Diet Tips

Kidney Stones Diet – Foods List, Benefits, And Lifestyle Changes

Medically reviewed by Amanda Teh, Naturopath
by
ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition
Kidney Stones Diet – Foods List, Benefits, And Lifestyle Changes Hyderabd040-395603080 June 27, 2019

Living with kidney stones is extremely difficult. Pain, bleeding, medicines, and recurrence can take a toll on your physical and mental health. But a specially designed diet can help you and 12% of the world’s population (600,000 of which are Americans) reduce the symptoms and recurrence of kidney stones (1), (2), (3), (4).

Read on to know all about the kidney stone diet, which includes foods to eat and avoid, benefits, and the required lifestyle changes to prevent the formation/recurrence of kidney stones. Let’s begin!

Before jumping to the diet, here’s what you must know about kidney stones.

Table Of Contents

What Are Kidney Stones?

What Are Kidney Stones Pinit

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Kidney stones are small grain-like or pearl-sized, hardened mineral or uric acid deposits in the kidneys. This condition is also known as nephrolithiasis, and it can affect both men and women across all races. But it is more prominent in men (5).

Our urinary tract is not biologically designed to pass solid substances. A deposit, as minute as a grain, blocks the urinary passage, prevents proper urination, and causes pain and bleeding. So, this brings us to one question, how do these deposits form? Find out about that in the next section.

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What Causes Kidney Stone Formation?

What Causes Kidney Stone Formation Pinit

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Kidney stones are formed “when there’s too much waste in too little liquid” (6). These solid crystals then start attracting other chemicals like oxalate, cysteine, urate, calcium, phosphate, and xanthine.

These deposits can be of five types (7):

  • Calcium oxalate – Most common type of kidney stones formed due to inadequate intake of fluid.
  • Uric acid – The second most common type of kidney stones formed due to consumption of a diet high in meat, organ meat, and shellfish.
  • Struvite – These are less common and formed due to infection in the upper urinary tract.
  • Calcium phosphate – Formed due to an underlying metabolic disorder.
  • Cystine – Much rare. Cystine stones are formed if you have a family history of this kind of kidney stones.

The stone(s) formed might get washed away if you drink an adequate amount of water. Otherwise, the stone(s) either sits in the kidney or moves down to the ureter, where it blocks the urinary passage. This causes less urination, pain, and even infection in some cases. Here is a list of other risk factors:

  • Dehydration from not drinking enough fluid
  • A diet too high in: Protein, Oxalate, Sodium (salt), Sugar (like high fructose corn syrup)
  • Obesity
  • Medical conditions like:
  • Dent Disease , Hyperparathyroidism
  • Certain Digestive Diseases and Surgeries like:
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) such as:
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Gastric bypass surgeries

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These risk factors may make cause kidney stone and the common symptoms are:

Symptoms Of Kidney Stones

  • Extreme pain in the groin region, back, or the side
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Fever and chills
  • Blood in urine
  • Foul-smelling urine
  • Discolored urine
  • The urge to urinate frequently

Talk to your doctor immediately if you have any of these symptoms.

Apart from not drinking enough water, kidney stones can also form when your diet is high in sugar and/or salt, or you have a family history of kidney stones or are obese and lead a sedentary lifestyle. That’s why, along with medications, you must take care of your diet and lifestyle. Here’s everything you need to know about the kidney stone diet.

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Diet Recommendation for Kidney Stone

If you’re trying to avoid kidney stones, what you eat and drink is as important as what you shouldn’t eat and drink. Here are some important rules of thumb to keep in mind.

For Calcium Oxalate Stone

Foods To AvoidFoods To Consume
  •  Nuts and nut butters, except for peanuts and peanut butter
  •  Legumes
  • Spinach (yes! This dark leafy green is a rich source of oxalate, which can further aggravate your problem.)
  • Wheat bran
  • Rhubarb
  • High sodium foods

 

  • Beans, lentils, legumes, soybean and soybean products
  • Peanuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Almonds, walnut, almond butter, peanut butter, pistachios, cashew, and cashew butter
  • 8 ounces of water
  • Freshly pressed fruit juices
  • Limited amount of meat and meat products

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For Uric Acid Stone

Foods To AvoidFoods To Consume
  •  Chicken
  •  Pork
  • Beef
  • Organ meat
  • Fish and shellfish
  • Eggs
  • Cheese, milk, and all dairy products

 

  • Beans, lentils, legumes, soybean and soybean products
  • Peanuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Almonds, walnut, almond butter, peanut butter, pistachios, cashew, and cashew butter
  • 8 ounces of water
  • Freshly pressed fruit juices
  • Very restricted amount of animal product. Consult a registered dietitian to know how much animal product to consume.

