Kidney Stone Diet: What to eat and what to avoid?
Kidney stones are rock-like substances that are formed when Calcium combines with chemicals, such as oxalate or phosphorous, in the urine and get concentrated. This forms stones of the size of a grain, pea or as big as a ball. Smaller stones get passed through urine, but larger stones are difficult to pass and hence remain in kidney. But we can avoid the problem of kidney stone by making simple changes diet.
What to eat and drink?
If you’re trying to avoid kidney stones, what you eat and drink is as important as what you shouldn’t eat and drink. Here are some important rules of thumb to keep in mind.
- Stay hydrated: Water helps to dilute the chemicals that form stones. Hence you should drink more water. Drink minimum 12 glasses of water.
- Up your citrus intake: Citrus fruits like lemons, oranges and grapes and their juice, helps to reduce the formation of stones due to naturally occurring citrate. Hence include these fruits in your daily diet.
- Eat lots of calcium (and vitamin D): Calcium can help in deterring the formation of substances that can develop into stones in the digestive tract. Hence to increase calcium level include calcium-rich food to your diet. Good sources of calcium include milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, and other types of cheeses. Vegetarian sources of calcium include legumes, calcium-set tofu, dark green vegetables, nuts, seeds, and blackstrap molasses.
Also make sure to include foods high in vitamin D each day. Vitamin D helps the body absorb more calcium. Many foods are fortified with this vitamin. It’s also found in fatty fishes, such as salmon, egg yolks, and cheese.
What to avoid?
- Limit salt intake:
High sodium levels in the body, can promote calcium build up in urine. Hence include the moderate level of salt into your diet. Avoid adding more salt to food, and check the labels on processed foods to see how much sodium they contain.
- Lower your animal protein intake:
Animal protein like red meat, pork, chicken, poultry, fish, and eggs, increase the amount of uric acid you produce. Also, eating large amounts of protein also reduces a citrate level which prevents formation of kidney stones. You can include alternatives to animal protein in your diet like quinoa, tofu (bean curd), hummus, chia seeds, and Greek yogurt.
- A plant-based diet may be ideal: If you have kidney stones, you should reduce or eliminate oxalates from your diet completely. If you do eat foods containing oxalates, always make sure to eat or drink a calcium source with them. This will help the oxalate bind to the calcium during digestion, before it can reach your kidneys.
Foods high in oxalate include:
- swiss chard
- sweet potatoes
- Cola drink: Cola is high in phosphate, another chemical which can promote the formation of kidney stones.
- Reduce added sugar intake: Added sucrose and added fructose may increase your risk of kidney stones. Hence avoid added sugar in foods such as cake, in fruit, in soft drinks, and in juices. Other common added sugar names include corn syrup, crystallized fructose, honey, agave nectar, brown rice syrup, and cane sugar.
If you have any query regarding kidney stone diagnosis, treatment, and diet contact Dr. Mangesh Patil. He is one of the most experienced urologists in South Mumbai, with professional experience of more than 10 years. He provides personalized care to his patients.