What to Eat If You Have Kidney Stones


Story at-a-glance

  • Learn about foods that can cause kidney stones, and what foods are safe to eat if you have these stones in your body
  • Remember that your diet should be rich in whole foods, and not processed junk foods
  • Increase your fluid intake by drinking pure water. Vegetable juice is an excellent option too

What you eat plays an important role in dissolving kidney stones and preventing future occurrences. Learn about foods that can cause kidney stones, and what foods are safe to eat if you have these stones in your body.

Foods to Avoid for People With Kidney Stones

People with kidney stones, particularly calcium stones, should avoid eating oxalate-rich foods. Oxalate is a naturally occurring substance that could cause crystals to develop in urine, should there be a high concentration of this substance and not enough liquid to dilute it. High-oxalate foods include:1,2,3,4

Beets (roots and leaves)

Leeks

Okra

Parsley

Pepper

Rhubarb

Spinach

Sweet potatoes

Swiss chard

Summer squash

Tomato soup

Concord grapes

Currants

Dried figs

Star fruit

Strawberries

Tofu

Dark chocolate

Nuts like almonds, pecans and hazelnuts

Buckwheat

Wheat bran

Black tea

Meanwhile, if your kidney stones are made of uric acid, refrain from eating:5

Asparagus

Cauliflower

Legumes like dried beans and peas

Mushrooms

Spinach

Anchovies

Herring

Sardines

Organ meat like liver, kidney and sweetbreads

Baking or brewer’s yeast

Consommé

Gravy

Oils

Salad dressing

Fried foods

Ice cream

Alcohol


You should also limit your protein consumption, as your body’s uric acid levels increase if you eat too much animal protein. A high-protein diet also tends to lower your body’s levels of citrate, a chemical in urine that assists in preventing stone formation.

Added sugars, particularly fructose, should be avoided as well. High-sugar diets upset mineral relationships in the body, and disrupt calcium and magnesium absorption. Sugar was also shown to increase kidney size and lead to pathological changes like kidney stone formation.

Maximize These Minerals to Alleviate Kidney Stones

People with kidney stones can benefit from a nutrient-rich diet. As such, aim to increase your body’s levels of:

Magnesium: This helps prevent calcium from combining with kidney stone-causing oxalate. Excellent magnesium sources include Brussels sprouts, turnip greens, collard greens, broccoli, kale, Bok choy, romaine lettuce, avocados, fatty fish, raw cacao nibs and squash.

However, although spinach, Swiss chard and almonds are abundant in magnesium, refrain from eating these in high amounts, given their link to kidney stone formation.6,7

Calcium: Eating calcium-rich foods instead of taking calcium supplements is a must, as calcium binds with oxalate once in the stomach and intestines prior to moving to the kidneys. Calcium-rich foods allow oxalate to leave the body and prevent kidney stone formation.8

Notable calcium-rich foods include dairy products like grass-fed milk, yogurt and cheeses. These are the ideal daily amounts of calcium, depending on your gender and age:9

All adults (19 to 50 years old): 1,000 milligrams

Females (51 to 70 years old): 1,200 milligrams

Males (51 to 70 years old): 1,000 milligrams

All adults above 70 years old: 1,200 milligrams

If you need to take a calcium supplement, take the lowest dose needed and consume it alongside meals. Furthermore, take a vitamin D3 and K2 supplement alongside calcium to ensure balanced levels of these elements in the body.

Research has shown that without important cofactors, and failing to supply these two other vitamins, can prompt excess calcium build up in the coronary arteries, trigger excess clotting and cause heart attacks.

These Are a Must If You Have Kidney Stones

Some of these kidney-friendly foods won’t just alleviate kidney stones, but enhance kidney health, too:10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17

Apple cider vinegar

Cherries, organic apples and red or purple grapes (but consume in moderation as these contain fructose that can damage health)

Garlic

Kale

Lemon and lime juice

Onions

Pumpkin seeds

Watermelon

Remember that your diet should be rich in whole foods, and not processed junk foods. Eat large amounts of fresh and organically grown vegetables, moderate portions of high-quality protein and substantial amounts of healthy fats like avocados, coconuts and coconut oil and organic pastured egg yolks.

Increase your fluid intake by drinking pure water. Vegetable juice is an excellent option too, provided that you use organic produce and juice them at home.

Chronic low-grade dehydration is a common cause of kidney stones, and by drinking more water, you reduce your risk for dehydration and kidney stones. Consume enough water that your urine has a light pale yellow color, and you end up making more bathroom trips (at least seven to eight times a day).

MORE ABOUT KIDNEY STONES

Kidney Stones: Introduction

What Are Kidney Stones?

Kidney Stones Types

Kidney Stones Causes

Kidney Stones Symptoms

Kidney Stones Prevention

Kidney Stones Duration

Kidney Stones Treatment

Kidney Stones Surgery

Kidney Stones Diet

Kidney Stones FAQ

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Kidney Stones FAQ

[+]Sources and References [-]Sources and References

  • 1 “Calcium Oxalate Stones,” National Kidney Foundation, May 16, 2016
  • 2 Mayo Clinic Staff, “Kidney Stones Causes,” Mayo Clinic, February 26, 2015
  • 3, 7, 9 “Healthy Eating Guidelines For Prevention of Recurrent Kidney Stones,” HealthLinkBC, April 2015
  • 4, 5 Sobol, Zieve, Ogilvie, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial Team, “Kidney Stones — Self-Care,” MedlinePlus, October 4, 2016
  • 6 Pendick, “5 Steps for Preventing Kidney Stones,” Harvard Health Publications — Harvard Medical School, August 23, 2016
  • 8 “Calcium Oxalate Stones,” National Kidney Foundation, May 16, 2016
  • 10 Hills, “Kidney Cleanse: the Best Foods and Herbs for Kidney Health,” Healthy and Natural World
  • 11 “15 Super Foods for Kidney Health,” YourKidneys
  • 12 McClees, “Cleaning Up Your Kidneys: Helpful Foods and Drinks to Consider,” December 10, 2016, Health Monster
  • 13 “7 Kidney-Friendly Superfoods,” National Kidney Foundation
  • 14 Harrington, “Kidney Cleanse: 22 Foods For Kidney Health,” Natural Society, June 23, 2015
  • 15 Ehrlich, “Kidney Stones,” University of Maryland Medical Center, May 25, 2014
  • 16 “Kidney Stones Diet,” Diet Health Club
  • 17 “12 DIY Home Remedies for Kidney Stones,” Home Remedies for Life, December 20, 2015