Diet and Nutrition for Preventing Kidney Stones
Drinking adequate quantities of fluid, especially water, is an essential tip to prevent kidney stones. Unless your kidneys have failed, most healthcare professionals recommend that you drink six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. Depending on the condition of your kidney, a healthcare professional can suggest how much fluid you should consume each day.
Diet can also reduce the risk of the formation of kidney stones. If you are overweight, the chances that you will develop kidney stones are higher. With the help of a dietician, you can plan meals to lose weight and prevent kidney stones.
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Types of Kidney Stones and The Food You Must Eat
There are different types of kidney stones that you can develop. You must eat food and follow a nutrition plan based on the type of kidney stone you are suffering from:
- Calcium Phosphate Stones
- Calcium Oxalate Stones
- Uric Acid Stones
- Cystine Stones
A professional doctor along with a nutritionist specializing in kidney stone prevention can help you prepare a diet to keep kidney stones away. Here are a few guidelines to help you plan your meals according to the type of kidney stone you have:
Calcium Phosphate Stones
Decrease Sodium Intake
If you eat more sodium, you are at a higher risk of developing kidney stones. Sodium is a part of salt. It is found in many packaged, canned, and fast foods. Moreover, it exists in meats, seasonings, and condiments.
You must regulate the amount of sodium you consume. A kidney stone specialist can suggest how much sodium should be present in the food you eat.
Restrict animal protein
Animal protein tends to increase the risks of developing kidney stones. Most health care professionals suggest that you limit the intake of animal protein. Animal protein is found in:
- milk, cheese, and other dairy products
- chicken, pork, beef, particularly organ meats
- fish and shellfish
While you do need to reduce the amount of animal protein you eat each day, you must also ensure that you get enough protein. You can replace meat and animal protein with protein-rich plant-based foods. These include:
- sunflower seeds
- soy foods, like tofu, soy nut butter, and soy milk
- nuts and nut products, like walnuts, pistachios, cashews, cashew butter, almonds, and almond butter
- legumes, including lentils, peanuts, dried peas, and beans
An experienced kidney stone doctor can recommend the right quantity of protein to eat per day. You must also ask about how much of this protein should come from plant-based or animal foods.
Get optimum calcium from foods.
Most people believe that calcium would be the cause of calcium kidney stones. However, that is not true. If you intake calcium in the right quantities, it can block other substances in the digestive tract that create stones. Moreover, calcium helps to support strong bones. Talk to a health care professional to understand the optimum amount of calcium for your body. You can plan your kidney stone diet by focusing it on plant-based foods rich in calcium, such as breads, cereals, beans, vegetables, and calcium-fortified juices.
Calcium Oxalate Stones
If you have developed oxalate stones, you must decrease the quantity of oxalate in your urine. For this purpose, it is best to avoid the following foods:
- peanuts – you can continue to eat the nuts but avoid the legumes and peanuts high in oxalate.
- nuts and nut products
- wheat bran
The other kidney stone diet precautions are similar to the precautions for calcium phosphate stones. You must reduce sodium, limit animal protein, and focus on gaining sufficient calcium intake.
Uric Acid Stones
For uric acid stones as well, you must restrict the consumption of animal protein. You can instead include plant-based sources of protein in your diet. Moreover, if you are overweight, you must lose weight.
A vital lifestyle change recommended to prevent cystine stones is drinking sufficient liquids, especially water.
Tips for a Kidney Stone Diet
Having kidney stones increases the chances of you suffering from them again. Consequently, it is essential that you actively work to protect them. The best way to prevent kidney stones is by taking the medications prescribed by the doctor and monitoring what you eat and drink.
Here are some tips that you should constantly keep in mind:
- Drink at least eight to twelve glasses of water each day
- Include one calcium-rich food in every meal
- Restrict the consumption of animal protein
- Reduce the intake of salt, added sugar, and foods rich in fructose corn syrup
- Drink citrus juices, such as orange or grapefruit juice
- Reduce foods and drinks high in phosphates and oxalates
- Avoid alcohol as it dehydrates you
- Don’t drink colas
- Eat lots of vitamin
Kidney stones can cause extreme pain. Fortunately, a proper diet can help you manage and prevent kidney stones. The essential elements of a kidney stone diet include staying hydrated, eliminating certain foods that are rich in salt and sugar, and replacing them with calcium and plant-based foods.