By: Nikki Nies
Those that drink iced tea are at higher risk of developing kidney stones. It’s not a myth. After looking at several studies, it’s been found that excessive consumption of tea can increase one’s chances of developing kidney stones, with more than 10% of Americans effected by kidney stones. It is understandable why some might be apprehensive of this claim, but there is such thing as too much of a good thing.
Oxalates are naturally occurring molecules found in plants, animals and within human bodies. Not only can high oxalate intake cause kidney stones, but absorptive hypercalciuria type II, enteric hyperoxaluria, and primary hyperoxaluria. It is recommended one limit their oxalate intake to 50 mg/day–for example, 1/4 cup of raw spinach.
High oxalate containing foods
|Fruits||Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, currants, kiwifruit, purple grapes, figs, tangerines and plums|
|Vegetables||Spinach, swiss chard, beet green, collards, okra, parsley, leeks and quinoa, celery, green beans, rutabagas, summer squash|
|Nuts||Almonds, cashews and peanuts|
|Legumes||Soybeans, tofu and soy products|
|Grains||Wheat bran, wheat germ, quinoa|
|Other||Cocoa, chocolate and black tea|
So let me explain, iced tea contains large amounts of oxalates, which is one of the many aspects of the composition of kidney stones. The most common type of kidney stones are calcium oxalate, at 80% of the kidney stone cases. Kidney stones can also be caused by calcium, uric acid and cystine and where there’s an imbalance between the concentration of these substances and the chemicals in the urine that usually keep the substances dissolve. Vitamin C converts foods into oxalates, so any food that is high in oxalates are also indirectly high in vitamin C. Kidney stones are the first stage of kidney disease and can be prevented or treated quickly if one knows the proper treatment.
Suggestions to decrease risk of kidney stones:
- Limit consumption of oxalates–found in rhubarb, nuts, spinach, dark chocolate, tea and coffee
- Controlling urine pH by increasing vitamin C intake can help prevent UTI’s
- increase fluid intake, such as carrot and grape juice, which inhibits the growth of uric acid
- increase calcium consumption–many that develop kidney stones are prone to calcium deficiency
- take at least 300-400 mg/day of magnesium to level ratio of calcium to magnesium of 1:1
- add vitamin B6 foods into diet or supplements–deficiencies of B6 can lead to kidney stones
- Limit sugar intake
- Eat less meat
I know all these charts can be overwhelming, but it provides one with a clear picture of how many various ways kidney stones can be formed and how many sources of oxalate are in everyday foods. If you believe you’re at risk of developing kidney stones, monitor your oxalate, calcium and vitamin C intake and your urine output.