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  • Writer's pictureDr. Karuturi Subrahmanyam

Kidney Stones: What Food to Eat and What Food Not to Eat?


Kidney stones are hard deposits of minerals and salts that form in the urinary tract. They can cause severe pain, nausea, vomiting, blood in urine, and fever. Kidney stones can be prevented by making some changes in your diet and drinking enough fluids.


What Food to Eat?

Some foods that can help prevent kidney stones are:

  • Calcium-rich foods: Calcium binds with oxalate in the digestive tract and reduces the amount of oxalate that reaches the kidneys. Foods that are high in calcium include milk, yogurt, cheese, legumes, dark green vegetables, nuts, seeds, and tofu. However, avoid taking calcium supplements as they may increase the risk of kidney stones.

  • Citrus fruits and juices: Citrus fruits such as lemons, oranges, and grapefruits contain citrate, which can prevent or dissolve kidney stones. Citrate makes the urine less acidic and more alkaline, which inhibits the formation of calcium oxalate and uric acid stones. You can drink fresh or bottled citrus juice or eat the whole fruit.

  • Water and other fluids: Drinking enough water is the most important thing you can do to prevent kidney stones. Water dilutes the urine and flushes out the substances that can form stones. Aim for at least 12 glasses of water a day. You can also drink other fluids such as herbal teas, coconut water, lemonade, or cranberry juice.


What Food Not to Eat?

Some foods that can increase the risk of kidney stones are:

  • Sodium-rich foods: Sodium increases the amount of calcium in the urine, which can lead to kidney stones. Foods that are high in sodium include processed foods, canned foods, fast foods, salty snacks, sauces, condiments, and meats. Limit your sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day or as advised by your doctor.

  • Oxalate-rich foods: Oxalate is a compound that can combine with calcium and form kidney stones. Foods that are high in oxalate include spinach, chocolate, beets, rhubarb, soy products, nuts, peanuts, wheat bran, and tea. If you have a history of calcium oxalate stones, you may want to avoid or limit these foods. However, you can eat them with calcium-rich foods to reduce their absorption.

  • Animal protein: Animal protein such as red meat, poultry, fish, pork, eggs, and dairy products can increase the production of uric acid and lower the amount of citrate in the urine. Both of these factors can contribute to kidney stone formation. You should limit your animal protein intake to no more than 6 ounces per day or as advised by your doctor. You can also replace some of the animal protein with plant-based protein such as quinoa, hummus, chia seeds, and Greek yogurt.


Diet Tips

Here are some tips to follow a kidney stone diet:

  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day and especially when you exercise or sweat a lot.

  • Eat a balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean protein sources, and healthy fats.

  • Avoid skipping meals or fasting as this can increase the concentration of substances that can form stones in the urine.

  • Check the nutrition labels on packaged foods and choose those that are low in sodium and oxalate.

  • Consult a doctor for more guidance on what to eat and what not to eat.


Takeaway

Kidney stones are painful and can cause serious complications if left untreated. You can prevent them by following a kidney stone diet that includes drinking enough fluids, eating more citrus fruits and calcium-rich foods, and avoiding or limiting sodium-rich foods, oxalate-rich foods, and animal protein. You should also consult your doctor for diagnosis and treatment of kidney stones and follow their advice on dietary modifications.


Dr. Karuturi Subrahmanyam, MD, FRCP (London), FACP (USA)

Internal Medicine Specialist


Kify Hospital

Danavaipeta

Rajahmundry

Phone : 85000 23456

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