What are kidney stones?
Kidney stones are the hard deposits of minerals and acidic salts that get stuck together in concentrated urine. It can be very painful while passing through the urinary tract. However, kidney stones usually don’t cause permanent damage. Kidney stones are also called Nephrolithiasis.
There are several ways kidney stones are formed. Calcium may combine with certain chemicals such as oxalates or foods for us and form a solid hard mass.
Sometimes kidney stones can also be formed by a buildup of uric acid whereas uric acid build-up is caused by the metabolism of protein. And these hard masses are very difficult to pass. so obviously, it is a painful process.
What do I eat if I have kidney stones?
The advanced research suggests that maintaining a proper diet reduces the risk of kidney stones. If you want to avoid kidney stones then you should mark what is important and what is not in your diet. Here are some important suggestions
- Stay hydrated
Consuming fluids, especially water helps to dilute the chemicals that form stones and also helps to flush them out. So, try to drink at least 12 glasses of water every day or even you can exceed this limit but not much more so that our kidneys get over-function.
- Increase your citrus intake
Citrus fruits are a good source of vitamin C. This helps to reduce the formation of stones due to the naturally occurring site rate. So you must include vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables in your diet.
- Add lots of calcium vitamin D in the diet
Intake of calcium is required in the body as if the calcium levels are low, the oxalate levels may rise and ultimately increase the amount of kidney stones in the body.
Try to take calcium from natural foods rather than relying on supplements as they may side react and increase your chances of Guinea stones.
The good sources of calcium are milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, and also other types of cheese.
The recommended vegetarian sources of calcium include legumes, calcium set tofu, dark green vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
You can also get some lactose-free milk, fortified soy milk, or goat’s milk.
- Eat a low fat diet
Eating a high-fat diet during kidney stones increases the amount of cholesterol and lipid deposits content that provides a favorable condition for your kidney stones to grow in numbers. So eating a low-fat diet helps you to add more nutrients to the body and keep you light and healthy.
Diet to prevent kidney stones
- Drink a lot of water
Drinking a lot of water is one of the best measures to avoid kidney stones. so drink water so that you urinate more and more and so the toxic materials get flushed out. Also, if you’re engaged in exercise and yoga, try more and more water than recommended.
- Get an optimum amount of calcium
A diet low in calcium increases the chances of developing kidney stones. So try to add calcium in the food from organic sources rather than relying on supplements.
- Reduce sodium intake in the diet
Try to avoid sodium-rich foods to prevent the growth of kidney stones.
Eat less animal protein that is cut down from your diet such as beef, chicken, eggs, selfish, milk, cheese, etc.
- Avoid vitamin C supplements
Vitamin C is essential in our body for the proper regulation of its functioning. However, vitamin C should be taken from organic sources rather than the artificial supplements present in the market as it may side react and rather develop another abnormal condition than curing the mentioned one.
- Explore herbal remedies
Relying on plant-based, natural treatments helps you a lot to cure such stones in a very natural way without developing any kind of side effects.
Which fruits are good for kidney stones?
- Fruits are an integral part of any diet. It provides numerous benefits and advantages to lead a healthy life.
- Increasing the number of fruits in the diet helps us to prevent stone formation.
- The fruits to be included in the kidney stone diet may be dried, frozen or fresh.
- Include fruits with high levels of citric acid such as oranges and lemons. The citric acid fruits show a positive effect in decreasing the number of kidney stones. You can also get gooseberries, which is Amla.
- Try to include foods rich in vitamin B and vitamin C as they are soluble and do not get stored in the body. So, you must continuously take such foods to maintain the levels of minerals and vitamins in the body.
- Eating watermelon is also a good choice as it is an essential ingredient for a healthy kidney. It contains the highest amount of water and helps in regulating and maintaining the level of acid present in the urine.
Which vegetables are good for kidney stones?
- Vegetables are an important part of our daily lives. They help us to get essential nutrients from the outside to nurture our bodies.
- Include vegetables rich in potassium to prevent kidney stones such as Brussels sprouts, Broccoli and kale.
