What Foods Can Cause Kidney Stones?
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Substances found in animal protein such as meats, fish and shellfish may increase uric acid in urine. Dairy products, high-sodium foods and caffeine increase calcium levels in urine. Oxalates, found in beetroot, asparagus, chocolate, berries, parsley, nuts, soy products, oatmeal, wheat germ and whole wheat inhibit calcium absorption. Excess uric acid and calcium in urine can lead to kidney stones.
Kidney stones are known as Vrukka Ashmari (vrukka means kidney and ashmari means stone) in Ayurveda. According to Ayurveda, improper diet and lifestyle lead to aggravation of all the three doshas and impair the digestive fire. This causes the formation of toxins called ama in the body. These toxins travel down the urinary tract, where aggravated doshas cause crystallization and the formation of kidney stones.
What Are The Symptoms Of Kidney Stones?
People with kidney stones may experience:
- Pain while urinating
- Blood in the urine
- Sharp pain in the back or lower abdomen
- Nausea and vomiting
Types of Kidney Stones
If you have suffered from kidney stones, it is helpful to know what kind of stone you had because it helps the health care provider suggest specific diet changes to prevent them in future. Kidney stones are of the following type:
Calcium stones are the most common type of kidney stone and occur in two major forms – calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate. Calcium oxalate stones are more common. Calcium oxalate stone formation may be caused by high calcium and high oxalate excretion. Calcium phosphate stones are caused by the combination of high urine calcium and alkaline urine, meaning the urine has a high pH.
Uric Acid Stones
Uric acid stones form when the urine is persistently acidic. If uric acid becomes concentrated in the urine, it can settle and form a stone by itself or along with calcium.
Struvite stones result from kidney infections. Eliminating infected stones from the urinary tract and staying infection-free can prevent the formation of more struvite stones.
Cystine stones result from a genetic disorder that causes cystine to leak through the kidneys and into the urine, forming crystals that tend to accumulate into stones.1
Foods that Cause Kidney Stones
Healthy kidneys are essential for proper detoxification. However, certain foods can cause kidney stones and keep these organs from functioning optimally. Listed below are foods that encourage kidney stone development:
A Diet Rich In Purines
Substances found in animal protein such as meats, fish and shellfish may increase uric acid in urine. This can lead to the formation of uric acid stones. Those who consume a high-protein diet may exert stress on their kidneys because protein waste is difficult to eliminate from the body efficiently.2
Excessive Dairy Products
The problem with dairy products is that it is similar to that of other animal proteins. Consuming dairy products increases the excretion of calcium in the urine, which has been associated with a higher risk of developing kidney stones.3
Too much caffeine in the form of coffee, tea and soda can exert stress on the kidneys and lead to the development of kidney stones due to higher calcium levels in the urine.
A high-sodium diet increases the amount of calcium in your urine. Current guidelines suggest limiting total daily sodium intake to 2,300 mg.
Non-caloric sweeteners can impair kidney function if consumed long-term. So, it’s best to opt for natural sweeteners like honey, stevia or agave instead.4
Other Foods that Cause Kidney Stones
If your kidney stone is caused by an excess of calcium, you may be advised to reduce the amount of oxalates in your diet. Oxalates prevent calcium being absorbed by your body and can accumulate in your kidney to form a stone.
Foods that contain oxalates include beetroot, asparagus, rhubarb, chocolate, berries, leeks, parsley, celery, almonds, peanuts and cashew nuts, soy products and grains such as oatmeal, wheat germ and wholewheat. However, don’t reduce the amount of calcium in your diet unless your general physician recommends it.
This is because optimal amount of calcium is very important for maintaining healthy bones and teeth.5
Diet is one of several factors that can promote or inhibit kidney stone formation. However, for a healthy individual, particular foods and drinks are unlikely to trigger kidney stones unless consumed in extremely high amounts.
If you think that your diet may be a problem, schedule an appointment with a dietitian and review your food choices. Preventing kidney stones isn’t complicated, but it does take some determination.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Kidney Stones Symptoms, NHS Choices|
|2.||↑||BRESLAU, NEIL A., et al. “Relationship of Animal Protein-Rich Diet to Kidney Stone Formation and Calcium Metabolism*.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 66.1 (1988): 140-146.|
|3.||↑||Diet for Kidney Stone Prevention, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases|
|4.||↑||Soda and other beverages and the risk of kidney stones, U.S National Library of Medicine|
|5.||↑||Noonan, S. C., and G. P. Savage. “Oxalate content of foods and its effect on humans.” Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition 8 (1999): 64-74.|
Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.