Rice is a staple for many people across the world. For good reason, it is delicious! Rice is a great source of carbohydrate and energy. It is a great background for so many tasty dishes like curry, stir fry or seasoned beans. Or, rice can be the star of the show in dishes like Jollaf rice or Biryani.
If you’ve had kidney stones, you may be wondering if rice is okay. Look for further! Read on to learn everything you need to know about rice and kidney stones.
Table of Contents
All About Rice
Rice is a grain and staple food for many cultures around the world. There are many types of rice, including my favorites: wild, basmati and arborio rice.
Is Rice Good for Kidney Stones?
There is nothing about rice that is especially good for kidney stones. But, rice isn’t bad for kidney stones either.
Rice, and other carbohydrates can ad should be a part of a healthy, balanced diet or kidney stones.
The Best Kind of Rice for Kidney Stones
Is White Rice Good for Kidney Stones?
Historically, white rice was recommended for kidney stones. White rice has less oxalate than brown rice. However, we know a lot more about kidney stone nutrition now. I do not recommend white rice for most people with kidney stones.
Huh!? Bear with me.
Yes, white rice does have less oxalate compared to brown rice. However, it also has less fiber, vitamins, minerals and other things that are good for you.
Plus, a strict low oxalate diet is not the key to stopping kidney stones for most people. Some people with oxalate stones do need to limit oxalate, but many do not. You might need to limit oxalate if your oxalate is high on a 24-hour urine test.
|Nutrition Content of White and Brown Rice|
|White Rice (1 cup, cooked)||Brown Rice (1 cup, cooked)|
Nutrition for kidney stone prevention is much more than oxalate. How much sodium, protein, sugar and calcium you eat are usually much more important than oxalate.
For most people, the simple fact that white rice has less oxalate just doesn’t justify the lower fiber and other health-promoting nutrients. Especially when a low oxalate diet is less important than we once thought. (1)
Benefits of Brown Rice for Kidney Stones
Magnesium is new on the scene for kidney stone nutrition. People who have lower urine magnesium levels tend to make more kidney stones. (2) (3) Magnesium can bind with oxalate, making that oxalate unable to bind with calcium and form a kidney stone.
In general, whole grains like brown rice are higher in magnesium compared to refined grains. Brown rice has about 3 1/2 times more magnesium than white rice.
Phytate is another interesting target for kidney stone nutrition. Phytate is found in many plant foods, especially whole grains like brown rice.
Phytate might be one of the reasons why people who eat lots of plants tend to have less kidney stones. (6)
So, even though brown rice has more oxalate in it, a lot of this oxalate is probably not getting absorbed anyway.
Lastly, I recommend brown rice for people with kidney stones because it is better for general health. Brown rice, and other whole grains have more fiber compared to refined grains. Most of us are getting nowhere near enough fiber. (9) Fiber can help combat heart disease, diabetes, cancer, constipation and so much more! (10)
Nutrition for kidney stones must address your total health, not just kidney stones.
Types of Brown Rice
Brown rice is a big umbrella term that encompasses a many different types of rice. All of these kinds rices have more fiber and good stuff discussed above compared to their white or refined counterparts.
- Brown basmati rice
- Short grain brown rice
- Long grain brown rice
- Brown jasmine rice
Can Eating Raw Rice Cause Kidney Stones
I’ve had this question before, so I wanted to address it. No, eating raw rice will not cause kidney stones. The nutrition content of raw and cooked rice is nearly the same.
There is nothing in raw rice, specifically, that would cause kidney stones.
What About Arsenic?
Sounds scary, I know. But we consume arsenic in many different foods including fruits, vegetables, leafy greens and rice. For most of us, arsenic is not a cause for concern.
People in the United States consume nowhere near the amount of arsenic that could cause negative effects. (11) However, rice does tend to be one of the biggest contributors to arsenic in our diet.
I recommend consuming a variety of grains, fruits and vegetables to help reduce exposure. This is good practice anyway to get a varied profile of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other phytochemicals.
If you are concerned about arsenic in rice, boiling rice in water with a ratio of 6:1 has been shown to reduce arsenic levels. Soaking rice overnight and draining that water may also reduce arsenic levels. However, these methods also reduce vitamins and minerals.