Kidney stones are small, hard deposits that form in the kidneys when there is a decrease in urine or an increase in certain substances, such as minerals and salts. When urine decreases and certain minerals in the kidneys are abundant, the minerals stick together and form stones. Kidney stones are typically a painful condition. Fortunately, diet can be an effective tool in managing and preventing kidney stones. By including certain foods and by limiting certain foods in the diet, kidney stones may be prevented or delayed.
There are several types of common stones. Kidney stones are classified according to the type of material that causes them. No one set type of diet will prevent all kidney stones since different dietary factors can cause different types of kidney stones. This does not mean that people need to exclude these foods from their diet completely. Common kinds of kidney stones and their dietary factors include the following:
- Calcium oxalate stones – High oxalate foods, such as nuts, seeds, beets, spinach, and wheat bran can contribute to calcium oxalate stones.
- Calcium phosphate stone – A high protein diet can contribute to the formation of calcium phosphate stones.
- Struvite stones – Bacteria in the urinary tract produce struvite when they break down the waste product urea into ammonia.
- Uric acid stones – A high sodium intake and dehydration can be factors in uric acid stones.
- Cystine stones – Animal protein and High sodium intake are factors that can contribute to cystine stones.
Most of what is there in the urine is there because we eat them. It can be hard to change the way we eat. But changes to diet may bring great benefits to help with kidney stones.
- The Basics for healthy eating is to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, at least 5 servings of ½ cup each.
- Drink plenty of fluids, at least 3 litres of fluids each day. Environmental conditions such as heat and humidity may increase non-renal evaporative skin losses and by doing so they reduce urine volume and increase stone risk. The most challenging aspect of encouraging to increase fluid intakes is that one cannot wait for the normal thirst mechanism to urge to drink. One method of patient education that the best kidney hospital in Chennai gives is to remind people to drink fluid after each void.
- Aim to eat low-oxalate foods by learning which foods are better than others.
- It helps to eat foods rich in calcium while eating something that’s high in oxalate, like spinach. The calcium and oxalate bind together in the body to prevent stones from forming.
- Eat or drink lots of calcium. Aim for about 1,000 mg of calcium per day. Not all dairy is created equal. It is advisable to limit cheese with high salt, such as processed hard cheese and cheese spreads. Ice cream, frozen yogurt and custard aren’t the best choices either due to high sugar content.
- Eating less animal protein can help fight the most common types of kidney stones. It’s better to focus on protein from foods like peas, beans, eggs and dairy.
- The average person who forms stones eats about 5,000 mg of sodium per day. It helps to pay attention to the sodium you eat in each serving. It’s important to know most of the sodium in foods doesn’t come from the saltshaker. 75% comes from processed and prepared food. Breads, snacks, processed and canned foods are all made with a lot of sodium. Using herbs, spices and hot peppers can help add flavour without adding salt.
- Home-cooked meals are the best way to eat well and eat less sodium. Cut down on dining out and choose only foods that are wanted.
- Avoid eating or drinking anything that can cause dehydration, such as alcohol.
- Avoid cola drinks. Cola is high in phosphate, another chemical which can promote the formation of kidney stones.
Kidney stone diet
As there is no one strict diet for kidney stones, Urologists and kidney specialists at the best kidney hospital in Chennai recommend the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet for people with kidney stones. This diet has shown to reduce the risk of kidney stone formation along with lower blood pressure and decrease risk for heart disease, stroke, and cancer. The DASH diet encourages the consumption of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and low-fat dairy. It limits the intake of sodium, sugar, and red meat.
Dietary causes generate increased risks of various stones. Diet plan for kidney stones are based on stone types and individualized for each person. If the type of stone is known, there is possibility to target on diet to pass the stone and fight chances of recurrence.
Thumb rules of diet for certain kidney stone types are:-
- Calcium Oxalate Stones – Eat less of sodium, animal protein and high-oxalate foods, but more calcium.
- Calcium Phosphate Stones – Eat less of sodium and animal proteins, but more calcium.
- Uric Acid Stones – Eat less animal protein.
- Cystine Stones – Drinking enough liquid, mainly water is the most important lifestyle change required.
- Struvite Stones – Certain fluids may make the environment in the urinary tract more inhospitable to stone growth. Citrus fruits and their juice can help reduce or block the formation of struvite stones due to naturally occurring citrate.
A “food-diary” is helpful for staying on track. Using it to record how much to drink, and how much sodium, calcium, meat and sugar to eat each day would get the nutritional input right. While choosing labelled foods, the following steps may help prevent addition of unwanted food and ensure wanted nutrients in every day diet to overcome kidney stones.
- Read the clues on nutrition labels – they are there for a reason.
- Know how much sodium, calcium, or sugar is in each “serving” of a product.
- The hard part is eating only one serving. More often than not, it’s more than just one. Read food labels by picturing the serving size first, then look atthe nutrients before junk eating. It’s a smarter choice that way.
- Nutrition labels are there to help stay on track and be proactive about what to eat.
- Keep an eye on the calories and nutrient content of the product.
Conscious efforts may go a long way reducing intake of sodium and thus restrict kidney stones
- Consider writing down how much sodium to consume each day.
- When eating out, ask about the sodium content in the food.
- Cook from scratch. Avoid processed and fast foods, canned soups and vegetables and preserved foods.
- Look for foods labelled : sodium free, salt free, very low sodium, low sodium, reduced or less sodium, light in sodium, no salt added, unsalted and lightly salted.
- Check labels for ingredients and hidden sodium, such as sodium bicarbonate – the chemical name for baking soda, baking powder – contains sodium bicarbonate and other chemicals, disodium phosphate, monosodium glutamate or MSG, sodium alginate, sodium nitrate or nitrite.
Kidney stone specific diet plan, nutritional information and food chart can be acquired from dieticians and nutritionists. Kidney stones in high risk segments of people with Diabetes, kidney diseases or other metabolic disorders may require strict outlined diet guide along with medications. The best kidney hospital in Chennai offers complete care in the treatment and prevention of kidney stones.