Low Oxalate Nuts & Seeds

Nuts & seeds are often taboo on a low oxalate, kidney stone friendly diet. This is probably because nuts and seeds are notorious for being high in oxalate. But, there are huge differences in oxalate between different nuts and seeds. If done correctly, nuts and seeds can be a part of a healthy low oxalate diet!

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Who Needs Low Oxalate Nuts?

Before we jump into which nuts and seeds are low in oxalate, it is important to know who needs to avoid high oxalate nuts and seeds.

Oxalate is most known for it’s role in kidney stones. However, not everyone with kidney stones needs to avoid oxalate. It is important to work with your doctor to figure out what kind of kidney stones you have. If you have a kidney stone other than calcium oxalate, avoiding oxalate will not reduce your risk of kidney stones.

If you were not able to have your kidney stone analyzed, a 24-hour urine test will tell you what kind of stones you are most likely to make. The test will also tell you what your kidney stone urine risk factors are.

Even for the same kind of kidney stone, urine risk factors can be different. For example, too much calcium in urine is the most common risk factor for calcium oxalate kidney stones. Other urine risk factors are high urine oxalate, low urine pH, low urine citrate and high urine uric acid. (1) You can target your specific risk factors with nutrition!

If you have high urine oxalate, it is important to follow a low oxalate diet, including low oxalate nuts. (2)

Remember that fluid, sodium, protein, calcium and healthy diet patterns all play very important roles in kidney stone prevention too! (1)

Why Eat Low Oxalate Nuts & Seeds?

Heart Health

Perhaps the biggest benefit of nuts and seeds is heart health! Nuts and seeds are a great source of heart healthy polyunsaturated, omega-3 and omega-6 fats. People who eat more nuts are less likely to have heart disease and high cholesterol. (3)

Fiber

Low oxalate nuts and seeds can be an important source of fiber. Eating enough fiber can be tough! Especially on a strict low oxalate diet. Adding healthy low oxalate nuts and seeds to your diet will help you get enough fiber. Women should eat 25 grams of fiber each day. Men should aim for 38 grams. (4) One ounce of pecans has about 3 grams of fiber. (5)

Fiber is most known for its benefit for bowel health. Eating enough fiber keeps you regular! Fiber can also help ward off heart disease and diabetes. (6)

Healthy Plant Protein

“Plant based” eating has become quite trendy in recent years – for good reason! Eating more plants like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds is protective against chronic disease.

In light of the “plant based” movement, products such as Beyond Burger and Impossible Burger have taken off. Although these meat substitutes can be a healthy option on occasion, they tend to be very high in salt. If you have Chronic Kidney Disease, phosphorus additives may also be a concern.

If you are trying to cut back on meat, it is better to get protein from natural sources, such as whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans and lentils. Low oxalate nuts and seeds are a great source of plant based protein!

Brain Health

Nuts may also help protect your brain! Nuts are an important part of a Mediterranean diet pattern, which is associated with slower cognitive decline and reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. (7) In fact, nuts are a critical part of the “MIND” diet, which was created to target cognitive function and to prevent Alzheimer’s. The “MIND” diet has been proven to do just that! (8)

Low Oxalate Nuts

Coconut

0mg oxalate per ounce

Coconut comes in at the lowest oxalate amount – zero! However, the fat in coconut is not ideal. Coconut is very high in saturated fat, which is associated with worse heart health and is not endorsed by the American Heart Association.(9) Also, be careful of extra sugar in shredded coconut and coconut milk.

However, coconut is a great source of fiber! Enjoy coconut in smaller amounts and mix in other low oxalate nuts to keep your heart healthy!

picture of halved coconut, a low oxalate nut
Coconut is a very low oxalate nut

Macadamia Nuts

12mg oxalate per ounce

Macadamia nuts* are delicious in more than cookies! Macadamia nuts are a great low oxalate nut choice.

Pecans

10mg oxalate per ounce

Who doesn’t love pecans!? Sprinkle some pecans* on your salad or in oatmeal to add some fiber and healthy plant protein.

Pistachios

14mg oxalate per ounce

The perfect snack! Pistachios* are a great option for a low oxalate diet. They also happen to be one of the lowest calorie nuts.

picture of pistachios, a low oxalate nut
Pistachios are a low oxalate nut with only 14mg per 1/4 cup

Walnuts

8mg oxalate per ounce

Walnuts* are packed with heart healthy polyunsaturated fat, making them a great option for your heart!

Low Oxalate Seeds

Flax Seeds

2mg oxalate per 2 tablespoons, ground

Flax seeds* pack 2 grams of fiber per tablespoon. They are also a good source of heart healthy omega-3 fats. Make sure to use ground flax seed, to be able to take full advantage of their benefits!

If you really like flax seeds, try Flackers*, a low oxalate cracker made from just flax seed, spices and a little salt!

Hemp seeds

3mg oxalate per 2 tablespoons

Hemp seeds* (or, hemp hearts) add a great crunch to almost anything! Sprinkle them on yogurt, salads or oatmeal.

