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Foods to Decrease Your Risk of Kidney Stones



Did you know that men are more likely to develop kidney stones than women? Factors such as dehydration, dietary habits, and certain medical conditions all contribute to this increased risk. Making healthy dietary choices can aid in reducing kidney stones.

 

Foods You Should Consider Adding to Your Diet:

 

1.     Citrus Fruits

Fruits like lemons, limes, and oranges are full of citrate which can prevent stone formation by binding with calcium in urine.

 

2.     Calcium

When calcium binds with oxalates in the intestines, it prevents absorption into the bloodstream and deposition into the kidneys. Incorporating dairy products like milk, yogurt, cheese, or any fortified plant-based dairy alternatives.

 

3.     Magnesium

Foods rich in magnesium help to prevent the formation of kidney stones. Avocados, bananas, legumes, and whole grains are all beneficial and natural sources of magnesium.

 

4.     Water

Consuming plenty of water to stay hydrated is important to dilute the urine so that crystals can’t clump together and become stones.

 

Foods to Limit in Your Diet:

 

1.     Sodium

High sodium intake increases the amount of calcium present in urine which can trigger kidney stones to form. Reducing salt intake lowers blood pressure which is important because high blood pressure weakens blood vessels in the kidneys which reduces blood flow and can lead to kidney failure.

 

2.     Animal Protein

High amounts of animal protein increase uric acid levels which leads to kidney stones. 8 ounces a day is recommended for consumption of animal protein. Plant-based proteins like tofu or lentils are good alternatives to animal proteins.

 

3.     Oxalate

High levels of oxalate in the urine lead to kidney stones. Oxalate is commonly found in many healthy foods like spinach, beets, and nuts, which have many health benefits. Consuming the recommended servings of these foods allows you to receive the nutrients while limiting the risk of kidney stones from forming.

4.     Vitamin C

a.     60mg/day is the recommendation for vitamin C intake. Excess amounts, 1,000mg/day or more, of vitamin C, may produce more oxalate in the body, increasing the risk of kidney stones forming.


Medical Conditions and Kidney Stones

Certain medical conditions can increase the risk of developing kidney stones, such as:

 

1.     Hyperparathyroidism

This condition can lead to high calcium levels in the urine and blood, increasing the risk of kidney stones.

2.     Obesity

With obesity comes changes in the urine composition which increases the risk of kidney stones, it’s important to maintain a healthy weight with diet and exercise.

3.     Cystinuria

A genetic disorder causes the kidneys to produce high cystine levels, an amino acid that can lead to cystine stones. This condition requires lifelong monitoring through diet and in some cases, medication.

4.     Gout

There are high levels of uric acid present in the blood that can crystallize and form kidney stones. This condition requires managing uric acid levels through diet and medication to decrease the risk of stones forming.

 

Staying hydrated and making mindful diet choices can significantly reduce the risk of kidney stone formation. If you have a history of kidney stones or other health concerns, it is always better to consult with a healthcare professional.

 

 Resources:

Kidney stones: Diet plan and prevention. National Kidney Foundation. (2024, April 9). https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/diet#:~:text=To%20prevent%20uric%20acid%20stones,and%20low%2Dfat%20dairy%20products.

7 diet tips to prevent kidney stones: Diet and nutrition: Men’s health: Prevention: Women’s health: UT southwestern medical center. Diet and Nutrition | Men’s Health | Prevention | Women’s Health | UT Southwestern Medical Center. (n.d.). https://utswmed.org/medblog/kidney-stone-prevention/

 

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