The kidneys are important organs of the human body. It looks similar like bean shape with a size of a fist. They are positioned below the rib cage, each one on both sides of the spine.
Healthy kidneys are responsible for filtering a half a cup of blood every minute. It also eliminates waste and access water by urine. The urine flows from the kidney to the bladder and then pass out from thin muscle tube called ureters, on both sides of the bladder.
When a kidney stone occurs, it will hurt your complete urinary tract including kidney, ureters, bladder, and ureters.
Kidney stones are the result of accumulated mineral in the inner part of kidneys. Generally, they occur when you have excess calcium oxalate accompanies with many other compounds.
Usually, the small stones pass by urine without noticing, but sometimes they cause extreme pain and make you feel discomfort. In some cases, kidney stones grow larger in size of a golf ball and form a sharp crystalline structure. The large kidney stone often requires surgery to remove it.
However, maintaining a healthy diet and avoiding certain foods and drink can prevent the kidney stone.
Fact about kidney stone diet
Table of Contents
Adding certain food in your diet helps to prevent the kidney stones.
Not every diet is suitable for everyone, as everyone has different health factors and kidney stones.
A kidney stone is grouped by the type of material which causes them to build-up.
If you have a family history of getting kidney stone, then you can prevent the kidney stone by avoiding certain food and drink intake.
Limit your Oxalate intake
Oxalate foods are natural elements available in every food. They get attached to calcium while digestion in your stomach and intestines and pass through stool from the body. The oxalate which is unable to get attach with calcium travel as a waste from the blood to kidneys where it passes out by urine.
People may get different types of kidney stones, but 8 out of 10 stones are made of calcium oxalate stones. If you have little water in urine and more oxalate, then the calcium oxalate begins to fragment. If the stone form crystals shape and increase its number, then they stick together and become larger crystal called kidney stone.
Kidney stones are worrisome for people who are likely to get the kidney stone or disease. The frequent occurrence of kidney stone formation causes damage such as renal tissue problem by reducing renal function.
Spinach contains high oxalate, a synthesis which is also available in high amounts in chocolate, beets, nuts, tea, soy, wheat bran, and strawberries. Since the oxalate component of calcium present in spinach causes kidney stone. You can consume a limited amount of spinach as it provides the best health benefits.
Reducing the excess amount of urinary oxalate helps to lower the risk of repeated kidney stones. However, the impact of urine oxalate levels is complicated. Everyone may not get the urinary oxalate as a primary problem especially in the people who have calcium oxalate stones.
Eating a diet containing too much oxalate foods causes hyperoxaluria or raised levels of oxalate in the urine, and it will increase the risk of getting calcium oxalate stones.
According to the report of September 2008 in the Clinical-Journal-of-the-American-Society-of-Nephrology, raised urine oxalate levels were detected in obese people and people with diabetes. Younger adults were had more oxalate than older adults. Also, raised calcium levels in the diet had linked with reduced levels of urine oxalate and increased vitamin C levels.
However, spinach still a healthy vegetable and can be eaten in a moderate way to get its nutritional benefits.
Nutrition: One cup (about 30 grams) of raw spinach provide
- 9 calories
- 1-grams fat
- 9-gram protein
- 7-gram dietary fiber
- 1 grams carbohydrates
- 145 micrograms vitamin K
- 2,813 Vitamin A (international units)
- 2 micrograms folate
- 4 milligrams vitamin C
- 3-milligram manganese
- 7 milligrams magnesium
- 8-milligram iron
The leafy green vegetable is beneficial for health. It provides beta carotene and promotes the immune system. Adding spinach also help your vision health. It is the best source of magnesium.
Unless you have had a kidney stone, you may not be in any danger. If you are susceptible to oxalate-containing kidney stones, then beets, beet greens, and beet-root powder could pose a problem. You also need to manage your blood pressure.
Beet consumption cause to make your blood vessels more flexible, hence it lowers your blood pressure, but some other food also acts similar to this way.
While eating beets, you can have more fluid intake to prevent kidney stones. Expert suggests drinking at least 2-3 liters of water every day.
Generally, beet is healthy food, and it provides best benefits including preventing constipation problem, promotes eye health, reduces heart disease risk, fights with cancer, promotes endurance, reduces dementia risk.