It helps to decrease calcium loss from the body and prevents new kidney stones from forming.
- Potassium rich vegetables also contain certain amounts of antioxidants that help prevent bladder and kidney cancer.
- Add some more vegetables such as cauliflower, potato, carrots, green beans, tomatoes, cabbage and lettuce.
- However, onions are low in potassium but they are a good source of chromium that helps us with carbohydrates, fat and protein metabolism.
- Also opt for some dark leafy green vegetables as they are good sources of fibres and vitamin E along with other essential minerals.
- Along with vegetables you can also include some herbs such as ginger, as they can improve the functional attributes of kidneys. It improves or increases the flow of oxygenated blood towards the kidneys.
What should not be eaten with kidney stones?
- You should avoid foods that are concentrated in salt or sugar. It is very important to limit the amount of processed foods, fried foods such as chips and nuts which have high sugar content and apps like a poison for kidney stones as it leads to more production of it.
- Kolas should be highly avoided as these contain a large amount of sugar and phosphate and lead to the formation of kidney stones.
- Chocolates are generally very high in sugar content and should be strictly avoided by the kidney patient. It also leads to weight gain.
- Drinking less water leads to the accumulation of toxic materials in the body and does not get flushed out of it. So drinking more fluids specially water is very important to include in the diet chart to avoid kidney stones. The hydration levels in the body should be maintained throughout as the same person may get affected by this same problem again if reduces the amount of water intake.
- Consuming too much protein is also bad for the kidneys health. you should restrict animal protein such as red meat, beef, chicken, egg and instead include some amounts of plant based protein sources.
- The genetics also play an essential role in developing kidney stones. The family history must be checked and you should diagnose yourself in the early stages to avoid certain complications further.
- Drinks and certain foods which are high in phosphates and oxalate content should be avoided by the kidney patients.
- Avoid stone forming foods such as beet, spinach, T and most nuts.
- Reduce your sodium levels in the body. So cut down the salt content from your food.
Dietary risk factors for kidney stones
Kidney stones are also known as Nephrolithiasis. And has a high prevalence over the world. Also according to the latest studies, the cases of Nephrolithiasis are rising in both genders male and female of any age with an increasing rate every time.
Several dietary risk factors probably increase the chances of stone formation that including sodium, protein, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and other nutrients. These constituents may be modified according to the different kinds of kidney stones.
Especially the foods that produce acid rash after metabolism of the body may affect the lowering pH of urine whereas alkaline ash foods can increase the pH of urine that ultimately affecting the kidney stones. The dietary factors that stimulate the urine pH, urinary uric acid, and also types of stones risk kidney stones.
Some of the acid ash and alkaline ash foods stimulating factors are
- Dieticians recommend restricting sodium levels in the diet as sodium in the diet is capable of increasing the excretion of calcium and potassium along with citrate from the body, resulting in an urinary pH change and eventually increases the risk of kidney stones.
- A low sodium diet alone helps to minimize the loss of calcium and potassium from the body, and therefore helps to avoid inappropriate thiazides, mostly helpful in calcium oxalate stones.
- Potassium is available abundantly in several fruits and vegetables. You can opt for many different kinds of foods that are enriched in the nutrients potassium.
- If a patient is having low urine site rate and low urine pH then potassium citrate should be included in the diet to further help hypothermia.
- If a patient is suffering from chronic kidney disease as well and intakes antihypertensive medication, potassium levels should be monitored and regulated very carefully in this case.
- Patients suffering from acute or chronic infection usually have malnourished and experience catabolism and have been seen to contain more nitrogen in the urine.
- Usually high ammonium and sulphate are the indicators of a rich protein diet. A high protein amount in the diet reduces urine pH, therefore, a moderate to low protein diet should be recommended( 0.8-1.4g/kg/d)
- Around 20% of calcium in the diet is absorbed under normal conditions. The evidence shows that a higher calcium diet is linked with lower kidney stone formation or probably Nephrolithiasis.
- According to the studies, the people who consume a diet with normal calcium intake(1200mg/d) have a 51% lower incidence of recurrent stones than the patients who consumed low calcium (400mg/d) diets.
