has an effect on me. I have suffered from tiredness and poor sleep all my life. It didn't seem to have any effect. Despite having a great interest in nutrition, I had no knowledge of the low-oxalate diet before reading the Daily Mail article, and I thought that not many people believed in it until I heard this episode of Inside Health.
Unfortunately, many healthy foods have considerable amounts of oxalate in them. Whole grains such as brown rice have. Some common vegetables such as cabbage do. Some nuts such as almonds do. I avoided these things for a while, but no longer. However, after listening to Inside Health I shall avoid spinach, beetroot, rhubarb and Swiss chard which are all particularly high in oxalate. I already have a diet low in salt and red meat. I intend to drink lots of water and drink it frequently. If kidney stones affect one in ten of us and the pain is worse than childbirth then it makes a lot of sense to do this.
I shall also take calcium and magnesium citrate in pill form. This helps to remove oxalate from the system.
Most people are not sensitive to oxalate but some people are. Most people don't have to worry about their oxalate intake, but it seems to make sense for all of us to avoid the very high-oxalate foods such as spinach. There's no point in taking any chances when it comes to kidney stones.