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Are there Oxalates in Broccoli?

What Are Oxalates?


Oxalates are naturally occurring compounds found in many foods. They're the "salt" of oxalic acid, a substance found in various plants and our bodies.


While oxalates are entirely natural and not inherently bad, they can cause some issues for some people. The most common concern is related to kidney stones.


When oxalate levels get too high in your urine, they can bind with calcium and form crystals. Build-up can then lead to the formation of kidney stones. Kidney stones can be painful, so people prone to kidney stones must watch their oxalate intake.


Even if you're eating oxalate-rich foods, it doesn't necessarily mean you'll develop kidney stones. Your overall diet, hydration, and individual health factors also play a role.


How Much Oxalate is Considered Safe?


There isn't a specific daily limit for oxalates. A rough guideline for a moderate oxalate intake is to aim for no more than 40-50 milligrams of oxalates per day.


It may be limited to approximately 10-50 milligrams or even lower for sensitive individuals.


I cannot stress enough that this is an individual tolerance level, and you should speak to your healthcare provider if you have concerns.


Is Broccoli High or Low in Oxalates?


The good news for broccoli lovers is that broccoli is relatively low in oxalates. Raw broccoli contains about 9 milligrams (mg) per cup or 12 milligrams of oxalates per 100 grams raw depending on the source. One source (CNR) has broccoli as high as 190 mg raw per 100 grams!


This amount of oxalate can vary depending on the specific variety of broccoli and its growing conditions. But it's generally considered a low-oxalate food. If you are concerned remember cooking can reduce oxalate levels.


Please do your research and speak to a medical professional before making dietary changes. I have listed the sources I use in the Resource Library. I am not a medical practitioner, just someone trying to raise awareness.


Vegetable

Oxalate Per 100 Grams

Source

Broccoli, boiled or steamed

Low 7 mg

OHF

Broccoli, raw

Low 12 mg

OHF

Broccolini, steamed 10 minutes

Low 14 mg

OHF



Does cooking Reduce Oxalates?


The oxalate content in broccoli doesn't change dramatically with cooking. Oxalates are relatively stable compounds that are not easily broken down or leached into cooking water.


Boiling or steaming broccoli reduces oxalate to 7 milligrams per 100 grams. This is only a minimal difference, but this method is the best if you eat broccoli often enough or in large amounts.


Understanding Oxalates and Their Impact


Oxalic acid is a natural substance found in many plant foods. Oxalate is found in some of the healthiest plants. For example leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables. Oxalate can form calcium oxalate stones, which are the most common type of kidney stones. These stones can form when oxalates mix with calcium in the body.


Soluble and Insoluble Oxalate


Soluble oxalates are types of oxalates that dissolve in water. When you eat foods with soluble oxalates, they can be easily absorbed by your body. Insoluble oxalates do not dissolve in water. Insoluble oxalates bind with minerals like calcium and are less absorbed by your body.


Soluble oxalates mix with water and can enter your body easily. Insoluble oxalates do not dissolve. They mostly pass through your body without being absorbed. In short, we should be more worried about soluble oxalates.


This is because they dissolve in water and can be easily absorbed by the body. This increases the risk of kidney stones. Insoluble oxalates don't dissolve and are less likely to be absorbed. They are less likely to form stones.


Both soluble and insoluble oxalates can contribute to the formation of kidney stones. However soluble oxalates are more readily absorbed into the body. When soluble oxalates are absorbed, they can increase oxalate levels in the urine. This may lead to calcium oxalate stones.


Insoluble oxalates are less likely to be absorbed. This is because they don’t dissolve in water and it's harder for them to enter the bloodstream. If they bind with calcium in the gut, they can form calcium oxalate. This form is usually not absorbed and is excreted in the stool.


Eating Foods with Oxalates


Before you stop eating plant foods, remember they give us many health benefits they are a great source of nutrients. Nutrient-dense foods like broccoli are what your body needs. Broccoli has many essential nutrients. In broccoli, you mostly find insoluble oxalates. This makes broccoli a good choice if you are trying to avoid too much oxalate.


Eat a variety of low-oxalate and moderate-oxalate foods to get the best nutrient absorption. Track how many milligrams of oxalate you consume to avoid excess oxalate intake. Knowing your intake of oxalate is a key preventative measure.


Also, watch your portions of moderate oxalate foods, and try to fill up on lower oxalate options. If you are at risk of kidney stones speak to a medical professional about a low oxalate diet.


What is the Best Way to Reduce the Chance of Oxalate Build-Up?


Drinking water is one of the easiest and simplest ways to avoid oxalate build-up. Since broccoli oxalate doesn't dissolve in water, we need our bodies to do the job.


Drinking water reduces oxalate concentration. Frequent urination helps to flush the oxalates out of our bodies. Please don't overdo the water intake to balance the oxalate. Everything is in moderation.


Summary


Oxalates are natural compounds. They are found in various foods. While they can contribute to kidney stone formation in some individuals, they're not something most of us need to be overly concerned about. It's all about balance and knowing your own body.


If you would like to buy a cookbook, look on Amazon.


To learn more about oxalate in greens, read Arugula Oxalates Rocket. Thank you for reading.


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