The formation of kidney stones in the body is a constant threat for everyone. However, they can be easily averted by simply choosing the right foods for kidney stones to include in your diet. It is not only family genetics that determine whether you’ll develop the condition or not, but lifestyle choices as well. Those who have passed kidney stones are familiar with the often painful symptoms, but knowing what causes them and which diet is best preventing their development is the first step to living kidney stone-free.
What causes kidney stones?
There are four main types of kidney stones, each with a unique cause. They are calcium stones, uric acid stones, cystine and struvite kidney stones.
Most kidney stones are composed of calcium and other substances that are normally great for your health. It is the concentration of these materials in your body that makes all the difference. Calcium is essential for strong teeth and bones, but when the concentration is too high in your urine, it combines with other substances like oxalate and phosphorus to form kidney stones.
Uric acid kidney stones can result from poor hydration. If you don’t drink enough water, the pH level of your kidneys becomes acidic which leads to the formation of stones and problems in urination.
Cystine stones are hereditary and form in urine that contains the chemical cystine, while struvite stones are often due to urinary tract infections. Studies show that obesity, Chrohn’s disease, taking calcium supplements, high blood pressure, chronic diarrhea and gastric bypass surgery also increase your chances of having kidney stones. This is because they hinder the normal absorption of calcium.
What are the symptoms of kidney stones?
Stones can cause painful urination, pain the groin, a constant urge to urinate, less urine, vomiting, nausea, fever and blood or pus in urine.
What foods are good for kidney stones?
The best foods for kidney stones are those that give your body the minerals it needs in adequate amounts, help in the absorption of those minerals and prevent conditions that lead to kidney stones.
First on the list of foods for kidney stones is water. Drinking 8-10 glasses a day is crucial because your kidney needs it to process calcium and other substances.
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Since most kidney stones are calcium oxalate, it’s important to watch how much calcium you eat. This part of the diet is tricky because you need a balance between calcium and oxalate in moderate amounts. Get your calcium fix from beans, milk, cheese, fish, seeds and eggs while cutting back on animal protein. Balance it out with low-oxalate foods like kale, cheese, buttermilk, avocadoes, bananas, grapes, grapefruit, bacon, poultry, shellfish, cabbage, cucumber, mushrooms and peas.
What are the worst foods for kidney stones?
The worst foods for kidney stones are those that contain too much salt or too much sugar. Excessive sodium and sugar increase the concentration of calcium in your urine, which leads to kidney stones. Alcohol, carbonated drinks and energy drinks should also be consumed moderately because they are diuretic and cause dehydration.