Nutrition: Amount Per 100 grams
- Calories 43 % Daily Value*
- Total Fat 0.2 g
- Saturated fat 0 g
- Dietary fiber 2.8 g
- Cholesterol 0 mg
- Potassium 325 mg
- Total Carbohydrate 10 g
- Sodium 78 mg
- Sugar 7 g
- Protein 1.6 g
- Vitamin A 0%
- Vitamin C 8%
- Calcium 1%
- Iron 0.8 mg
- Vitamin D 0%
- Vitamin B-6 5%
- Cobalamin 0%
- Magnesium 5%
- Polyunsaturated fat 0.1 g
- Monounsaturated fat 0 g
Despite many health benefits of beets, excess consumption causes the risk of kidney stone. Be cautious while eating beets as a starter if you are getting kidney stone frequently. Beets also contain high oxalates, which often cause small crystals and contribute to the growth of kidney stones.
If you already had a kidney stone, then you may not be in the danger of getting kidney stone. If you are sensitive to oxalate comprising kidney stones, then consume beets in a limited quantity. You may get the problem from beet green as well as beetroot powder.
Consuming animal protein have a link with raised urine uric acid and serum in a healthy individual. The high purine present in the fish compared to chicken or beef is reflected in more 24-hour urinary uric acid. However, the reflected saturation index will cause kidney stone formation from the higher consumption of beef as compared to chicken or fish. People who get kidney stone are suggested to reduce the consumption of animal protein.
However, you can continue eating animal protein in a limited quantity because it also provides health benefits to organ meats, whey, collagen protein, dairy product, fish, eggs, and cheese.
Which nutrition provides animal proteins?
Similar plant-based protein, animal proteins are full of several nutrients. It also provides essential amino acids.
Animal protein produces specific heme-iron which is only available in animal products. Non-heme iron is present in the plant-based proteins. Heme iron gets digested in a better way and utilized by your body.
Omega-3: It is a crucial fatty acid, and animal protein contributes omega-3 fatty acids (both EPA and DHA) which are necessary for brain health, heart health, and fetal development. This fatty acid is found in fish like salmon.
Animal protein provides rich vitamin B12, which found in sources of an animal such as meat, fish, dairy products, and poultry. Vitamin B12 plays an important role in nerve health. Animal protein prevents vitamin B 12 deficiency in the people with certain health conditions in which the body finds difficulty absorbing vitamins.
Zinc: It is another good nutrition available in animal protein. It helps your immune system and heal wounds. It also manages thyroid health and metabolism. Zinc available in protein foods like fish, beef, egg yolks. Zinc consumption from animal protein can be easier for your body to absorb and utilize it.
Wheat Bran – Oxalate – (457.4 mg/100 gram)
Wheat bran is one of those foods which causes kidney stone build-up. The highest oxalate presence was shown for the wheat brain is 457.4 mg/100g. The more oxalate content in whole grain present than in refined grain cereals recommended that oxalic acid which is primarily found in the outer part of cereal grains. The cereals and cereal products cause build-up oxalate quantity every day on a considerable extent.
If you add wheat and whole grain wheat, then a vegetarian diet provides high oxalate. Consuming wheat brain recommended quantity may help to prevent excess oxalate kidney stones.
Wheat grain is created in three parts such as bran, germ, and endosperm. The wheat bran is a hard-outer part of the wheat grain which jam-packed by several nutrient and fiber.
While processing, the bran is stripped away from the wheat grain and get converted into a by-product. Wheat bran taste like sweet and also like nutty flavor. It is important to add proper texture and full taste to muffins, bread, and other baked goods.
Wheat bran provides full nutrients. A 29-gram (half-cup) serving provides:
- Calories: 63
- Protein: 4.5 grams
- Fat: 1.3 grams
- Saturated fat: 0.2 grams
- Riboflavin: 0.15 mg
- Carbohydrates: 18.5 grams
- Dietary fiber: 12.5 grams
- Thiamine: 0.15 mg
- Vitamin B6: 0.4 mg
- Niacin: 4 mg
- Iron: 3.05 mg
- Potassium: 343
- Phosphorus: 294 mg
- Magnesium: 177 mg
Wheat bran also provides a fair amount of copper and zinc. Additionally, it provides daily recommended half selenium and manganese.
Wheat brans are low in total fat as it provides saturated fats and low cholesterol and a rich source of plant-based protein of five grams per half cup.
Recently dietary sodium chloride consumption is worldwide known as one of the primary threats for cardiovascular health. However, there is also extensive evidence that it may affect idiopathic calcium nephrolithiasis encounter and recurrence of kidney stone.