Apart from these, some of the major dietary risk factors for kidney stones includes
- Excessive protein in diet
- Suffering from obesity
- Including too much vitamin D than required.
Specific type for different kinds of stones.
Before making a diet chart, you must confirm with the doctor the type of kidney stone you have and accordingly plan your diet. As you might need to change what you eat or drink in different kinds of kidney stones.
The different kinds of kidney stones include
- Calcium oxalate stones
- Uric acid stones
- Calcium phosphate stones
- Cystine stones
Calcium oxalate stones
- If you are affected by calcium oxalate stones, you must avoid the following foods to reduce the amount of oxalate in urine.
- Peanut, legumes.
- Wheat bran
- Nuts and nuts products.
Limit animal protein
- Adding more and more animal protein in your diet may increase your chances of developing stones.
- You must limit some of the animal proteins such as beef, chicken, especially organ meats.
- Eggs, fishes should also be limited in the diet.
- Also limit milk, butter and other dairy products.
Uric acid stones
- Uric acid stones demand to control your animal protein if you want to control its growth.
- Limit animal protein sources such as beef, chicken, park, eggs, milk etc.
- Instead of animal protein foods you may prefer some plant based foods typically high in protein such as soy foods, almonds, cashews, walnuts, sunflower seeds, beans, dried peas, lentils and peanuts.
Calcium phosphate stones
- The chances of developing calcium phosphate stones increase when you intake more sodium. So try to limit the sodium content in your diet plan.
- Limit animal protein foods
- Add some plant based foods rich in protein.
- Get enough calcium from organic foods rather than taking supplements such as fortified juices, cereals, bread, some kinds of vegetables and recommended beans.
- Drinking enough water in such kidney stones helps you a lot to prevent cystine stones and reduces its growth as well.
- Along with water add liquid supplements such as juices and some detoxifying drinks.
How much liquid should I take if I have kidney stones?
- We know that, the human body consists of 60 to 70% water and the kidneys well placed the role of filtering fluid out of blood and helps in flushing out the concentrated filtrate
- The kidneys filter out about 180 litres of fluid each day. Out of these litres, an average healthy human produces about one to two litres of urine every day. Therefore it is recommended to drink at least two litres of water to compensate for this loss.
- Staying hydrated is one of the key ways to stop the existing kidney stones from increasing in number. Drinking enough water helps to pass stone, which means that excess salt and minerals are flushed out from the body in the form of urine.
- In addition, water also helps to move the stone, so that it travels through the urinary tract and eventually gets removed.
- If you have kidney stones it is recommended that drinking about three to four litres that is 8 to 10 glasses of water every day helps to flush out the toxins from the body. But you can slightly increase the amount of water intake in this case.
- Maintain an optimum amount of water intake in the diet. Must remember, do not drink a lot of water in an attempt to flush out kidney stones faster. However, the chances of drinking very high amounts of water is rare, but when it happens, it overworks the kidneys and prevents them from functioning optimally as it may dilute the sodium content and lead to adverse effects.
Along with water, the other hydrating fluids that you can opt for are
- Fresh lemon soda
- Coconut water
- Fresh and unsweetened fruit juices
- Vegetable juice
- Cucumber and lemon detox drink
- Watermelon mint juice
- These fluids not only hydrate you but also provide a cooling effect on your body.
However, some drinks that you need to avoid for kidney stones are
- Too much caffeine, that is tea and coffee.
- Carbonated colas.
Diet in cystine stones
- Cystine stones contain cysteine which is a product of amino acid cysteine and methionine and we all know that amino acids are the building blocks of protein. So the simplest way to limit cystine stones is to limit the protein intake.
- Implementing certain dietary changes such as increasing the amount of water, limiting sodium intake and cutting down the alcohol amount helps you to prevent cysteine from forming and increasing in number.
- Cut down the meat intake as it produces urine that has more acid that ultimately increases your risk for cystine stones.
- Reduce the salt in your diet. Do not try to eat salty foods such as potato chips, French fries, sandwich meats, canned soups and packaged meals.