Any patient who has passed kidney stones knows that once you have them you are prone to having additional stones form. Diet is an important consideration when trying to prevent formation of future stones. Although diet is only one component of an overall program to maintain kidney health, it often goes a long way toward kidney stone management. How you modify your diet is depends on what type of kidney stones your body forms, therefore it’s important to determine what kind of stones you produce and modify your diet accordingly.
Drink Lots of Fluids
No matter what type of stones you produce, drinking an ample amount of fluids to prompt urine production is essential. Low volume, highly concentrate urine plays a part in kidney stone formation. The best liquid to consume is water, although lemonade is often recommended as it’s a good source of dietary citrate. Increase your water intake on hot days or if you exercise a lot and sweat profusely. Individuals who have struvite stones may have to drink additional amounts of water.
Calcium Oxalate Stones
These are the most common type of kidney stones. Focus on eliminating oxalate from your diet as calcium is an essential nutrient, however, don’t overdo it as oxalate is also needed to a certain degree. High levels of oxalate are found in chocolate, nuts, rhubarb, spinach, beets, beans and black tea.
Uric Acid Stones
Patients who have uric acid stones, the second most common type, benefit from limiting the amount of shellfish and red meat as these have high amounts of purine. A diet rich in this animal protein produces uric acid, which can form crystals in the joints or kidneys. For this type of stone, consume a diet that focuses on fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products.
Reducing overall sodium intake is another modification that patients can make to reduce the risk of kidney stones. Consider working with a registered dietitian who can help you plan meals that will reduce your risk for kidney stone formation. Contact Urology Austin for additional information on management of kidney stones.