Diet for Kidney Stones: What to Eat and What to Avoid

Updated on 3 September 2019

Diet for Kidney Stones: What to Eat and What to Avoid

Kidney stones are hardened deposits of minerals and/or salts that form inside the kidneys. They can be classified into - calcium oxalate stones, calcium phosphate stones, uric acid stones, struvite stones, and cystine stones. Most kidney stones pass through the urinary tract and are eliminated along with the urine but the passage itself is a very painful process. Fortunately, kidney stones can be prevented by consuming a diet that inhibits the formation of stones. In fact, dietary changes are an important part of kidney stone treatment. Here are the foods and the diet for kidney stones you must eat and some you must avoid if you suffer from recurrent kidney stones.

The Do's and Don'ts of Diet for Kidney Stone:

There are some foods to avoid to prevent kidney stones. Here are some do's and don'ts in terms of diet:

  • One of the most important dietary changes that you must make if you suffer from kidney stones is up the fluid intake. Unless you suffer from kidney failure, it is important to consume about 8-10 glasses of water which equals about 2 litres. Dehydration and consuming low quantities of water often promote the formation of kidney stones.
  • Consuming citrus fruits and their juices are believed to prevent the formation of kidney stones. Lemons, oranges, grapefruits, and fresh lime are all appropriate citrus fruits to consume. • Consuming foods rich in calcium is found to keep the oxalate levels low and prevent the formation of oxalate stones. This includes consuming milk and dairy products. It is best to consult a doctor before opting for artificial calcium supplements, though.
  • Keeping your consumption of oxalate-rich foods such nuts, spinach, peanuts, swiss chard, tea, sweet potatoes, wheat bran etc. low helps in preventing the formation of oxalate stones as well. • High sodium intake increases your risk of developing kidney stones. So, as a preventive measure, it is best to keep the intake of sodium low. This means not adding extra salt to foods like salads, and keeping your intake of canned and packaged foods low.
  • One of the dietary restrictions that most healthcare professionals and nutritionists recommend (to prevent kidney stones) is limiting the consumption of animal protein.
  • Some of the most common sources of animal protein consumed widely include red meat, chicken, poultry, pork, fish, and eggs. Consumption of these increases the uric acid content in the body and also reduces the citrate levels. Uric acid is one of the mineral deposits that form kidney stones. Citrate inhibits the production of stones and when citrate levels are low the risk of developing stones increases.
  • Many nutritionists recommend that those who suffer from recurrent kidney stones should switch to a plant-based food for kidney stone removal. This diet includes lots of tofu, hummus, quinoa, chia seeds, Greek yoghurt, etc.
  • Cola drinks damage health in many different ways. Avoiding cola drinks is important in the prevention of kidney stones. Some of the best kidney doctors in India recommend following The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet which is proven to inhibit the formation of kidney stones along with lowering hypertension and reducing the risks of developing heart diseases, cancer, and stroke. The DASH diet emphasises on portion control while maintaining the right levels of sodium, lean meat, vegetables, and fibre intake.

The Importance of Hydration

Adequate hydration is crucial in preventing kidney stones. Drinking plenty of fluids helps dilute urine and prevents the concentration of minerals that can lead to stone formation. Water is the best choice, but herbal teas, fresh fruit juices (without added sugar), and diluted lemonade can also contribute to hydration. Aim to drink at least 8 to 10 cups of fluid per day, or more if you live in a hot climate or engage in strenuous physical activity.

Foods to Include in a Kidney Stone-Friendly Diet

  • Citrus Fruits: Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits are rich in citrate, which can help prevent stone formation by inhibiting the growth of crystals in the kidneys.
  • Calcium-Rich Foods: Contrary to popular belief, adequate intake of dietary calcium can reduce the risk of kidney stones. Choose calcium-rich foods such as low-fat dairy products, leafy greens, and fortified plant-based milk.
  • Magnesium-Rich Foods: Magnesium can help prevent certain types of kidney stones. Include magnesium-rich foods like nuts, seeds, whole grains, and leafy vegetables in your diet.
  • Potassium-rich foods: Potassium helps balance the body's acidity and prevents the excretion of calcium in the urine. Good sources of potassium include bananas, oranges, potatoes, and spinach.
  • High-Fiber Foods: A diet high in fiber can promote kidney health by reducing calcium and oxalate absorption in the gut. Incorporate fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes into your meals.
  • Olive Oil: Olive oil, when used in moderation, can be beneficial for kidney stone prevention due to its monounsaturated fats. 

Foods to avoid in kidney stones

Here are some kidney stones foods to avoid:

  • Oxalate-rich foods: Limit spinach, rhubarb, beets, potatoes, nuts, and chocolate.
  • Sodium: Reduce processed foods, canned soups, and fast food to lower calcium excretion.
  • Animal protein: Moderate intake of red meat, poultry, eggs, and fish to prevent uric acid stones.
  • Sugar and fructose: Cut down on sugary drinks, candies, and high-fructose corn syrup.
  • Caffeine and alcohol: Drink in moderation, as excess can increase dehydration and risk.
  • Calcium supplements: Avoid excessive intake; get calcium from dietary sources instead.
  • Salt: Minimize high-sodium foods like chips, processed meats, and pickles.
  • Vitamin C supplements: Excessive amounts may lead to oxalate formation.
  • Oxalate-rich beverages: Limit tea, coffee, and certain fruit juices.
  • Phosphate-containing foods: Reduce cola consumption and processed foods with additives.


A balanced diet is essential in preventing and managing kidney stones. Focusing on proper hydration, consuming calcium-rich foods, and including kidney stone-preventing substances like citrate and magnesium can greatly reduce the risk of stone formation. As with any dietary changes, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional to create a personalized dietary plan that best suits your needs and helps you achieve your health goals. By adopting a kidney-friendly diet, individuals can take significant steps toward reducing the incidence and recurrence of painful kidney stones.





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