More salt intake has been linked with hypocitraturia and hypercalciuria, which are the main risk factors for calcium build-up and stone formation. Dietary salt limitation can be an effective way of preventing nephrolithiasis.
According to the review study determined the complicated relationship between nephrolithiasis and salt, noted the difference between salt intake and dietary sodium. It was assessed by highlighting the main discovery of epidemiologic and intervention and laboratory studies. The study found that dietary salt can be a secondary cause for nephrolithiasis.
Salt is important for health, and you should add it to every diet. Consuming a limited amount of salt can be good for health, and excessive salt may affect health including forming a kidney stone, hypertension, weight gain, and several heart problems.
The salt is an important element which your body can not produce on its own. It plays a vital role in the several functions of the body.
Adding salt in your daily diet helps the body to retain the water and keeps your blood pressure normal in case of low blood sodium levels (hyponatremia). When you have reduced the level of sodium, then the blood reduces its signals to an enzyme which further gives signals to the kidney to retain the water and sodium. It helps to raise blood sodium levels by regulating blood pressure.
Salt also helps to stimulate the nerves for proper muscle functions. Here sodium passes the message to the brain from muscles. Consuming salt is important to induce the signals between nerves and muscles. Regular movement or contraction of different muscles provide support to move your heart beat. The reduced level of sodium in the body disrupts the nerves for muscle signal which result in muscle weakness and spasm. It will cause craps in heartbeats.
Try to prevent high processed foods which contain more salt and affect kidney health.
Avoid having baked potatoes and French fries as they contain high oxalate substances. One ounce of fried potato chips contains 21mg of oxalate. If you think, you can have chips with sour cream, then you are wrong. Because one tablespoon of sour cream provides 14 mg calcium, it may help but cause to increase your calorie intake.
However, avoiding potato chips while diagnosed with kidney stones can be a good precaution.
Chocolate is a favorite thing for everyone. If you consume chocolate on a daily basis while having kidney stone forming history, then it will become worse for kidney health. You can mix chocolate with a dairy product to lower the oxalate absorption.
You can satisfy your sugar craving with a limited portion. Remember, consuming more sugar increase the calcium loss in urine which develops the risk of stone risk.
Nuts and seeds are harmful to people with kidney stones because they contain a high amount of oxalate.
No one eats nuts like full bowl still a cup of flax seeds, or sunflower contains 17 mg oxalate.
However, ask your doctor about how much nuts you have per day because it also provides health benefits. You can also try sprinkling one or two grated nuts to limit the intake.
It is one of those vegetables which cause to build-up kidney stones.
Rhubarb is a plant, and it belongs to Polygonaceae family of genus Rheum. It is an herbaceous perennial that grows from thick and short rhizomes. Traditionally, the different plants were known as rhubarb in English and utilized for different purposes. The roots of rhubarb are used in medicine. Another part is edible, fleshy stalks of hybrids rhubarb which are known for cooking.
The triangular, large leave are highly comprised of oxalic acid, and you cannot eat it.
Rhubarb is a unique vegetable with low calorie. Every 100 gram of petioles contains 21 calories. In spite of that, it provides important phytonutrients such as polyphenolic antioxidants, dietary fiber, minerals, and vitamins. It also provides unsaturated fats and cholesterol.
The stalks of rhubarb provide different B-Complex vitamins such as niacin, folates, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin B-6 and pantothenic acid.
Oxalic acid (g/100 g)
Rhubarb – 0,3-1.5
leaf – 0.59 – 0.72
stalk – 0.39 – 0.54
Rhubarb comprises of high oxalic acid which is a toxic substance. It can cause your stomach irritation and kidney problems. Having high oxalic level affect the calcium level of body metabolism and drain the calcium from your body. In some rare cases, it can cause death also. Overeating of oxalic acid can be harmful to iguanas, llamas, parrots and more.
Calcium deficiency and kidney stone
Even though excess calcium cause kidney stone, having calcium deficiency also block the elements in the digestive tract and form a stone.
You can take advice from your health expert to fulfill the required amount of calcium to prevent oxalate stones and build strong bones.
It can be the best idea to get the calcium from low oxalate food, plant-based foods such as cereals, fortified juices, bread, vegetables, and beans.
Who is more prone to get the calcium oxalate stones?
There are some risk factors which causes to build calcium oxalate stones. The risk factors include:
- Diet with high oxalate, protein, salt, sugar, obesity
Medical condition like
- Hyperparathyroidism: It is a disease in which parathyroid hormone increase in blood and cause to lose the calcium.
