Your body depends on a multitude of vitamins, nutrients, and compounds, and one of the most essential is protein. Protein is comprised of large, complex molecules — called amino acids — that help you build, maintain and replace tissues, including those found in muscle and organs. Proteins are made from 22 types of amino acids, 13 of which can be made by your body. But the other nine? Those types of amino acids come from the foods you consume.
When you’re on a low oxalate diet, high-protein foods can lead to more questions than answers. Learn three facts about protein and oxalates to help you make informed choices about your nutrition.
Animal Proteins Do Not Contain Oxalates
Oxalate is the chemical outcome of metabolism in plants, and serves an important role in plant growth – but serves no known role in human or animal metabolism. What’s that mean for you? Animal protein, like steak, chicken, and pork, can be part of your low oxalate diet. The best choices for your low oxalate diet include animal proteins low in saturated fat — choose lean pork, chicken, or ground turkey for a heart-healthy, low oxalate main course.
Beware of Beans and Nuts
Nutritionists often point to different types of beans as a meatless alternative, but for those on a low-oxalate diet, certain types of beans and legumes are off-limits. Pinto beans, navy beans, and soybeans are all considered oxalate-packed foods, so if you’re on a low oxalate diet, your best bet for protein-filled legumes are black-eyed peas, which have 7g protein per ½ cup. Try a classic southern black-eyed peas dish in lieu of animal protein.
Say ‘Yes Please’ to Cheese
Many dairy products, like yogurt and cheese, are high in protein – and luckily, they are also low-oxalate foods, too. Cottage cheese contains 15 g of protein per ½ cup; cheddar cheese has 12 g of protein per 1 ¾ oz; and yogurt has 8g of protein per ¾ cup. Milk is also a great source of protein as well as calcium — an important nutrient in maintaining kidney health.
If you have additional dietary restrictions, be sure to read the labels on cheese to make sure the type of cheese you consume fits your diet. For instance, if sodium consumption is a concern, try Swiss cheese, which has less salt than others.
A protein-filled diet can help you maintain your nutrition, and now with these tips, you can also stay true to your low oxalate lifestyle.