Kidney Stone Diet

Kidney Stone Diet Tips

kidney stone dietA kidney stone diet can be important in two ways. It will help prevent kidney stones, and it will help you cope with kidney stones if you already have them.

Are there foods that cause kidney stones. The short answer is yes. So a kidney stone diet can have a major influence on kidney stone formation, but before you change your diet--or your lifestyle--be aware that there are several types of kidney stones. Once you and your doctor know which kinds of kidney stones you have, you can fashion your diet accordingly.

Also keep in mind: what you eat as part of your diet may not be nearly as important as what you drink. This is true no matter what kind of kidney stones you have. 2-3 quarts of water a day is the best defense against kidney stones.

Water dilutes the urine and helps to prevent salts and minerals from clumping together to cause kidney stones.   

People who form calcium kidney stones used to be told to avoid dairy products and other foods with high calcium content. But recent studies have shown that foods high in calcium, including dairy products, may actually help prevent calcium kidney stones. Taking calcium in pill form, however, may increase the risk of developing kidney stones.

Also be careful of other supplements in your diet. Check with your doctor to see if they are really necessary.

If you're taking stomach medicine, consult your doctor. Certain popular antacids are enormously high in calcium.

Eating a lot of oxalate-rich foods as part of your diet can also increase the risk of kidney stones. About 60 percent of all kidney stones are known as calcium oxalate kidney stones. When your body is working as it should, it will excrete oxalate from the fruits and vegetables in your diet. But if you've had calcium oxalate kidney stones, it's a tip off that something isn't working right. So you should restrict your consumption of oxalate-rich foods in your diet. These include beans, beets, blueberries, celery, chocolate, grapes, green peppers, parsley, spinach, strawberries, summer squash, and tea.

Swedish researchers found that a daily supplement of magnesium in the diet reduced kidney stone recurrence by almost 90 percent in a group of patients. Scientists speculate that magnesium works because it can bond with oxalate. But unlike a bond of calcium and oxalate, the magnesium-oxalate bond is less likely to form kidney stones.

Vitamin B6 is believed to lower the amount of oxalate in the urine. One recent study suggests 10 milligrams a day as an appropriate dose to prevent kidney stones.

Make sure there's some vitamin A in your diet. Regardless of which kind of kidney stone you've had, Vitamin A helps keep the lining of the urinary tract healthy and also helps discourage the formation of kidney stones. Sweet potatoes and carrots are high in Vitamin A, as are apricots, broccoli, cantaloupes, pumpkins, winter squash, and beef liver.

But be careful with Vitamin A supplements, which should not be taken without your doctor's advice. Vitamin A can be toxic in large doses.

People who are inactive tend to accumulate a lot of calcium in the bloodstream, doctors say. Exercise helps pull calcium back into the bones (where it belongs) instead of accumulating in the urinary tract where they may form kidney stones.

A protein-rich diet is likely to cause kidney stones in people who are susceptible. Protein increases the presence of uric acid, calcium, and phosphorus in the urine, Excessive protein is especially hazardous for anyone who has had calcium kidney stones. Limit your diet to 6 ounces of high protein food a day. This includes meat, cheese, poultry, and fish.

If you've had calcium kidney stones, you should cut down on salts: no more than 2 to 3 grams per day. Not just table salt either. Beware of pickled foods, and salty foods such as luncheon meat, snack chips, and processed cheese.

If you tend to develop calcium oxalate kidney stones, the amount of Vitamin C in your diet can also be a problem. More than 3 to 4 grams a day can increase oxalate production and increase the risk of kidney stones. High-potency supplements are most dangerous.

Large amounts of vitamin D can lead to excess calcium. Be wary of foods that are high in Vitamin D.

There has been some research suggesting that dietary oxalates found in nuts, chocolate, dark-green leafy vegetables, rhubarb, beets and okra, and in
concentrated tomato sauce and jams can increase the risk of kidney stones. But all the research isn't in yet. You may want to avoid these foods, just in case.

Finally, the one clear dietary risk factor for kidney stone formation is grapefruit juice. It isn't clear why grapefruit juice is a diet problem for kidney stones, but study after study has shown that it is.

Strangely, orange juice is not a problem.

For years, conventional wisdom touted cranberry juice as a home remedy for kidney stones. The theory is that cranberries are acidic, so that drinking cranberry juice will acidify your urine and discourage calcium kidney stones from forming.

Lately though, researchers have cast doubt on the cranberry juice theory, saying that water works just as well--and you don't get the calories. Nonetheless, some doctors recommend two eight-ounce glasses daily.


Learn more about how to cope with kidney stones by clicking here or on the book cover below.