Diet and Kidney Stones
What Are Kidney Stones?
A kidney stone is a hard mass accumulated with in the kidney or urinary tract due to excretion of waste substances. Although, urine contains chemicals that prevent stones from forming, many people still face the issue of kidney stones.
Stones can grow to the size of a golf ball and can lead to many complications including blockage of the ureter, obstructing the path that urine uses to leave the body. They can cause intense pain and in some cases, it could be fatal.
What Causes Kidney Stones?
Calcium oxalate crystals are the most common type of kidney stones. These are formed when there is too much calcium or oxalate in the urine. Experts believe that a diet that is low in calcium would help prevent calcium-containing stones from forming. The study is based on the reasoning thing if there is less calcium available for absorption by the intestines, the lesser the chances of excretion of calcium in the urine.
What Can You Do?
Talk with your health care provider. Your prescriber might recommend some tests to determine the type of kidney stone you have. This is necessary to decide what changes you may need to make in your lifestyle to remove stone and to prevent future stones from forming.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Water is best. Fluids help dilute the urine and flush away substances that form kidney stones. Crystals are much less likely to form when the urine is dilute. You should try to drink 2 to 3 liters of water each day.
- If you have calcium oxalate kidney stones, limit your animal protein and sodium intake per your healthcare provider’s recommendation. Limit your intake of animal protein to 8 ounces or less and salt intake to 3 grams or less each day.
- Limit your intake of foods that are high in oxalate including nuts (walnuts, peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, etc.), soy, spinach, okra, beets, strawberries, cranberries, soy, wheat bran, brown rice, chocolate, coffee, tea, and cocoa.
- If your prescriber recommends a calcium supplement, try calcium citrate supplements. Citrate in the urine can help to prevent kidney stones from forming. Make sure to take calcium supplements with meals, so that calcium can get absorbed easily.
- Your doctor might recommend some medications. Make sure to take your medications as prescribed by your doctor.