Wood table with basket of kale. Title of Post: The Best Low Oxalate Greens over image

The Best Low Oxalate Greens

Yes! Low oxalate greens do exist. Unfortunately, many people are given general advice to “avoid all green vegetables” on a low oxalate diet. But, this is just simply lazy and false information. There are plenty of low oxalate greens that can (and should!) be eaten on a healthy low oxalate diet.

Stop sign with text: This information is only for people with high oxalate on a 24-hour urine test. Many people with oxalate kidney stones do not have high urine oxalate. Click here to learn more about who needs a low oxalate diet.

Who Needs Low Oxalate Greens?

I always like to add this (strong!) disclaimer to all of my information about low oxalate foods. Not everyone with kidney stones needs a low oxalate diet. In fact, not even everyone with oxalate kidney stones needs a low oxalate diet.

Only people with high urine oxalate need to follow a low oxalate diet. Hint: the most common cause of calcium oxalate stones is high urine calcium, not high urine oxalate.

In fact, the American Urological Association recommends that people with high urine oxalate limit how much oxalate they eat. (1) A 24 hour urine test is the only way to know if your urine oxalate is high.

If you do need a low oxalate diet, then choosing low oxalate greens is a key part of healthy eating for you!

It is very important to know that oxalate is only a piece of the puzzle. Learn more about all aspects of your diet that can impact calcium oxalate kidney stones.

High Oxalate Greens

Honestly, the list of high oxalate greens is much shorter than the list of low oxalate greens. However, these high oxalate greens are very high in oxalate. So, it is important to know about them if you need a low oxalate diet.

For example, raw spinach has around 656mg oxalate per cup. This is more than 40x higher than most other vegetables.

High oxalate greens:

  • Spinach (656mg oxalate per 1 cup, raw)
  • Chard (350mg oxalate per 1 cup, raw)

What Is a Low Oxalate Green?

There is no official definition of a low oxalate green. In fact, there is no definition or cut-off for what a low oxalate food is.

This is complicated by the fact that there isn’t an official definition of what a “low oxalate diet” is either. There isn’t an official amount of oxalate you should eat per day for a low oxalate diet. Instead, the amount of oxalate that is right for you should be individualized to your 24-hour urine results. Ideally, by a Registered Dietitian who takes the amount of calcium and your other kidney stone risk factors into account.

For most people with high urine oxalate, I recommend an oxalate amount of around 100mg per day. So, I used a definition for low oxalate greens to be any green with 10mg or less of oxalate per serving.

Top 10 Low Oxalate Greens

Here is the good stuff! These are my favorite low oxalate greens for people who have high urine oxalate.

Arugula

0mg oxalate per 1 cup

Probably my favorite low oxalate green, arugula is tasty in salads or as a topping for pizza and flatbreads. It is one of my go-to toppings for avocado toast.

I even love to sauté arugula for about 1 minute to wilt it just a bit and mix it into scrambled eggs and omelets.

Romaine Lettuce

0mg oxalate per 1 cup

Classic and crunchy! I love to mix some romaine lettuce into my salads for that crunch. It is the base of my Tomato & Mozzarella Salad!

Iceberg Lettuce

0mg oxalate per 1 cup

Iceberg lettuce gets a bad rap for having no nutrition. But, I beg to differ. It is a great source of fiber and water (which just happens to be critical for kidney stone prevention).

Plus, it is very low in oxalate!

Title: Low Oxalate Greens with cartoon images of arugula (0mg oxalate), romaine (0mg oxalate), kale (2mg oxalate), cabbage (0mg oxalate), bok choy (1mg oxalate) and endive (0mg oxalate)

Kale

2mg oxalate per 1 cup

Yep! Kale is surprisingly low in oxalate. Kale is a great low oxalate green substitute for spinach in salads and other recipes.

Cabbage

0mg oxalate per 1 cup

All kinds of cabbage are low in oxalate. Savoy, Napa and purple cabbage are all low oxalate.

I think cabbage is one of the most under-rated vegetables. It is just so versatile! Sautéed cabbage is an excellent side dish for pretty much any entrée. Also, who doesn’t love a crunchy cabbage slaw on top of fish tacos?

Mustard, Turnip and Collard Greens

4-10mg oxalate per 1 cup

Yet another surprising low oxalate green, greens such as mustard, turnip and collard greens are a great option!

Check out this lower sodium traditional Southern Collard Greens recipe! Or, you can eat greens raw like this Mustard Greens Salad with Apples and Dill. Yum!

Bok Choy

1mg oxalate per 1 cup

Bok choy is a great way to mix up your veggies. Chop it up and mix it into your favorite stir fry.

Or, Bok choy is a great low oxalate side dish. This Lemon Garlic Sautéed Bok Choy is delightfully tasty and easy!

Watercress

0mg oxalate per 1 cup

Watercress is another lesser utilized low oxalate green – coming in at ZERO oxalate.

Watercress is delicious raw in salads or cooked! Give this Gingered Watercress a try.

Butter Lettuce

5mg oxalate per 1 cup

Butter lettuce is another low oxalate green to add to your rotation. It adds a bright green color and a soft (buttery, if you will!) texture to salads.

Endive

0mg oxalate per 1 cup

Endive is our last low oxalate green. It is delicious cooked (try this Braised Endive) or raw.

This low oxalate green makes adorable bite-sized appetizers. Stuff endive with a tasty filling like blue cheese and apples!

