Kidney Stones: What Foods Should You Eat & Avoid?
- Dr. Ambreen Tabassum
- 4 Min Read
Kidney stones are hardened crystals that build up in your kidneys. The exit of these stones from the body through the urinary tract is extremely painful. Small stones can pass on their own while medium or larger ones are excruciating and require medical intervention.
There are home remedies that can help with the passage of small stones. Here are some natural ways to prevent and tackle kidney stones at home:
Dehydration is one of the main risk factors for kidney stones, strive to take at least 3-4 liters of water per day. Carry your bottle whether you are out for a walk, work or even grocery shopping. You’re more likely to gulp down a few sips if its right in front of you. If you don’t like having plain water, then try to add in some pieces of lime, cucumber, green apple, or mint leaves. Avoid sugary drinks.
Avoid stone-forming foods
Foods like beets, chocolate, spinach, and tea are rich in oxalate whereas aerated drinks are rich in phosphate. Such foods contribute to kidney stones. Animal protein too has been linked to kidney stone formation.
Reduce salt intake
Diet rich in sodium can trigger kidney stones formation as it increases the amount of calcium in your urine. According to current guidelines, limit your total daily sodium consumption to 2,300 mg.
Optimum calcium intake
Less calcium in your diet can lead to the formation of kidney stones. Make sure that you’re consuming enough calcium foods such as milk, cheese, paneer, yogurt, spinach, almonds, beans, etc.
Pomegranate juice has been used time and again to improve overall kidney function. Packed with antioxidants, it helps in preventing the formation of stones and may help in flushing out the existing ones. It also lowers your urine’s acidity level i.e. it increases the Ph and hence reduces your risk for future kidney stones. You shouldn’t drink pomegranate juice if you’re taking:
- Blood pressure medications, such as chlorothiazide
- Medications for lowering cholesterol like rosuvastatin
Lemons contain citrate, a chemical that prevents calcium stones formation. Citrate can also help in breaking up small stones and allowing them to pass more easily. Apart from this, lemon juice can also improve digestive health and vitamin C deficiency.
Basil or tulsi contains acetic acid, another chemical that helps to break down kidney stones. Fresh or dry basil leaves can be grounded and infused with a smoothie, warm water or tea. However, avoid using basil juice for more than six weeks.
Apple cider vinegar
The acetic acid present in apple cider vinegar is also helpful for dissolving kidney stones. Add a tablespoon of the vinegar in 250ml water and drink only once a day. You can directly add it to salads, soups, and hot drinks.
The good old’ Rajma, can also help dissolve and flush out the stones. Cook the kidney beans until they’re soft then strain out the water from the beans and the water can be consumed throughout the day. Kidney beans are a powerhouse of magnesium, a mineral that helps reduce kidney stones formation. Try Incorporating other food items such as raspberry, parsley, green tea, horse gram as they have been proven to reduce stone formation.
Note: Do not eat any new food or start a diet without consulting your doctor. Always eat food in moderation.