We all know how much I love and advocate the consumption of kale.
What to do if you’ve been advised to avoid it? (Heaven forbid!).
Case in point -a nutritional counseling client recently confided that he actually loves kale as well, but was directed by his doctor not to eat it; he has kidney stones and was told that kale creates oxalates in the body and contributes to the formation of kidney stones!
Let’s dig in.
What are oxalates?
According to Webster’s Dictionary, an oxalate is any salt or ester of oxalic acid, occurring in plants, especially spinach, rhubarb, and certain other vegetables and nuts, and capable of forming an insoluble salt with calcium and interfering with its absorption by the body.
The general consensus, based on a handful of studies I came across seems to be that it is only a rare occasion that prohibiting intake of foods high in oxalate levels alone will significantly cause kidney stones in and of itself. Other contributing factors include water intake, protein consumption and calcium intake. Further, dietary intake seems to only account for about 10% of the oxalate that contributes to kidney stones. In other words, the studies I read seemed to convey that some people seem to be simply more prone to get kidney stones than others do, rather than ‘eating kale causing kidney stones across the board’.
If you are in the rare position that you’ve been told to avoid kale and other foods higher in oxalates, and you feel that this piece of advice is significantly restricting your diet, I’d suggest perhaps consulting with another doctor, perhaps a naturopath, who might help guide you individually to determine whether anything else in your diet might be playing a role in any physical symptoms you might be experiencing.
I know I certainly would! Life without my favorite leafy green veggies? Yikes!