Having a kidney stone is a painful and unpleasant experience. About 10 % of people in industrialized countries suffer from kidney stones. In India, the incidence of kidney stones shows geographical variation and is also based on certain dietary factors. This could include- consumption of cereals high in calcium and phosphate and vegetables high in oxalates. This is why it is important to note the type of kidney stone you have, since changes in diet can help in preventing a recurrence.
How can I prevent getting kidney stones?
It pays to be careful with your weight, diet and hydration levels. In addition, changes to diet are also important.
1. Maintaining a Healthy Weight
Carrying excess body weight can place a burden on the kidneys, leading to the formation of stones. While losing weight, it is important to do it in a slow, sustainable and healthy way. Crash and fad diets can lead to an increased risk of stone formation.
Being well hydrated helps flush out toxins and waste products out of the body. This prevents minerals and other salts from building up until their levels are concentrated. Drinking at least 10 to 12 glasses of water is important, in addition it is important to avoid colas, beverages like tea and coffee and juices or shakes with high amounts of sugar in them. Along with water one can opt for tender coconut water, clear soups, buttermilk and infused water.
3. Reduce salt intake
Too much salt can cause dehydration and can also cause salts to build up causing stones. It is best to avoid packaged and processed foods since these come with a lot of hidden salts. Doctors treating kidney favour the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet since it advocates keeping salt intake low (1 tsp. of salt per day) and other guidelines for healthy eating (more fruits and vegetables, limiting saturated fats, sugar, sweetened beverages etc.)
4. Citrus fruits
Those with kidney stones were found to have low levels of citric acid. Citric acid helps as it prevents the formation of kidney stones by preventing calcium oxalate formation (it binds with urinary calcium). Include fruits like- grapefruit, musambi, oranges and lime.
5. Avoid crash diets
These diets sometimes advocate a high protein and low carb approach, this build-up of protein can place a burden on the kidneys. The urinary calcium reaches high levels and decreases urinary citrate. These factors can result in the formation of kidney stones.
Dietary considerations depending on type of stone
There are 4 kinds of kidney stones, they include:
• Calcium Oxalate Stones
• Calcium Phosphate Stones
• Uric Acid Stones
• Cystine Stones
|Type of Stone||Foods to Avoid||Foods to Include|
|Calcium Oxalate Stones||High amounts of fatty meat, poultry, soy and its products, nuts (peanuts), green leafy vegetables, wheat bran, chocolate, sodium (processed foods, packaged soups, fast food), high doses of vitamin C||Calcium- since it blocks stone forming substances. Choose from calcium fortified foods- skimmed milk, orange juice, small fish with bone|
Calcium Phosphate Stones
|Animal Protein- meat, poultry, fish, eggs.||Replace animal protein with vegetarian protein- pulses and legumes, soy, nuts and nut butters, seeds.|
Uric Acid Stones
|Animal Protein- red meat and organ meats||Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and skimmed dairy|
|Animal protein and high amounts of salt.||Vegetarian protein, fruits, vegetables, whole grain and low-fat dairy|
It is important to have a regulated amount of healthy proteins, fruits, vegetables, skimmed dairy and to be well hydrated. In addition, maintaining a healthy weight and avoiding crash diets can keep you away from any kidney stone formation.
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