Other Low Oxalate Green Vegetables

Other than low oxalate greens, there are plenty of other green vegetables you can enjoy on a low oxalate diet!

Here are some of my favorites:

All oxalate amounts based on 1 cup raw vegetable, unless otherwise specified

  • Green Peas (1 mg)
  • Zucchini (1mg)
  • Green Onions (0.5mg per 2 stalks)
  • Broccoli (2mg)
  • Celery (5mg)
  • Asparagus (6mg per 4 spears)
  • Green Bell Peppers (10mg)
  • Brussels Sprouts (4mg)
  • Cucumbers (2mg)

Happy Eating!

Melanie

98 thoughts on “The Best Low Oxalate Greens”

  1. I have read that eating calcium with meals will help the Oxilate bind to calcium and will be excreted by intestines and not travel to kidneys to crystallize. Is this true?

  2. Thank you so much for this list. Guinea pigs need low oxalate or they get bladder stones. I needed a low leafy green list. thanks

  3. Thank you for this great article, Melanie! I’ve been looking for some additional green veggies that are low-oxalate friendly.

  4. I am confused by the amount of oxalates in Butter Lettuce. You list it as having 5 g. If I convert that to mgs, then the amount of oxalates is 5,000mg of oxalates in 1 cup of butter lettuce which seems extremely high and should be listed in the “High Oxalate” list. I did a search and found only one reference for Butter Lettuce which also listed it as having 5 grams of oxalates (The Kidney Dietician.org). I like Butter lettuce and would like to continue to eat it, however I need to severely restrict my oxalate intake.

  5. Hello, I’m not at risk for kidney stones, but I’d like to use high-oxalate foods in moderation because I am at risk for osteoporosis. I do eat a lot of greens because I enjoy them and they have many health benefits. I have some cardoon growing in a pot that I enjoy harvesting. Cardoon is basically an artichoke relative that is not very good at making artichokes. It is harvested for the leaf ribs, which are used like celery and taste a bit like artichoke. Some people also eat the leaves, which are very bitter. I’ve enjoyed the leaves before, but I’d like to know how careful I should be about limiting amounts of these leaves, in terms of oxalate content. I haven’t found any data. A similar- tasting relative is called African Bitter Leaf. Both cardoon and the bitter-leaf are distant relatives of lettuce. I believe I may have read somewhere that another lettuce relative, dandelion, has more oxalic acid after it flowers. Do you have any ideas about either of these? Thank you for your blog!

    1. Melanie Betz MS, RD, CSR, FAND

      Hello! There is actually NO reason to avoid oxalate for bone health or osteoporosis. Oxalate would likely reduce the gastrointestinal availability of calcium. BUT, we only absorb about 30% of calcium from our food anyway. And, our bodies are SUPER good at adjusting how much calcium we absorb from our food based on how much we need. Plus, there is not a shred of evidence that a low oxalate diet would benefit people with osteoporosis. So, I truly wouldn’t worry about any of this!

  6. Hi. I am a bit confused. You say in the article that “ the most common cause of calcium oxalate stones is high urine calcium, not high urine oxalate.” you mention in the comments that you need a high calcium diet to prevent forming oxalate stones. But if you eat a high calcium diet, you will have high urine calcium, which as you mentioned I. The article is the most common cause of oxalate stones. What am I missing?
    Thanks,
    Gabriela

  7. Is it even necessary to avoid oxalates? I have a friend who has had recurring stones insist that as long as he keeps himself well hydrated and gets enough calcium,he’s able to remain virtually stone-free despite consuming high-oxalate foods

  8. Hi Carol
    Thanks for your web site.
    I visited many website. They all have conflicting oxalate amounts.
    what authoritative source(s) did you use?
    Did you use the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or NIH?
    or some Kidney association?
    Thanks for your help, since I cannot believe and web site oxalate amounts.
    Ron

    1. Melanie Betz MS, RD, CSR, FAND

      Hi Ron –
      I use the Harvard oxalate list whenever possible. After that, I rely on data from the NCCDB.

  9. What do you know about the amount of oxalates in the LEAVES of zucchini.
    and Where is the a comprehensive list. I tired Centers for Disease Prevention and Control and got now response, Likewise with kidney foundations.

    1. Melanie Betz MS, RD, CSR, FAND

      Hi Ron! I don’t have an accurate count for zucchini leaves. But they are likely on the lower side given zucchini is lower in oxalate. Here is a link to get my oxalate list based on Harvard data. But, I HIGHLY discourage counting how much oxalate you eat because it would be nearly impossible to do. It is also 100% unnecessary. Some people might need to avoid those foods very high in oxalate, but for the vast majority of people, simply getting in enough calcium is enough to get urine oxalate levels into the normal range. Hope that helps!

    2. what about my beloved keto cookies i thought i could enjoy? i make them with almond flower and a very small amt of coconut sugar . i eat one or two very small. is this a “no” for osteoporosis? would cocoanut flour be better?
      thank you

      1. Melanie Betz MS, RD, CSR, FAND

        There is no connection between osteoporosis and oxalate! However, I ALWAYS recommend if you want a cookie, just eat the real thing!

  10. I need a low to moderate oxalate diet due to chronic inflamation., and kidney stones, any help coordinating these would be helpful. thanks so much.

  11. Hi – from what I’ve found googling, which was only a single unsourced reference, it looks like raw fennel (as in those big fennel bulbs) is low in oxalate. Do you agree? Though fennel seeds seem to have a lot of oxalate.

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