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For Struvite Stone

Foods To AvoidFoods To Consume
  • Foods rich in magnesium
  • Packaged and canned foods
  • Salty foods
  • Fried, fast foods
  • Frozen foods
  • Foods low in calcium
  • Sugary foods
  • Animal products

 

  • Beans, grains, fresh veggies, dark leafy greens, bran, and fruits
  • 8 ounces of water per day.
  • Vitamin C-rich fruits and fruit juices
  • Cranberry juice
  • Watermelon seeds
  • Herbs like rosemary and agrimony
  • Have vitamin B6 and B1 supplements (talk to your doctor first).

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For Calcium Phosphate Stone

Foods To AvoidFoods To Consume
  • Packaged and canned foods
  • Salty foods
  • Fried, fast foods
  • Frozen foods
  • Chicken
  • Pork
  • Beef
  • Organ meat
  • Fish and shellfish
  • Eggs
  • Cheese, milk, and all dairy products
  • Beans, lentils, legumes, soybean and soybean products
  • Peanuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Almonds, walnut, almond butter, peanut butter, pistachios, cashew, and cashew butter
  • 8 ounces of water
  • Freshly pressed fruit juices
  • Very limited amount of animal product. Consult a registered dietitian to know exactly how much animal product to consume.

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Diet To Follow If You Have Cystine Stone

Foods To AvoidFoods To Consume
  • Packaged and canned foods
  • Salty foods
  • Fried, fast foods
  • Frozen foods
  • Foods containing sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), baking powder, sodium alginate, monosodium glutamate (MSG), and sodium nitrate or nitrite
  • Beans, grains, fresh veggies, bran, and fruits
  • 8 ounces of water per day.
  • Freshly pressed citrus fruit juices
  • Homemade vegetable juice/smoothies

 

Note: Cook at home to control the amount of salt and sugar intake in your food.

 

Diet does not necessarily reverse the formation of the stone. Certain cases still require surgery or medical procedure to remove the stone. Diet plays a major role for prevention. Here’s what you can add to your diet to reduce the risk of kidney stone formation:

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Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle Changes Pinit

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A sedentary lifestyle and poor diet are two main reasons for kidney stone formation. So, along with changing your diet, you must tweak your lifestyle as well. Here’s what you can do.

  • Get active! Play a sport, run, swim, dance, do yoga, walk, lift weights – pick up any physical activity and spend at least 4 hours on it per week. The good hormones will also uplift your mood.
  • Drink up! Drink at least 8 ounces of water per day. You may also increase your fluid intake by consuming buttermilk, vegetable and fruit juices, and detox water.
  • Meditate and medicate! Dealing with pain and treatment can increase your stress levels. Meditate regularly for at least 5 minutes to pacify your restless, worried mind. But do not ignore the medicines prescribed by your doctor.
  • Dunk the junk! Toss the sweet, salty, canned, frozen, canned, and ready-to-eat foods into the bin (or donate them).

Start integrating one lifestyle change at a time into your routine. Give yourself three weeks to switch to a new lifestyle, which will ultimately help you improve your health condition. In fact, by following a kidney stone diet and a good lifestyle, you will reap the benefits mentioned below.

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Benefits

  • Weight loss
  • Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Reduced risk of developing diabetes
  • Avoids the risk of complete renal failure
  • Reduces the risk of kidney infection
  • Improves mood and quality of life
  • Makes you less dependant on medicines and other medical treatments

Conclusion

Kidney stones are typically a painful condition. Fortunately, diet can be an effective tool in managing and preventing kidney stones. However, if the stone gets very serious and you may need to seek for medical procedure, before any complication.

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References

  1. Kidney Stone Disease: An Update on Current Concepts” Advances in Urology, Hindawi.
  2. Medical and Dietary Therapy for Kidney Stone Prevention” Korean journal of urology, US National Library of Medicine.
  3. Dietary treatment of urinary risk factors for renal stone formation. A review of CLU Working Group.” Archivio italiano di urologia, andrologia : organo ufficiale [di] Società italiana di ecografia urologica e nefrologica / Associazione ricerche in urologia, US National Library of Medicine.
  4. Diet and renal stone formation.” Minerva medica, US National Library of Medicine.
  5. Kidney Stone Disease: An Update on Current Concepts” Advances in urology, US National Library of Medicine.
  6. Kidney Stones” National Kidney Foundation.