Are you a fan of adding a dash of black pepper to your meals?
While it may seem like a harmless seasoning, did you know that black pepper contains oxalate?
Oxalate is a compound that can contribute to the formation of kidney stones, particularly calcium oxalate stones.
In this article, we’ll explore the oxalate content of black pepper and other common foods, and provide tips on how to incorporate a low oxalate diet into your daily life.
So, if you’re curious about whether black pepper is high in oxalate, keep reading!
Is Black Pepper High In Oxalate?
Yes, black pepper is considered high in oxalate. In fact, a quarter teaspoon of black pepper has as much oxalate as 1.5 cups of sliced onions and 22 times as much as the same amount of white pepper.
While the amount of oxalate in black pepper may seem small, it can add up quickly if you consume it regularly. Brigham and Women’s Hospital recommends limiting black pepper intake to 1 teaspoon or less per day as part of a kidney stone prevention method.
What Is Oxalate And Why Does It Matter?
Oxalate is a naturally occurring substance found in many foods, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, and spices like black pepper. When oxalate combines with calcium in the urine, it can form crystals that can lead to the development of kidney stones.
Limiting the intake of high-oxalate foods is important for people who have been diagnosed with calcium oxalate kidney stones. Foods that are high in oxalate include beets, black tea, chocolate, nuts, potatoes, rhubarb, soy products, and spinach. It is important to note that quantity is critical when it comes to high-oxalate foods. For example, while black pepper is considered high in oxalate, the amounts used in cooking are typically small enough that total oxalate intake from it is negligible.
It’s important to be aware of the oxalate content in the foods you consume, especially if you have a history of kidney stones or are at risk for developing them. Consult with your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian to determine the appropriate amount of high-oxalate foods to consume as part of a balanced diet.
The Oxalate Content Of Black Pepper
Black pepper is processed differently than white pepper, which results in a higher oxalate content. Black pepper berries are dried with the husks on, while white pepper berries are soaked in water and have their outer husks removed. As a result, a quarter teaspoon of black pepper has as much oxalate as 22 times the same amount of white pepper.
It’s important to note that while black pepper is high in oxalate, the amounts used in cooking are usually small enough that total oxalate intake from it is negligible. However, if you are sticking to a low oxalate diet or have a history of kidney stones, it’s best to limit your intake of black pepper to 1 teaspoon or less per day.
Other Common Foods High In Oxalate
In addition to the foods mentioned above, there are several other common foods that are high in oxalate. These include cocoa, chocolate, and tea. Cocoa and chocolate products contain high levels of oxalate, with unsweetened cocoa powder having the highest oxalate content. Tea, particularly black tea, is also high in oxalates.
Other fruits that are high in oxalate include berries, kiwis, figs, and purple grapes. Vegetables such as potatoes, rhubarb, okra, leeks, Swiss chard, and beet greens are also high in oxalates. Additionally, nuts and seeds like almonds, cashews, and peanuts are high in oxalates.
It’s important to note that while these foods contain high levels of oxalate, they can still be a part of a healthy diet. The key is to consume them in moderation and to balance them with other low-oxalate foods. If you have a history of kidney stones or kidney disease, it’s best to consult with your doctor or dietitian to determine the appropriate amount of oxalate-containing foods for your individual needs.
Tips For Incorporating A Low Oxalate Diet Into Your Daily Life
Incorporating a low oxalate diet into your daily life can be overwhelming and difficult. However, there are some tips that can make it easier. Here are some suggestions:
1. Balance high-oxalate foods with other fruits and vegetables to help ensure good health.
2. Drink enough water to help your body flush out excess oxalates.
3. Get the recommended amount of calcium, which binds to oxalates during digestion.
4. Limit sodium and sugar intake, which may contribute to kidney stones at high levels.
5. Get the recommended amount of vitamin C. Too much can increase oxalic acid production in your body.
6. Cook high-oxalate vegetables to lower their oxalate content. Boiling works especially well for this.
7. Use white pepper in place of black pepper, as it has significantly less oxalate.
8. Lower the amounts of spices in your cooking by half.
9. Use more white pepper, ground mustard seed, pinches of cayenne pepper, and mineral-type salts like pink Himalayan or Real Salt brand salt (ancient sea salt mined in Utah).
10. Use more salt, as long as you’re not eating processed food.
11. Add a hint of lemon juice, lime juice, or vinegar just before serving to give all the flavors in your dish a subtle lift.
12. Use enough fat when cooking and serving. An extra dash of olive oil or butter when garnishing and serving extends and enhances flavors.
13. Try prepared horseradish more often. It is great with beef and seafood, and can be stirred into sour cream or yogurt (along with Frank’s Hot Sauce) for added flavor.
Remember that many foods are naturally low in oxalates, such as bananas, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, strawberries, apples, apricots, lemons, peaches, and oranges (fruit and juice). By incorporating these foods into your diet and following the tips above, you can successfully maintain a low oxalate diet and reduce your risk of kidney stones.