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
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.
What Are Kidney Stones?
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 .
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.
What Causes Kidney Stone Formation?
Kidney stones are formed “when there’s too much waste in too little liquid” . These solid crystals then start attracting other chemicals like oxalate, cysteine, urate, calcium, phosphate, and xanthine.
These deposits can be of five types :
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)
Medical conditions like:
Dent Disease , Hyperparathyroidism
Certain Digestive Diseases and Surgeries like:
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) such as:
Gastric bypass surgeries
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
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.
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
For Uric Acid Stone
For Struvite Stone
For Calcium Phosphate Stone
Diet To Follow If You Have Cystine Stone
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:
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.
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
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.