- Dent disease: It is a rare genetic disorder which affects kidney health.
Digestive system disease such as
- Ulcerative Colitis
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Crohn’s Disease
- Gastric bypass surgeries
It is important to understand if you are getting kidney stones. Getting kidney stone is more common if you are suffering from inflammatory bowel disease. This disease affects the ability to absorb fat in a proper way. When the fat binds with calcium, it leaves the oxalate behind. Later the oxalate gets absorb and taken to the kidney, where you can have more chance of forming kidney stones.
Similarly, during gastric bypass surgery, your body receives low calcium from your digestive system. This condition causes to increase the oxalate level which found in your urinary tract.
The accumulated oxalate causes to form crystals and result in kidney stones.
Drinks that cause to form kidney stones
Water is an important thing for the body to manage entire functions in the body. Less water intake cause to form a kidney stone. When you drink less water, it will become hard for kidneys to send the accumulated substance and it will turn in to stones.
Chronic dehydration is more likely to develop the risk of kidney stones. The food we eat has lots of salts and minerals. The body retains the important and required amount of nutrition and excretes the excess to kidneys. Then the remaining extra uric acid, oxalate and calcium are sent to kidneys.
When you have a limited amount of water intake, then these excess minerals find difficulty to come out and become a stone. Drinking enough water helps kidneys to flush out the extra substances and prevent stone formation.
Drinking a fair amount of diet soda per day may not harm you, but the excess does. The chemicals and artificial sweeteners present in diet soda are generally safe.
There is certain diet soda which fortified with mineral and vitamin, but those are not actually a healthy drink. Switching your regular soda with diet soda helps to reduce calorie consumption and prevent obesity.
Soda is basically an energy boosting drink. Health wise it is very unhealthy because it doesn’t contain any nutrition, but occasionally you can have it.
Regular soda provides great taste and lots of sugar which contribute to high calories. Whereas, diet soda contains artificial sugar.
Everyone loves to have soda drinks, but it contributes to kidney stone for some people. While some people are genetically prone to get the kidney stone, some people experience kidney stone from the foods and drinks they consume. Take advice from your doctor and completely avoid soda drinks.
According to the University of California-at-San Francisco discovered that not all soda cause kidney stones. You can have drinks with citrus in your diet.
Another study presents in 2009 at the American Urological Association discovered that citrate available in citrus sodas like 7-Up and Diet-Sunkist orange helps to prevent kidney stone formation.
When you have citrate in your urinary tract, it will alkalize and prevent kidney stone formation. That’s why you need to avoid soda drinks as they are high in calories and sugar content.
Cola and Kidney Stones
Colas is a darkest soft drink. It contains phosphoric acids which have a link to trigger the kidney disease and kidney stones. The dinks containing phosphoric acid causes to create an acidic environment in the tract of the kidney and develop a kidney stone. When you have more acidic urine, it will become easy for forming kidney stones.
However, the physician Dr. R. Lawrence Hatchett from Southern Illinois-Urology- suggest skipping dark soda due to its potential content of forming kidney stones.
The Coca-Cola Company, a producer of dark sodas like Coca-Cola, has published a response to reports that soft drinks induce kidney stones. According to the organization, soft drinks do not cause kidney stones. Kidney stone happens due to multiple reasons. The cola beverage comprises only 17 mg phosphorus in every 100 ml.
However, drinking excessive cola drink may increase the formation of kidney stone with accompanies health reason. Otherwise, you can enjoy the coco-cola occasionally.
If you have had kidney stones occurring history, you are at raised risk of encountering stones again. Therefore, practicing dietary cares against kidney stones may be required. While the Coca-Cola company guides to the relatively low phosphoric acid levels against other foods, the serving size is 100 mL, which is approximately 3.38 oz. Because a medium cola can hold about 12 oz., the quantity of phosphoric acid can instantly increase. If you frequently drink many cola servings every day, then you may be consuming too much phosphoric acid in your everyday diet.
Alternatively, repeat moderation when you like to enjoy cola soft drinks to decrease the possibility of kidney stones formation.
Should you avoid all foods containing oxalate or calcium?
No, do not avoid oxalate/calcium foods. Completely avoiding oxalate foods will not stop kidney stones. Skipping oxalate food will make your diet poor and create other health problems. You can add oxalate-rich food together in your meal so, it helps to bind the calcium in the stomach and intestine before entering in the kidney and make it less to form kidney stones.