Don’t Want A Kidney Stone? Limit these Kidney Stone Causing Foods Right Now

Ever had a kidney stone? If so, I am entirely sure you do not want one ever again. Something as painful as passing a kidney stone can encourage anybody to change his or her diet in order to prevent a reoccurrence.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, so they say.

Normally, it is more encouraging to focus on all the foods you can or should have on a health-specific diet. But it is really, really important to know all the foods you should limit if you want to reduce your chances of a kidney stone from forming in the first place. (or even worse, it’s a recurring stone!)

So I have compiled your “foods to avoid” list if you are trying to prevent a kidney stone.

Types Of Kidney Stones

Let’s take a moment here to remember that not all kidney stones are exactly the same. This means there are some differences in the foods to avoid depending upon what stone you are dealing with.

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  • Calcium stones: These are the most common types of kidney stones. I’m sure you are already familiar with calcium. Oxalate is a substance that naturally occurs in food. Your liver even produces it. But too much can lead to a stone.
  • Uric acid stones: Having too much uric acid in the urine often happens when people do not drink enough water or they lose too much water (like athletes who sweat a lot). Too much protein can be another factor (we will talk about what types of meat really increase the odds of uric acid stones later)
  • Struvite stones: These are typically connected with UTIs
  • Cystine stones: These stones typically come from some sort of genetic disorder

Since calcium oxalate stones are the most prevalent, we will focus on food choices to get rid of those. But I will also mention a food substance to avoid for preventing uric acid stones as well.

Kidney Stone Causing Foods

1. Oxalate-Rich Foods

Your body already has some oxalate in it. You are consuming oxalate in the foods you eat. In a normal, healthy body oxalate is great. But if you are predisposed to kidney stones, it is the culprit for most of your pain.

Let me very clear on one point: you should not entirely avoid these foods. Foods rich in oxalate are often quite good for you. In fact, they can help you get rid of too much calcium. But in kidney stone sufferers – they should be reduced.

Recommended Reading: Understanding Kidney Stones, Calcium & Oxalate 

Here is a list of common foods that are high in oxalate:

  • Spinach
  • Swiss Chard
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Bran flakes
  • Rhubarb
  • Beets
  • Okra
  • Potato Chips
  • French Fries
  • Nuts
  • Nut Butters
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Tea

The goal, according to the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences, is to get no more than 40 to 50 milligrams of oxalate a day. So 100 grams of chocolate (about 3.5 ounces) will give you 117mg of oxalate; 100 grams of spinach gives you 600.

On the flipside, 100 grams of peaches only gives you 5mg and strawberries give you 10mg.

2. Sodium 

Getting too much sodium is bad for your health in so many ways – from blood pressure woes to bone issues. And your kidneys take a hard hit too.

The more sodium you eat, the more calcium is in your urine. It may seem like an odd pairing, but that’s exactly how the body works.

Aside from limiting the use of salt when you are cooking, be careful with these foods as well:

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  • Deli meat
  • Soups
  • Cheese
  • Bacon
  • Sausages

Check to see if any of your regular grocery store items have a “reduced sodium” version.

3. Animal Protein

Multiple studies have connected animal protein with kidney stone production. One study in particular gave six men an extra 34 grams of animal protein each day (the equivalent of 4 ounces of ground beef).

After running tests on the participants to look at urinary calcium, oxalate, and nitrogen, the researchers concluded those extra 34 grams increased the odds of kidney stones by 250%.

Just because you limit animal protein does not mean you have to limit protein in general. Fabulous sources of plant-based protein include:

  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Quinoa
  • Peas
  • Nut butter
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Chia seeds

For those of you new to planning their meals around plant-based protein, here is a short video going over how much protein is in the top choices:

Remember animal protein includes eggs and dairy products as well. Switching to coconut milk can be a great, delicious choice.

4. Purine

If you get uric acid stones, one important substance to avoid is purine, which ups your urine’s concentration of uric acid. This chemical compound in food is actually responsible for 15% of the body’s uric acid content.

Purine is found in mostly meat (yet another reason why kidney stone sufferers should limit/avoid animal protein), particularly:

  • Liver
  • Kidney
  • Bacon
  • Pork
  • Elk
  • Bison
  • Anchovies
  • Sardines

Beer is also high in purine content.

Keep Reading: High-Purine Foods You Should Avoid To Skyrocket Your Health 

5. Refined Sugar

Too much refined sugar causes a long list of health problems, and issues with your kidneys are all over that list. Everything from enlarged kidneys to kidney stones.

Here’s how it goes: when your diet is high in sugar, the minerals in your body can get all messed up – including the way calcium is absorbed.

Of course, you will still want all of the natural sugars in your fruits, but limiting or even eliminating refined sugars is a must. Say no to foods and drinks like:

  • Candy
  • Cookies
  • Cake
  • Sugary breakfast cereal
  • Fruit Juices
  • Fruit Punch
  • Soda
  • Flavored Lattes
  • Cocktails

What About Calcium?

When many people may learn that the most common type of kidney stone is a calcium oxalate stone, they may try to really limit their calcium intake. But this is definitely not what you should be doing.

Calcium is necessary for your body to function properly. It is healthy and essential. The real issue for calcium oxalate stones is the oxalate. And too little calcium can actually cause oxalate to build up.
So keep consuming calcium-rich foods.

With that being said, taking a calcium supplement may not be a good idea. Talk to your doctor about the best way to get the proper amount of calcium into your diet.

Kidney Stone Causing Foods and You

Now you know avoiding these foods helps you avoid kidney stones. While diet is such a huge part of healing your body and preventing any issues, it is only one aspect. To banish kidney stones, you should also include these choices:

  • Exercise: Those who get up and move their bodies have a significantly smaller chance of developing kidney stones.
  • Supplements: There are great all-natural supplements that can help treat and prevent kidney stones; these include Chanca Piedra and celery seed extract.
  • Drink water: Unless you have kidney disease where your doctor monitors your water intake, you should be drinking plenty of water every single day.

Read Next: Want Fewer Kidney Stones? Drink More Water 

Sources:
http://www.upmc.com/patients-visitors/education/nutrition/Pages/low-oxalate-diet.aspx
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/08/22/kidney-stone-symptoms-prevention.aspx
https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/kidney-stones/eating-diet-nutrition
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/573189
http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/5-steps-for-preventing-kidney-stones-201310046721
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/11/19/kidney-stone-prevention.aspx
http://share.upmc.com/2016/01/a-low-purine-diet-for-kidney-stones-and-gout/
https://www.upmc.com/-/media/upmc/patients-visitors/education/unique-pdfs/low-oxalate-diet.pdf