So, you’ve been told to follow a low oxalate diet and to avoid all beans. If this news bummed you out and you are a bean lover, I have great news for you. Low oxalate beans DO exist! Beans can absolutely fit in a low oxalate diet.
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Who Needs Low Oxalate Beans?
First, who should focus on low oxalate beans? Not everyone needs to follow a low oxalate diet.
Only people who have high urine oxalate need to limit high oxalate foods.(1) A 24-hour urine test is the only way to know if your urine oxalate is high. Remember, that eating enough calcium will help reduce oxalate absorption and prevent kidney stones too.
There is also much more to kidney stone prevention than oxalate.
Benefits of Low Oxalate Beans for People with Kidney Stones
Some may wonder why not just avoid all beans on a low oxalate diet?
Beans provide numerous health benefits for kidney stones and beyond. If you like beans, I highly recommend incorporating some into your meals.
Animal Protein Substitute
Diets that are high in animal proteins like beef, pork, chicken, fish or seafood can cause kidney stones. (2)(3) So, swapping the animal protein for low oxalate beans and other plant proteins can help lower the amount of animal protein you eat.
Beans are a fantastic fiber source! A 1/2 cup of black beans has 8 grams of fiber – about 25% of the fiber you need for an entire day! Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are also wonderful sources of fiber.
Fiber is an important part of a healthy diet. Fiber helps prevent heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. (4) Of course, fiber also helps keep us pooping regularly.
Better General Health!
Beans and other plant proteins such as nuts (yes! low oxalate nuts and seeds exist too!) are an important source of protein on a vegetarian or plant based diet.
Low Oxalate Beans
So, which beans are low oxalate? Here are my top 10 favorite low oxalate beans.
Black Eyed Peas
3mg oxalate per 1/2 cup
Often overlooked, black eyed peas are a wonderful low oxalate bean! Use them in soups, on salads or as a side dish.
I love this black eyed pea salad with peaches!
7mg oxalate per 1/2 cup
Garbanzo (aka chickpeas) are another yummy low oxalate bean. Make them into hummus (make your own and avoid very high oxalate tahini), soups or sprinkle them on salads.
8mg oxalate per 1/2 cup
Green, red, black or any other color, lentils are a wonderful low oxalate plant protein option.
Try this Butternut Squash & Lentil salad!
8mg oxalate per 1/2 cup
Never fear, lima beans don’t have to be gross mushy blobs. Lima beans can be delicious!
Succotash is my favorite way to enjoy these low oxalate beans.
1mg oxalate per 1/2 cup
Although peas are not technically a bean, they have a similar nutrition profile. Green peas are a great source of protein (4 grams per 1/2 cup) and fiber (3.5 grams per 1/2 cup).
Look for fresh or frozen peas to keep them low sodium. Low sodium canned peas are great too!
5mg oxalate per 1/2 cup
Again, not technically a bean, but another great low oxalate plant protein. Make some infamous split pea soup (use low sodium broth and keep the added salt down).
Or, try these tasty crispy split peas.
14mg oxalate per 1/2 cup
Yep! Old fashioned red beans and rice is low in oxalate. With this classic entrée, watch out for tons of added salt and salty ingredients like sausage or ham.
Here is my favorite low sodium red beans and rice recipe.
15mg oxalate per 1/2 cup
Kidney beans are a go-to low oxalate bean for me. Dried or low sodium canned kidney beans work here.
Add them to your favorite chili!
Broad (or Fava) Beans
10mg per 1/2 cup
Not as popular, but broad (or fava) beans are another low oxalate bean to try.
8mg per 1/2 cup
This one is a bit of a cop-out, because butter beans are just mature lima beans. But, I listed them as a separate low oxalate bean. Butter beans are just a completely different culinary adventure than lima beans!
Try this easy butter bean soup!
Other Low Oxalate Bean Considerations
Low Oxalate Bean Portions
Of course, a low oxalate bean can become a high oxalate bean if you eat enough of them. However, this is true of nearly any food!
Healthy portions vary based on your activity level, body size and how hungry you are! But, generally a portion of beans is around a 1/2 cup. The oxalate amounts given for all of the beans in this article are for a 1/2 cup portion.
Sodium in Beans
For most people, a low sodium diet is key to kidney stone prevention. Canned beans can pack quite a bit of sodium. Salt varies by brand, but a 1/2 cup of canned beans can have around 400mg of sodium! Look for “no salt added” or “low sodium” beans to keep salt in check.
Rinsing canned beans or other vegetables gets rid of about half of the salt.
Of course, dry beans are the easiest (cheapest!) and lowest sodium option. I love the quick soak method to save time. Or, cooking beans in a multi-cooker (aka “Instant-Pot”) is an amazing option too!
Pro Tip: Multi-cookers are great to cook big batches of grains to have on hand too! Here is the multi-cooker I use and love*.
Beans in sauce, such as baked or BBQ beans, also tend to have quite a bit of sodium. Beans cooked with smoked or processed meat such as smoked turkey, ham hocks, bacon or sausage, may also be on the salty side.
High Oxalate Beans
On the flip side, there are some beans that are very high in oxalate. If you have high urine oxalate, it is best to avoid these beans.
- Great Northern Beans (66mg per 1/2 cup)
- Navy Beans (76mg per 1/2 cup)
- White Beans (66mg per 1/2 cup)
- Soybeans (48mg per 1/2 cup)
- Black Beans (62mg per 1/2 cup)
Learn More About Oxalate
For more information about oxalate, check out these other articles:
- Who Needs a Low Oxalate Diet?
- Top 8 Reasons You Keep Getting Kidney Stones On a Low Oxalate Diet
- Low Oxalate Nuts & Seeds
- Top 25 Low Oxalate Recipes
- Low Oxalate Snacks
- Top 10 Low Oxalate Breakfast Ideas
- Nutrition for Calcium Oxalate Kidney Stone Prevention