Are you a fan of almond milk?
It’s a popular dairy-free alternative that’s often touted as a healthy choice.
But did you know that almond milk contains oxalate, a naturally occurring substance that can contribute to kidney stone formation?
In fact, homemade almond milk has the highest oxalate content of all plant-based milk products.
So, how much oxalate is in almond milk, and what does it mean for your health?
In this article, we’ll explore the oxalate content of almond milk and other popular milk substitutes, and provide tips for reducing your risk of kidney stones.
Let’s dive in!
How Much Oxalate In Almond Milk?
According to recent studies, the oxalate content in almond milk can vary depending on the brand and type. On average, store-bought almond milk contains between 5.6 to 14.5 mg of oxalate per 100 mL. However, homemade almond milk has been found to have the highest oxalate content at 68 mg per 100 mL.
This is concerning for people who are prone to developing kidney stones, as high levels of oxalate in the urine can increase the risk of stone formation.
It’s important to note that almond milk is not the only plant-based milk product that contains oxalate. Soy milk and yogurt contain between 1.7 to 3.3 mg of oxalate per 100 mL, while rice milk has less than 0.8 mg per 100 mL.
What Is Oxalate And Why Does It Matter?
Oxalate is a naturally occurring compound found in many foods, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. When consumed, oxalate can bind with calcium in the body to form crystals that can accumulate in the kidneys and potentially lead to the formation of kidney stones.
For people who are prone to developing kidney stones, it’s important to monitor their oxalate intake to avoid exacerbating their condition. This is especially relevant for those who have had calcium oxalate kidney stones in the past, as they are often advised to limit their oxalate intake.
While almond milk can be a good alternative for people who are lactose intolerant or avoid dairy for other reasons, it’s important to be aware of its oxalate content. Choosing lower oxalate plant-based milk alternatives such as rice milk and flax milk may be a better option for those concerned about their oxalate intake.
The Oxalate Content Of Almond Milk Compared To Other Plant-Based Milks
When compared to other popular plant-based milk alternatives, almond milk generally has a higher oxalate content. Cashew and hazelnut milk also have relatively high oxalate concentrations, while coconut and flax milk have undetectable levels. Oat, macadamia, rice, and soy milk have similar parameters to dairy milk in terms of calcium, potassium, and sodium content with low oxalate levels.
It’s important to note that while plant-based milks may be a suitable alternative for those who are lactose intolerant or have dairy allergies, they may not be the best option for individuals who are prone to developing kidney stones or have chronic kidney disease. It’s recommended that these individuals consult with their healthcare provider or kidney dietitian to determine which milk alternatives are safe for them to consume.
The Health Risks Of Consuming Too Much Oxalate
Consuming too much oxalate can lead to various health risks, including the development of kidney stones. When oxalate levels in the urine are high, they can combine with calcium to form crystals that can eventually lead to the formation of kidney stones. These stones can cause severe pain and discomfort and may require medical intervention to remove.
In addition to kidney stones, high levels of oxalate in the body can also lead to other health issues such as inflammation, oxidative stress, and damage to tissues and organs. This is because oxalate can bind with minerals like calcium and iron, preventing them from being absorbed by the body.
Therefore, it is important for individuals who are prone to developing kidney stones or have a history of kidney stones to be cautious when consuming foods high in oxalate, including almond milk. It is recommended that they limit their intake of high-oxalate foods and drinks and consult with a healthcare provider or registered dietitian for personalized dietary recommendations.
Tips For Reducing Your Oxalate Intake And Lowering Your Risk Of Kidney Stones
If you are prone to developing kidney stones, it is important to take steps to reduce your oxalate intake and lower your risk. Here are some tips to consider:
1. Limit high-oxalate foods: Foods that are high in oxalate include nuts and nut products, rhubarb, spinach, and wheat bran. Consider reducing your intake of these foods or avoiding them altogether.
2. Increase calcium intake: Contrary to popular belief, a low-calcium diet can actually increase your risk of developing kidney stones. Make sure to get enough calcium from sources like dairy products, calcium-fortified juices, cereals, breads, and some types of beans.
3. Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can help flush out excess oxalate from the body and reduce the risk of stone formation.
4. Reduce sodium intake: Excess dietary sodium can lead to higher calcium levels in urine, increasing the risk of all calcium-based kidney stones. Aim for less than 2,000 milligrams of sodium per day.
5. Consult with a healthcare professional: If you have a history of kidney stones or are at high risk for developing them, it is important to speak with a healthcare professional about dietary changes and other preventative measures you can take. They can also help you determine how much oxalate should be in your diet and which foods are the best sources of calcium for you.
Conclusion: Is Almond Milk Still A Healthy Choice?
Despite its potential high oxalate content, almond milk can still be a healthy choice for many people. Almond milk is a great source of nutrients like calcium, vitamin E, and magnesium, which can be beneficial for people with kidney stones. However, it’s important to consume almond milk in moderation if you are prone to developing kidney stones.
It’s also worth noting that not all brands of almond milk are created equal. Some brands may have lower oxalate content than others, so it’s important to read labels and do your research before purchasing. Additionally, homemade almond milk has been found to have the highest oxalate content, so it may be best to limit or avoid it if you are concerned about your oxalate intake.