The urinary tract is not capable of expelling solid matter, so if you wish to know how to get rid of kidney stones, check out some effective kidney stone diet plans. According to the National Kidney Foundation, kidney stones occur in about 9% women and 19% males of the US.
Check out what to eat when you have kidney stones or when you wish to avoid them. One out of every 10 people are likely to have a kidney stone during their lifetime and the rates are slowly increasing.
What causes kidney stones?
Kidney stones are hard masses or crystals forming in the urine. These are usually calcium stones or uric acid stones formed either due to decrease in urine or increase of minerals and salts.
A proper kidney diet plan can help prevent them. The kidney stone diet plan and treatment also depends on the type of kidney stone, whether it is calcium oxalate stones, which are the most common types, or uric acid stones.
Kidney Stone Diet Plan
The Role of Water/Fluids in a Kidney Diet Plan
Most often, kidney stones occur due to dehydration. Hence, it makes sense to drink extra water.
- Apart from water, it is also advisable to take other fluids in a kidney stone diet.
However, care should be taken to check out the sodium levels of beverages, as some of them contain high salt content. Also, avoid sugary drinks, like sodas and sweetened juices.
- Drinking more water dilutes the substance in the urine that leads to stone formation.
- Drink enough fluids to pass about 2 liters of urine per day, which means around 8 cups of liquid.
- If you notice signs of kidney stones, include drinks like lemonade, orange juice, etc. in a kidney diet plan, as the citrate in them help prevent formation of stones.
Limiting Foods with a High Oxalate Content
Avoid foods containing high oxalate in order to prevent formation of calcium oxalate kidney stones. Most kidney stones are formed due to oxalate binding with calcium when kidneys produce urine.
- Foods containing high levels of oxalate are peanuts; rhubarb; spinach and beets as well as chocolate and sweet potatoes. Limit the intake of such foods in a kidney stone diet.
Instead of cutting oxalate rich foods, you can also eat or drink calcium and oxalate containing foods in the same meal in a kidney diet plan. In this way, they bind together in the stomach and the intestine before the kidneys start their work, so the formation of stones is less likely!
Fruits and Vegetables
Intake of fresh, dried or frozen fruits and vegetables can help prevent formation of kidney stones, forming an integral part of a kidney diet plan.
- Increased intake of fruits and vegetables enhances citric acid intake as well as adds potassium; magnesium and phytate protecting against the formation of new stones.
- Phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables prevent cancers and chronic diseases along with kidney problems.
Limit the amount of foods containing high oxalate content! Alternatively, you can combine these foods with foods rich in calcium!
Kidney Stone Diet Restrictions – Limit Animal Protein in a Kidney Diet Plan
It might be beneficial to limit the amount of animal protein if you have kidney pain or kidney stones.
- How to prevent kidney stones? Limit the amount of meat; fish; seafood; poultry; eggs; beef; chicken; pork, and organ meats you consume.
- Eat 2 or 3 servings of animal protein, but no more.
- Also limit milk cheese or other dairy products.
However, you need to get sufficient protein in your diet, so you can replace the animal protein with foods like beans; dried peas; lentils that are high in protein and low in oxalate.
Calcium Rich Foods
Calcium, taken in the right amounts, could actually block substances that might cause kidney stones, and must be included in a kidney diet plan.
- In a kidney stone diet list, get calcium present in plant and vegetable based foods, with low oxalate content.
- Such foods include calcium fortified juices; bread; cereal; some vegetables; beans etc.
Tip: Consult a physician to find out the right amount of calcium for preventing calcium oxalate kidney stones and at the same time support strong bones.
Citric acid prevents formation of kidney stones by coating them and preventing other material from getting attached and building further on to the stones.
- Limes and Lemons have the maximum amount of citric juice and form part of the kidney diet plan.
- Other fruits to include in a kidney stone diet are oranges; grapes and berries.
Half a cup of pure lemon juice offers citric acid equivalent to one pharmacological dose for a day.
Always consume lemon juice in its raw and natural form instead of bottled lemon juice, as these are pasteurized and lack raw enzymes as well as vital nutrients.
A diet high on sodium could trigger formation of kidney stones. A low kidney stone diet is recommended.
- According to current guidelines, the total sodium intake should be around 2300 mg in a kidney diet plan. In case of those who are more prone to salt related kidney stones, limit it to 1500 mg. This also helps towards blood pressure and the heart.
- A high salt diet increases protein in the urine.
- Urinary calcium is the main constituent in renal stones.
Tip: Though kidney stones can be treated with pain medications and fluid therapy, there are several home remedies for kidney stones.
The DASH or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension is a diet meant for people with kidney stones.
- It reduces the likelihood of formation of kidney stones and should be a part of every kidney diet plan.
A DASH diet is normally used widely for lowering high blood pressure and hypertension.
- The DASH kidney stone diet is rich in potassium and has a moderate amount of sodium.
- It is low in fat and high in fiber; potassium; calcium and magnesium.
- This diet also reduces blood pressure, risk of heart problems, strokes and cancer.
- The diet encourages consumption of vegetables and fruits along with whole grains and low fat dairy.
- It also suggests limiting salt, sugar and red meat intake.
Wrap Up – Kidney Stone Diet
If you suspect that you have kidney stones or notice kidney disease symptoms, consult your healthcare professional who will run some blood and urine tests. If you have ever had a kidney stone, you will realize how unbearable the pain can be, as the tiny stone passes through the urinary tract and is released out of the body.
He will also suggest whether you need to make any diet changes and follow a kidney diet plan or go through some medical treatment for preventing the kidney stones from coming back.
If you have kidney stones, take action NOW! If you don’t follow the right diet, it is very likely that the stones might return and returning kidney stones could lead to kidney disease. It is better to handle the problem naturally with a proper diet plan, instead of opting for prescription medicines. Lifestyle changes can be very effective in making a difference.