Nausea, painful urination and pain in lower back or belly are common symptoms of kidney stones. If the stones are minute, your doctor will give you medicines to flush it out. In case of kidney stones that are bigger than 5mm, other forms of treatment are suggested.
Stone Formation in Kidneys
There are basically four types of kidney stones namely, uric acid stones, calcium stones, struvite stones and cystine stones.
Kidney stones form when there are changes in the balance of substances in the urine like water, minerals and salts. What you eat or drink makes a crucial difference to stone formation in the kidney. Make a thoughtful choice about the foods you consume. It is best to consult your doctor for a diet chart under such a condition.
Before we embark on the list of foods you should eat with kidney stones, know the food items that you should avoid:
- Tea: While it is unimaginable to start your day without a hot cup of tea, it is advisable to skip it altogether if you have kidney stones. Tea increases the complications arising from kidney stones. It can also cause the size of the kidney stone to increase.
- Tomatoes: Tomato is an indispensable part of Indian cooking. It is full of oxalate. Oxalate content tends to form calcium oxalate crystals. This further aggravates the painful condition of kidney stones. So, no matter how much you relish the taste of tomato in your dishes, it is best to avoid using it. If you must consume tomato, make sure you de-seed it before eating it raw or cooked.
- Spinach: Spinach is another veggie that is full of oxalate content. If you eat it regularly, it is likely to increase the size of kidney stones by deposition of calcium oxalate. This will worsen your condition further. Give it a miss in your list of grocery shopping to avoid health complications.
- Animal protein: If you are fond of prawns, fish and other varieties of sea food, then it is a good decision to avoid eating them. Kidney stones are formed due to imbalance of water and other minerals in the urine. Sea food is high in purine content. Purines elevate the amount of uric acid produced in your body. This causes an imbalance and leads to forming of uric acid stones. Also avoid eating other sources of animal protein like eggs, meat, poultry etc. if you have kidney stones.
- Salt intake: Salt intake should be minimized if you have kidney stones. This is because salt enhances the amount of sodium in your body. Sodium increases the amount of calcium in the body. Calcium binds oxalate from food items and causes deposition of calcium oxalate crystals.This worsens the condition of kidney stones.Monosodium glutamate or MSG, baking soda, baking powder, fast food or packaged items are full of hidden high salt content. Avoid their consumption.
- Chocolate: If you are fond of chocolate, remember that chocolate is full of oxalate content that leads to formation of kidney stones. So, indulge in them once in a while to avoid aggravating the stone condition.
- Other oxalate rich foods to avoid: Peanut, guava, sweet potato, legumes, nuts, wheat bran, rhubarb etc, have loads of oxalate content in them.
- Vitamin C: Foods rich in Vitamin C enhance calcium absorption in the body. This increases stone formation tendencies in the kidney. So, avoid citrus fruits, mango, melon, leafy greens, papaya, berries and potato.
There are certain food items that help prevent formation of kidney stones. They are as follows:
- Use other condiments and seasonings to enhance the food flavor instead of salt.
- Drink lemon water: Lemon water has lots of citric acid content. Citric acid is different from Vitamin C or ascorbic acid. It binds calcium in the urine that leaves less calcium available for binding with oxalate content in the body and thus prevents stone formation.Citric acid prevents calcium oxalate crystals from forming stones. It has an alkalizing effect and reduces the amount of uric acid in the body. This helps prevents forming of uric acid stones in your kidneys.
- Magnesium intake: Magnesium helps prevent kidney stone formation. Make sure you take 400 mg of magnesium supplements daily. Eating nuts and seeds soaked overnight in water is another source of magnesium intake.
- Eat more carbs: Increase the intake of carbohydrates in your diet. Avoid sugary food items as they elevate the uric acid in the body and lead to uric acid stone formation. 100-150 grams for women and 180-200 grams of carbs for men is adequate daily dosage, if they are moderately active.
- Water intake: Make sure your water intake if around 2.5 to 3 litres everyday. If you are sweating due to hot weather, working out or dehydrated due to diarrhea, make sure to increase your fluid intake.
Make sure you maintain a healthy diet to prevent kidney stone formation. Take medical advice to find the diet best suited to your condition. Follow the diet diligently along with your medication. A balanced approach will go a long way in ensuring a healthy life!