Pumpkin Seeds

5mg oxalate per 1/4 cup

Pumpkin seeds* (or “pepitas”) are more than a treat in the fall! You can find pumpkin seeds year round. Add them to salads, oatmeal, yogurt or make your own low oxalate trail mix!

picture of a piece of pumpkin with pumpkin seeds scattered next to it
Pumpkin seeds only have 5mg of oxalate per 1/4 cup

Sunflower Seeds

3mg oxalate per 1/4 cup

Sunflower seeds* are delicious on salads for a nutty flavor and crunch. Be careful to avoid salted and flavored sunflower seeds. Sunbutter* is made from sunflower seeds and is a tasty, lower oxalate alternative to peanut butter.

Watermelon Seeds

5mg oxalate per 1/4 cup

These can be harder to find, but watermelon seeds are another low oxalate seed.

High Oxalate Nuts & Seeds

On the flip side, there are some nuts and seeds that are very high in oxalate. If you have high urine oxalate, it is best to avoid these nuts and seeds. Or, eat them only on occasion!

  • Almonds (122mg oxalate per ounce) – don’t forget almond butter, flour and milk are high in oxalate too!
  • Brazil nuts (137mg oxalate per ounce)
  • Cashews (49mg oxalate per ounce)
  • Hazelnuts (63mg oxalate per ounce)
  • Pine nuts (56mg oxalate per ounce)
  • Chia seeds (45mg oxalate per 2 tablespoons)
  • Sesame seeds (126mg oxalate per 2 tablespoons)

Advice for Eating Low Oxalate Nuts & Seeds

Watch Portion Size

Portion size is important to help control how much oxalate you eat. Even low oxalate nuts and seeds can add up!

A portion of nuts is 1 ounce, or about 1/4 cup of whole, shelled nuts. A portion of seeds is about 2 tablespoons for smaller seeds (like hemp or flax seeds), or a 1/4 cup for larger seeds (like sunflower or pumpkin seeds).

picture of a hand with a small handful of nuts on it. A serving of nuts is 1/4 cup, or a small handful

Choose Unsalted Low Oxalate Nuts!

Make sure to find unsalted or “lightly salted” nuts and seeds. Sodium plays a big role in kidney stones. Most people should limit sodium to 1,500-2,300mg per day to prevent kidney stones.

Happy Eating!

Melanie

60 thoughts on “Low Oxalate Nuts & Seeds”

  1. Hi – wife of new kidney stone sufferer here in the UK! (We’re pursuing urine test and he’ll have further surgery in a few weeks) Coming up to Christmas he loves roasted chestnuts… are they high in oxalates please?
    Thanks

    1. Melanie Betz MS, RD, CSR, CSG

      Hello! One ounce of chestnuts (edible portion) has about 30mg of oxalate according to my sources, so on the higher side. My recommendation for someone who hasn’t had a urine test is to just enjoy your favorite foods like this and don’t go overboard. You could always pair it with some dairy if you are really concerned. Oxalate is usually the LEAST of my worries when it comes to kidney stone prevention. Good luck getting that urine test – my fingers are crossed! That will give you SO much more direction about what you can do to prevent his stones!

  2. I am currently 66 years old. I had my first bout with kidney stones in 2015 from eating lots of Cashews. After having a heart attack in 2017, I start eating lots Almonds because they’re good for heart health. I’ve always loved Pecans since I was a child and I switched over to eating lots of Pecans daily to substitute my eating junk foods. Your article doesn’t mention Pecans, Almonds, and Cashews. I continue to get calcium kidney stones and I passed one last night. I am going to have to stop eating nuts altogether to help prevent my continuing to get kidney stones.

    1. Melanie Betz MS, RD, CSR, CSG

      Hi Carlos. Have you had a 24 hour urine test to see if high urine oxalate is causing your kidney stones? If not, there is no reason to limit oxalate. A healthy diet for kidney stone prevention is different for every single person. If you do need to limit oxalate, it is very important to balance this with making sure your diet still includes many healthy plant foods! The intent of this article was not to provide a comprehensive list of oxalate in all nuts. You can find more information about oxalate amounts from my oxalate list, available at my resources page.

  3. Thank you so much, Melanie!! Among many other things I have stopped eating nuts (calcium oxalate stones) and have lost a LOT of wt. I will now start eating nuts and hopefully gain some wt. back. You are precious to provide this info. for us.

  4. Douglas Martian Luna

    Melanie,
    Since subscribing to your web site I have learned more in this short time, so far, than any other site I have visited. I have both kinds of kidney stones and have been on a water base diet i.e. almost 3 liters of fluid a day, mostly water and have drop 27 lbs. in the past 4 months. Have had the 24 urine collection and received the advise of may Doctor and have followed it completely. At 74 years of age I again thank you for the information and will continue to value your insite to what and how to avoid more stones.

    1. Melanie Betz MS, RD, CSR, CSG

      Hi Douglas – I’m so glad you’ve found my site helpful! Please let me know if there is any other way I can help you!

  5. Hi Melanie
    If one has an oxalate allergy
    I realize I can’t cut it out all together hence looking for a low diet
    Can I eat artichoke and if so u got a receipt forvme?
    Thanks Sonja

    1. Melanie Betz MS, RD, CSR, CSG

      Hi Sonja! Artichokes are low in oxalate. I don’t have any artichoke recipes handy! I’d also make sure you truly have an oxalate allergy confirmed with an IgE food allergy test – I really hate to see people restrict their diet (especially of otherwise healthy foods!) when they don’t need to!

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