KIDNEY STONES DIET
Kidney Stones Diet Tips
A Kidney stones diet should ideally be designed by a registered dietitian or competent healthcare professionals, who are knowledgeable in this area.
When properly designed, it can to help regulate the body's biochemical systems, thereby minimizing the risk of kidney stones formation.
Anyone who has a history of developing kidney stones, or whose relatives may have been affected by them, should consult a registered dietitian for assistance in designing an appropriate personal diet plan.
There are different types of kidney stones but the majority of them are made up of calcium salts. Others may be composed of magnesium, ammonia, or uric acid. Persons who have been previously affected by kidney stones, or whose relatives may have had them, should know the type of stones that affected them. This helps to determine which foods are most appropriate to help minimize recurrences.
Considerations For A Kidney Stones Diet
When formulating a specific personal diet to help prevent kidney stones formation, factors such as the type of stone and the individual's medical history must be considered. There are, however, some basic steps that can be implemented to minimize the risk of developing kidney stones. The following are general information and tips that provide an indication of components of a typical kidney stones diet.
Lots of good quality water
This is probably the most important measure that one can take to prevent kidney stones from forming. On average, you should try to drink at least 3 quarts of water on a daily basis. This works out to approximately 12 glasses (8 ounce glass) of water, daily. Water helps to dilute the urine and minimize the chances of concentration of minerals and salts, which can bond together to form kidney stones.
Dehydration is a root cause of kidney stones. Consequently, any kidney stone diet should start with the consumption of adequate amounts of water every day.
Drinking unsweetened cranberry juice can also form part of a diet for kidney stones. Cranberry juice acidifies the urine which may help to prevent formation of some stones.
Persons who are prone to uric acid stones, however, should avoid too much cranberry juice or any food which may acidify the urine. Follow the recommendations of your health care provider.
Fresh Lemon Juice
Fresh (unsweetened) lemon juice mixed with warm water can also be implemented in a kidney stones diet. Similar to cranberry juice, lemon juice and water helps to acidify the urine, thus preventing the formation of some kidney stones.
However, this may not be appropriate for those who are prone to uric acid kidney stones.
Consume foods rich in vitamin A.
Good sources of vitamin A include potatoes, pumpkin, apricots, cantaloupes and alfalfa. Vitamin A helps to maintain a healthy urinary tract.
A kidney stones diet, for persons who may be prone to calcium stones, may include extra magnesium. This helps to increase the solubility (liquidity) of calcium oxalate, thus minimizing the risk of formation of calcium stones. Good natural sources of magnesium are sea-foods, brown rice, soybeans, and tofu.
Supplements of magnesium and vitamin B6 can also be effective in reducing the formation of kidney stones.
Reduce consumption of salt and some salt substitutes. These are sometimes high in phosphates, which can contribute to the formation of some kidney stones.
Ask your dietitian to recommend a good salt substitute, and be sure to read food labels.
Fresh Fruits and Raw Vegetables
A kidney stones diet should include lots of fresh fruits and raw vegetables. People who may find it difficult to eat raw vegetables can juice them. The taste of raw juiced vegetables isn't very appealing but adding an apple or other fruit tends to improve the taste.
Healthy servings of fruits, especially those rich in potassium, have been known to reduce the risk of kidney stones formation. Some studies have shown that potassium helps to prevent some kidney stones formation. Potassium-rich foods include bananas, tomatoes, oranges, avocados, figs, beans and potatoes.
Reduce Red Meats
While increasing the consumption of fruits and vegetables is important, the consumption of red meats should simultaneously be reduced.
A vegetarian-based diet is much more effective in preventing kidney stones than a diet with high meat content. Fish or other white meats are good substitutes for red meats.
For certain types of kidney stones, some foods can help to prevent kidney stones formation, while these same foods may not be appropriate for preventing other types of kidney stones formation. Always consult a competent healthcare provider for specific advice on an appropriate personal diet for kidney stones prevention.
Generally, a vegetarian type diet that is high in fiber and water and low in sodium and processed foods, is considered to be the most effective diet to prevent kidney stones from developing.
It should be noted that a kidney stones diet is not necessarily designed to remove kidney stones although, in some cases, increasing fluid intake (especially water) can help to dislodge kidney stones from the urinary tract. Once a kidney stone is stuck in the urinary tract and cannot be dislodged by increasing fluid intake, other kidney stones treatment options (such as lithotripsy) may be necessary.
A good kidney stones diet can, however, help to prevent kidney stones from developing. If you tend to be affected by kidney stones, get in touch with your dietitian to help you devise your personal diet to prevent kidney stones formation.