Introduction to kidney stones
Kidney stones are also called renal calculi. These are solidified crystal masses that originate in the kidneys. But kidney stones can occur anywhere in the urinary tract, for example, in the urethra, or in the bladder, or even in the uterus (in case of females). However, the most commonly, the kidney stones are formed in the kidneys, hampering their functioning and causing immense pain as the size of the kidney stones increases. There are several types of kidney stones depending on their structural formation, and the most common of them are as follows:
Calcium crystalizes the easiest of all compounds which are present in the urinary tract. Thus, the most common type of the kidney stones are composed of crystallized calcium compounds like calcium oxalate.
2. Uric Acid
Uric Acid kidney stones are more common among men than women. People suffering from gout or people undergoing chemotherapy have higher chances of developing uric acid kidney stones regardless of their gender.
The Struvite kidney stone occurs predominantly in women who suffer from chronic urinary tract infections. These stones are usually larger than other types of kidney stones and often result in urinary obstruction.
Foods that should be avoided by kidney stone patients
The most commonly occurring kidney stones are caused by foods rich in calcium oxalate. Calcium stones can be easily avoided by regulating the intake of foods containing high amounts of calcium oxalate and proper consumption of foods which contain calcium. The following is the list of the foods which should be regulated or avoided by kidney stone patients:
- Potato chips and French fries
- Peanuts and peanut derived products
- Dark Chocolate
Proteins, salt, and glucose are amongst the top components of food which promote the growth of kidney stones. Thus, kidney stone patients should also decrease the intake of animal derived proteins, salt, and glucose in their regular diet.
Foods which are helpful for kidney stone patients
In addition to the foods that should be avoided, there are many foods which are greatly beneficial to kidney stone patients. Here are a few dietary changes that kidney stone patients can make in their diet to hamper the growth of kidney stones:
- Stay hydrated – drink at least 12 glasses of water every day.
- Increase the intake of citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, grapes, etc.
- Increase the intake of foods which contain Vitamin D like salmon, egg yolk, and cheese.
- Vitamin D increases absorption of calcium, preventing formation of calcium oxalate.
- Increase the intake of plant based proteins like legumes, nuts, soy, sunflower seeds, etc.
- Increase intake of calcium rich foods and avoid foods rich in calcium oxalates.
- Plant based calcium sources are the best for kidney stone patients.
Focus on a plant based diet to get all the necessary nourishment for the body and avoid animal based diet, except sources of vitamin D. Avoid drinking flavored sodas which contain high amounts of calcium, which promotes the formation of kidney stones. Avoid consuming food and drinks which can result in dehydration, such as alcohol. Reducing the intake of sodium (in all forms) can also be greatly beneficial in hampering the growth of kidney stones.