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Kidney Stone Diet: What You Should and Shouldn’t Eat

Kidney Stone Diet: What You Should and Shouldn’t Eat

People prone to having kidney stones have to be extra careful about the food they eat. This is because certain types of food can make a person more prone to having stones. In order to combat this, people can take advantage of what is known as the kidney stone diet.

Read on to learn more about how this diet works, as well as how you can get started with it.

What is the kidney stone diet?

The kidney stone diet is an eating plan that is designed to lower the risk of developing kidney stones1. This type of diet has two main strategies: first, it involves eating certain types of foods that lower the risk of kidney stones. The second part involves avoiding foods that can increase the risk of kidney stones.

In particular, the foods to be avoided are those that are high in calcium and oxalate. This is because these minerals make up the most common types of kidney stones. So by avoiding them, you can lower the risk that these kidney stones would form.

Additionally, depending on the type of stones that you have, there are some additional things you might need to avoid. This is because aside from calcium and oxalate, kidney stones can also develop from eating foods rich in cystine and uric acid2.

How do you get started with the kidney stone diet?

Here are some important things to remember when it comes to the kidney stone diet:

Drink a lot of water

The first thing to remember when it comes to the kidney stone diet is to drink a lot of water. For example, if you’re drinking about 8 glasses of water a day, you’ll need to increase your intake when you go on the kidney stone diet.

The reason behind this is that water helps keep your urine diluted. When your urine is diluted, it lowers the chances that stones will form in your kidneys.

Avoid stone-forming foods

A lot of foods can be stone-forming if you eat them in large amounts. These include the following foods3:

  • Beets, leeks, sweet potatoes, squash
  • Tea and instant coffee
  • Tofu, peanuts, chocolate
  • Herring, anchovies, sardines
  • Asparagus, cauliflower, and dark green leafy vegetables
  • Salty foods such as chips
  • Organ meats and red meats

You don’t necessarily need to cut out these foods from your diet. However, it’s important to be mindful of these foods, and try to limit your intake in order to lower the risk of forming kidney stones.

Up your calcium intake

If you consume low amounts of calcium in your diet, the chances of developing calcium stones increases. So it’s a good idea to eat more foods that are rich in calcium4.

This is because the calcium in the food you eat binds to the oxalate in the intestines. This helps lower the chances that calcium oxalate stones will form in your kidneys.

However, take note that you should not take calcium supplements. It’s best to eat more dietary calcium rather than supplements because the latter might increase the risk of kidney stone formation.

Don’t consume too much vitamin C

Lastly, you’ll need to keep your vitamin C intake under control. The reason behind this is that eating vitamin C in excess of 1000mg/day can actually increase the risk of forming oxalate stones.

So, if you’re already eating a lot of fruits rich in vitamin C, it might be a good idea to skip taking supplements. Ideally, 60mg of vitamin C per day is enough for your daily needs5.

As always, if you’re planning to start a kidney stone diet, be sure to talk to your doctor about it. They would best be able to guide you on how best to go about with your diet, as well as tips to make sure you’re dieting the right way.

Learn more about Special Diets here.

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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources
  1. Kidney Stones: Preventing Kidney Stones Through Diet | Michigan Medicine, https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/ae1000, Accessed September 6, 2021
  2. Eating, Diet, & Nutrition for Kidney Stones | NIDDK, https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/kidney-stones/eating-diet-nutrition, Accessed September 6, 2021
  3. Kidney stones – self-care: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia, https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000135.htm, Accessed September 6, 2021
  4. Oxalate-Controlled Diet for Kidney Stones: Benefits, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/11066-kidney-stones-oxalate-controlled-diet, Accessed September 6, 2021
  5. Kidney Stone Diet Plan and Prevention | National Kidney Foundation, https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/diet, Accessed September 6, 2021
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Written by Jan Alwyn Batara Updated 3 weeks ago
Fact Checked by Kristel Dacumos-Lagorza
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