WHAT ARE KIDNEY STONES AND HOW ARE THEY FORMED?
Kidney stones are hard deposits of minerals and salts that form on the inside of your kidneys. They can be painful when passing through the urinary tract, but it usually doesn’t cause any permanent damage.
Diet, excess body weight, some medical conditions, and certain supplements and medications are considered the many causes of kidney stones. Kidney stones are capable of affecting any part of your urinary tract, from your kidneys to your bladder. Oftentimes, these stones form when your urine becomes concentrated which allows minerals to crystallize and stick together.
Passing kidney stones can be quite painful, but they usually don’t cause any permanent damage if they’re recognized in a timely fashion. In most cases, you may need nothing more than to take pain medication and drink lots of water to pass a kidney stone. In other instances, surgery may be needed, like if stones become lodged in the urinary tract and cause a urinary infection, or cause complications.
More than half a million people, every year, go to emergency rooms for kidney stone problems. It is said that one in ten people will have a kidney stone at some time in their lives. Diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity may increase your risk for kidney stones.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF KIDNEY STONES?
There are several kinds of kidney stones. They include:
- Calcium stones. Most kidney stones are calcium stones and are usually in the form of calcium oxalate. Oxalate is a substance made daily by your liver or absorbed from your everyday diet. Certain fruits and vegetables, even nuts and chocolate are found to have high oxalate content.
- Struvite stones. Struvite stones are usually formed in response to a urinary tract infection. These stones are capable of growing quickly and become quite large.
- Uric acid stones. Uric acid stones can form in people who lose too much fluid because of chronic diarrhea or malabsorption or to those people who eat a high-protein diet or those with diabetes or metabolic syndrome. Certain genetic factors might also increase your risk of getting uric acid stones.
- Cystine stones. These stones are found in people with a hereditary disorder called cystinuria. This causes the kidneys to excrete too much of a specific amino acid.
WHAT IS THE DIET TO BE FOLLOWED IF YOU HAVE A KIDNEY STONE?
If you have kidney stones, you might need a special diet plan. First, your doctor will run diagnostic tests, to determine what type of kidney stone you have. It is after that, they prescribe a specific diet plan such as the DASH Diet. Studies have shown that the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet can be efficient in reducing the risk of kidney stones. This diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, and even low dairy foods.
WHAT CAN KIDNEY STONE PATIENTS EAT?
- Drink lots of fluid
Drinking enough liquid, especially water. This is the most important step you can do to prevent kidney stones. This includes any type of fluid including water, coffee, and lemonade which have been shown to have a beneficial effect. Many health care professionals advise that you drink six to eight, 8-ounce glasses a day. But try to avoid grapefruit juice and soda. This process will help produce less concentrated urine and ensure a good urine volume of at least 2.5L/day
- Eat enough calcium-rich food
Three servings of dairy every day can help reduce the risk of calcium stone formation. It is actually preferable to get your calcium from food, rather than from supplements.
Best sources of calcium are found in milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, and other types of cheeses. Vegetarian sources of calcium can be found in legumes, dark green vegetables, nuts, seeds, and even in blackstrap molasses.
Also, make sure to add foods rich in vitamin D to your everyday meal. Vitamin D is mostly found in fatty fishes, such as salmon, mushrooms, and cheese.
Add Citrus Fruits to your diet
Citrus fruits and their juice is found to help reduce or block the formation of stones. The best source of citrus includes lemon, orange, and grapefruit.
Can people with kidney stones eat rice and apples?
Yes, people with kidney stones can eat both rice and apples.
Can people with kidney stones drink milk?
Yes, people with kidney stones can have milk. Infact, it will actually decrease your risk of developing kidney stones. Dietary calcium binds to oxalates before it gets to the kidneys and hence prevents the formation of stones.
Which type of dal is good for kidney stones?
Urad dal being a diuretic helps maintain your kidney health. Consuming urad dal will help you flush out toxins, uric acid, excess fat, and calcium which are all that tend to get deposited in the kidney and form stones.
WHAT TYPE OF FOODS DO YOU AVOID WHEN YOU HAVE A KIDNEY STONE?
- Reduce foods with higher oxalate content
Many food items like Spinach, berries, chocolate, wheat bran, nuts, beets, tea, and rhubarb contain high oxalate levels and should be eliminated from your diet intake. This is because foods high in this chemical may increase the formation of kidney stones.
- Try to Avoid extra calcium supplements
Calcium supplements should be taken only after consulting your physician and your registered kidney dietitian
- Avoid high salt intake
High sodium intake can build up calcium in the urine and this increases your chances of developing kidney stones. A low salt diet is also key to controlling your blood pressure. Try to avoid fast food or any restaurant food as it can be high in sodium.
- Don’t take higher amounts of vitamin C supplements
Excess amounts of 1000mg/day or more can produce more oxalate in the body which can result in kidney stones.
Avoid drinking colas
Cola is found to be high in phosphate, another chemical that can promote the formation of kidney stones. Also, try to eliminate added sugar intake
Reduce the amount of sugar you eat especially in processed foods, such as cake, fruit, soft drinks, and even in juices. Commonly added sugar sources include corn syrup, crystallized fructose, honey, brown rice syrup, and cane sugar.
- Don’t have too much of protein
High protein intakes can cause more calcium release and therefore this may cause more stones to form. The main sources of protein are red meat, pork, chicken, poultry, and eggs. Eating too much of these foods can increase the amount of uric acid you produce. Eating large amounts of protein also reduces a chemical found in urine called citrate which is responsible to prevent the formation of kidney stones. There are many alternatives to animal protein. They include quinoa, tofu, hummus, chia seeds, and Greek yogurt.
Can people with kidney stones eat potatoes?
It is not advisable for people with kidney stones to have potatoes because of their high oxalate content.
Is consuming ghee good for kidney patients?
Ghee is a Saturated or “bad” fat and it is not as good as the unsaturated oils when it comes to your kidney health.
WHAT CAN BE CONSIDERED AS THE BEST INDIAN DIET FOR KIDNEY STONE PATIENTS?
- Figs – You could either boil 2 figs in a cup of water and consume it on an empty stomach early in the morning or you could just have some dry figs.
- Pomegranate – You can drink a glass of pomegranate juice or just eat the seeds.
- Vegetables – You can include vegetables such as chia seeds, beans, green peas, spirulina, sprouts and soy in your diet.
- Horse gram – Horse gram is said to be capable of breaking down bigger stones and washing them out through your urine. You could consume at least 50 gm of this deal twice a day.
- Pattharchatta leaves – This medicinal plant in India can eliminate stones present in your body because it has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties to treat kidney stones and urinary tract infections.
- Fiber content foods – Include more calcium content foods in your diet like legumes, grains, oats, millets, fruits, and vegetables which can reduce the calcium in the urinary tract.
WHAT TYPES OF FLUIDS ARE THE BEST FOR PATIENTS WITH KIDNEY STONES?
Drinking a lot of water can help speed up the process of breaking down the stones and finally removing them. Aim for at least 12 glasses of water per day. Dehydration can be considered as one of the primary factors for kidney stones. Even after the stone passes, you should continue to drink 8 to 12 glasses of water every day.
2. Lemon juice
Lemons are citrus fruits and they contain citrate, which is a chemical that prevents calcium stones from forming. Citrate is also capable of breaking up small stones, allowing them to pass more easily.
Other liquids you can include in your diet are:
- Basil juice
- Apple cider vinegar
- Celery juice
- Pomegranate juice
- Kidney bean broth