Kidney stones are a common health problem that can be caused by various factors such as diet, low fluid consumption, excess body weight, some medical conditions, certain medications and supplements. Kidney stones are hard mass of minerals and salts that form inside the kidneys. They are a painful condition that can lead to urinary problems and kidney damage if not treated. Fortunately, you can help prevent or reduce your risk of developing kidney stones by making healthier lifestyle choices. This includes avoiding or limiting intake of certain foods.
Perhaps, if you have already had kidney stones, knowing the type of kidney stone you have and making changes to what you eat and drink can keep the problem from coming back. The four major types of kidney stones are - calcium oxalate stones, calcium phosphate stones, uric acid stones, and cystine stones.
Here are some foods suggested by nephrologists at Fortis Hospital, Mulund, a leading centre for comprehensive renal care in India, that you should avoid or eat in moderation to lower your chances of developing kidney stones.
High-sodium foods: Eating more sodium, which is an ingredient in salt, raises the amount of calcium in your urine, thereby increasing your risk of calcium oxalate stones as well as calcium phosphate stones. Cut back on fast foods, canned foods, packaged meats, and condiments that are high in sodium.
High-oxalate foods: You may limit intake of high-oxalate foods, especially if you’ve had calcium oxalate stone. These include spinach, beets, almonds and cashews, okra, nuts and nut products, wheat bran, etc. Pairing oxalate-rich foods with calcium can help your body handle oxalate and avoid the formation of kidney stones.
Animal protein: While you need adequate amount of protein in your diet each day, consuming animal protein such as beef, chicken, pork, eggs, fish, may increase the amount of uric acid you make. Try replacing animal protein with plant-based proteins like legumes, soy foods, nuts, etc, to reduce your risk of kidney stones.
Added sugars: Added or refined sugars can not only raise your chances of having of kidney stones, but also increase risk of heart disease and many other serious conditions. Sugary drink can raise your urine calcium and lower your urine volume. Eliminate or reduce foods and drinks flavoured with sugar, or particularly high-fructose corn syrup.
Alcohol: Since alcohol is a diuretic, it can cause dehydration, thereby increasing your risk of kidney stones. Alcohol increases purine production, resulting in higher uric acid levels in your blood and urine. Too much of uric acid can lead to the development of uric acid kidney stones. Also, alcohol provides your body with empty calories, which can contribute to weight gain linked to an increased risk of kidney stones. Instead, drink enough water to help prevent kidney stones and improve overall health.
Diet plays an important role in managing and preventing kidney stones. Talk to your doctor or a dietician to help you plan your meals to prevent kidney stones.