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Kidney Stones Diet


Kidney stones can be of different types (uric acid stones, calcium oxalate stones, cystine stones, and struvite stones) and the treatment for each of these types of kidney stones would require a very specific diet. The occurrence of kidney stones, a painful urological disorder, develops when stones form in the kidney, ureter, or bladder, due to the crystallization of chemicals in the urine.

The most common kind of kidney stone is calcium; this happens when calcium combines with oxalates and forms a stone. Uric acid stones develop when the acidic content in your urine is too high. An infection in the urinary system can lead to a struvite stone forming.
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Cystine stones are rare and usually hereditary. In most cases, the doctor will prescribe a personalized diet plan, depending on the patients’ needs and condition; however, all diets for kidney stone patients should include a higher intake of fluids.

 

A kidney stone diet will change your eating habits in many ways. To get your system back on track, you will need to make a couple of changes to your lifestyle as well. One of the first ingredients that you will need to cut down on is salt. You’ll need to make healthier diet choices, opting for fresh vegetables over canned food, as most processed foods are high in sodium because of the added preservatives.

Calcium is another important mineral that you need to make sure is included in your daily diet. You’ll need to check with your doctor however, as calcium stones are will only worsen if you continue to consume foods rich in calcium like, cheese, yogurt and milk. It is best to avoid eating cabbage as it increases the pain, no matter which type of kidney stones are present.

Foods to include


Carrot juice is recommended as part of a diet for kidney stones. It is believed to help fight off bacterial infections in the kidney, as it contains vitamin A. Papayas are used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat urinary tract infections and kidney stones. According to a study conducted by the American Society of Nephrology, there is an affirmative correlation between whole grain-rich diets and reduction of kidney stones. This is due to the fact that they contain sufficient amounts of vitamins, fibre and minerals.

Whole grains that fall under this category include brown rice, cracked wheat, whole wheat, and barley.The dietary requirements for renal stone sufferers are also important typically include potassium rich fruits and vegetables.

Here are some of the low-oxalate vegetables and fruits that you can include in your diet:

  • Broccoli
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Cucumbers
  • Asparagus
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Onions
  • Squash
  • Bell Peppers
  • Zucchini
  • Mushrooms
  • Cranberries
  • Honeydew
  • Red and green grapes
  • Watermelon
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cherries
  • Apples
  • Plums
  • Peaches

Foods to avoid


If you body is prone to producing calcium oxalate stones (the most common kind of kidney stones), then you will be advised against eating and drinking food that contains oxalates. This is a salt made in your liver and also found in some foods. Foods with high or medium oxalate levels that need to be avoided include the following
  • Spinach
  • Rhubarb
  • Soy
  • Peas
  • Carrots
  • Green onions
  • Green peppers
  • Celery
  • Beans
  • Sweet potato
  • Roasted coffee
  • Blackberries
  • Blue berries
  • Currants
  • Strawberries
  • Concord grapes
  • Raspberries
  • Wheat bran
  • Wheat germ
  • Chocolate
  • Tofu

Some of the other restrictions include meat products, especially liver and fish. Few of your favorite beverages will also have to be avoided and could include drinks like alcohol, coffee, cola drinks, and almond milk. Other foods that you need to stay away from include marmalade and peanut butter.

An excessive intake of vitamin C rich foods should be avoided as this promotes increased oxalate flow. Vitamin D supplements are best avoided if you suffer from calcium stones as they aid in the absorption of calcium in the body. Uric acid stones comprise just a small percentage of all cases of kidney stones. When dealing with uric acid stones, the main foods you should avoid include those that are high in animal protein as listed below:

  • Heart
  • Liver
  • Kidney
  • Sardines
  • Pork
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Beef
  • Egg

Purine rich foods or foods with high protein content should also be avoided. This includes legumes, spinach, cauliflower, mushrooms, asparagus, anchovies, salad dressings, fried foods, ice cream, alcohol and baking yeast.

Diet chart

The main dietary precaution that needs to be addressed whilst treating kidney stones is to increase fluid intake, while avoiding foods that could contribute to the condition. For this you have to make sure that the urine does not become concentrated. Also avoid high protein foods and edible items that contain oxalates. You should consult your doctor or dietician for a personalized diet plan, depending on the type of kidney stones.

Health tips

If you have had kidney stones before, the chances of the recurrence are high. The risks of a recurrence can be greatly reduced if you follow the diet plan and other lifestyle suggestions provided by your doctor. In addition, increase your intake of water, as the most common cause of kidney stones is the lack of enough fluids, mainly water. If your require more specific diet information and other tips, you should consult with your doctor and a dietician. 

References:

American Society of Nephrology"; DASH-Style Diet Associates with Reduced Risk for Kidney Stones; Eric N. Taylor et al.; 2009

Submitted on January 16, 2014
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