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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 you must eat and some you must avoid if you suffer from recurrent kidney stones –
• 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 is believed to prevent the formation of kidney stones. Lemons, oranges, grapefruits, 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, 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 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 diet and include lots of tofu, hummus, quinoachia seeds, and Greek yogurt in their diet.
• Cola drinks damages the 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.