Kidney Stone Diet: Foods to Eat and Avoid

Kidney Stone Diet: Foods to Eat and Avoid

by Alex Hirsch (SU)

Kidney stones are hard crystalized deposits that form as the kidneys produce urine. Kidney stones cause a lot of different types of symptoms, including severe pain that can radiate to other parts of the body like the lower abdomen, groin, lower back, and ribs. Kidney stones can also cause urine to become discolored (red or brown), cloudy, and foul-smelling.

Once kidney stones form, there are a few ways to get rid of them. Drinking a lot of water may help, as well as the use of medications like alpha blockers for larger stones. Ultrasound is sometimes used to break up kidney stones so that they pass through the urinary tract more easily. Depending on the stone size and location, your urologist may recommend surgery to remove the kidney stone.  

A popular and effective way to prevent kidney stones from developing is called the kidney stone diet, which consists of eating foods that help prevent the formation of kidney stones and avoiding foods that increase the chance of them forming. Let’s take a look at what foods to eat and what foods to avoid when on a kidney stone diet.

What to Eat 

Vegetables – Vegetables are a great way to decrease your risk of developing kidney stones. However, some vegetables are better than others. Vegetables that contain oxalates are not good for your kidney stone diet. Stick to vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, carrots, green beans, tomatoes, kale, cabbage, and lettuce. These vegetables do not contain oxalates and can help you decrease the risk of kidney stones.

Citrus Fruits – Citrate, found in citrus fruits, helps block the formation of kidney stones and can help keep you safe from them. Examples of citrus fruits that you should include in your kidney stone diet are oranges, lemons, and grapefruit. 

Dairy Products – Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt are great sources of calcium, which is essential to balancing the oxalates in your diet. Increasing your dairy intake can help reduce the formation of kidney stones.

Salmon – Foods like salmon that are rich in vitamin D are also great for a kidney stone diet. Vitamin D helps absorb calcium better.   

What to Avoid

Foods High in Salt – Salt is detrimental to a kidney stone diet. High sodium can increase the buildup of calcium in the urine, which can lead to kidney stones. A low-sodium diet is essential to avoiding kidney stone formation.

Animal Protein – Eating red meat increases the levels of uric acid in the body, which can increase the chances of kidney stone formation. Additionally, animal proteins also reduce citrate in the body that blocks the formation of kidney stones. To follow the kidney stone diet, consume less animal protein and more plant-based foods. However, be careful in choosing which vegetables to eat because some vegetables contain oxalates such as spinach, chard, and beets.

Sodas – Soft drinks like Coca-Cola, and Pepsi-Cola are high in artificial sugar (fructose, sucrose) and a chemical called phosphate, which promote kidney stones. Make sure to cut them out of your diet.

If you are experiencing kidney stones or another urological health problem, it’s important to consult with a reliable and experienced team of medical professionals. The Urology Specialists of Milford can expertly treat your kidney stones, as well as a host of other urological conditions. Call (508) 473-6333 to make an appointment today.