How To Heal From Kidney Stones With Diet – 6 Steps

Kidney stones are a painful condition to have, and unfortunately are very common nowadays.  Diet plays a vital role in the development of kidney stones.

The increment of fast food chains presents us with an already overly seasoned menu, rich in proteins, salt, sugar, and chemical additives. 

Our lack of time to prepare healthy and balanced meals is one of the reasons that this condition is on the rise becoming more and more prevalent. Damage to the kidneys may be caused by type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and other chronic long-term conditions most often due to poor lifestyle choices and these also increase the risk of kidney stones. 

Kidney stones form when minerals and other substances in the blood crystallize in the kidneys. These stones often eliminate through the urine, but when these crystals are of a size that cannot pass through the urine, they grow larger causing a lot of pain and inflammation.

Let’s examine some factors that can influence kidney stones:

1. The role of Citrate

Citrate prevents the formation of stones in the kidneys by delivering an alkali load (a higher pH). Citrate helps break down calcium deposits and slows their growth. 

Lemons contain citrate as do other citrus fruits. Preparing a freshly squeezed lemon juice on an empty stomach first thing in the morning and another one half an hour before dinner will help immensely increase the Citrate that your body needs. Also, drinking freshly squeezed orange juice has been proven to dissolve smaller kidney stones and prevent new stone formation.

2. Protein in the Diet

Protein is essential to your body, but many sources of animal protein such as red meat, pork, poultry, chicken, fish, and eggs, increase the amount of uric acid that your body produces. This is neutralized with Citrate, but not enough.  Reducing animal protein from the diet is essential to the reduction of kidney stones. 

Now, since protein is necessary for proper functioning of the body, aim to consume plant-based proteins which are healthier and do not pose a threat for kidney stones. Plant-based proteins include hummus, quinoa, tofu and other soy products, beans, lentils, seaweed.

3. Sweetened Beverages and Phosphoric Acid

To avoid the formation of kidney stones, one should also avoid sweetened beverages and Cola drinks because these products contain phosphoric acid, which also increases the formation of kidney stones. The added sugars in these drinks further increase the risk of having kidney stones.  A study showed a 23% higher risk of developing kidney stones in the highest category of consumption of sugar-sweetened cola compared with the lowest category and a 33% higher risk of developing kidney stones for sugar-sweetened non-cola drinks. Drinking pure water will keep your body hydrated which will decrease the odds of kidney stone formation. Urine color intensity is an important indicator of hydration. It should be a very pale yellow color. Dark yellow colored urine is a sign of dehydration. Unfortunately drinking sufficient water alone is not enough for the prevention of kidney stones.

4. Acetic Acid

Basil Juice has been used for centuries due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits; it contains Acetic Acid, which helps dissolve kidney stones and reduces the pain caused by them. You may also use fresh or dried basil leaves for making a basil tea, which you may drink as a tea during the day or add it to your water. (However, it is recommended not to use basil for more than six weeks at a time, because it may lead to low blood pressure, low blood sugar, and if wounded, it increases bleeding).

The use of Apple Cider Vinegar in your salads is also very beneficial because it also contains high levels of Acetic Acid, but people with type 1 diabetes should avoid apple cider vinegar, especially if taking insulin.

5. Pomegranate Juice 

This juice has been used since ancient times to improve the overall health of the kidneys. It can help flush stones and other toxins from the body. It also lowers the acidity of the urine, increasing the formation of stones in the kidneys.

6. Magnesium 

Other changes you can make to prevent and treat kidney stones include consuming foods rich in magnesium. Magnesium positively influences calcium oxalate stone-formation risk by binding oxalate in the digestive system and hinders the production of calcium oxalate crystals in urine. Higher magnesium consumption is significantly associated with lower risk of kidney stones. Magnesium-rich foods include leafy green vegetables, figs, avocados, bananas, raspberries, nuts seeds, black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, peas, broccoli, cabbage, green beans, artichokes, asparagus, and Brussel sprouts.

To conclude:

If you have a tendency for kidney stones, you should consider drinking sufficiently to hydrate your body, for most people this includes drinking 10-12 glasses of water a day.

Squeeze fresh citrus juices into your water for sufficient citrate.

Eliminate processed meat intake, and limit animal products in your diet.

Limit your salt and sugar intake including the removal of sweetened beverages.

Add apple cider vinegar to your salads instead of dairy-rich salad dressings.

Consume a healthy, varied variety of vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains on a regular basis.

Because the metabolism of different nutrients such as calcium and magnesium may decrease with age, the relation between kidney stones and diet may change in older adults and different susceptible populations. This is why dietary recommendations for kidney stone prevention should be tailored to the individual person. If you are interested in receiving an individually tailored menu plan for your specific health needs, check out our personalized menu plan here:

https://www.theguerrilladiet.com/menu/

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Galit Goldfarb

References:
  1. Ferraro PM, Taylor EN, Gambaro G, Curhan GC. Soda and other beverages and the risk of kidney stones. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2013;8(8):1389-95.
  2. Taylor EN, Stampfer MJ, Curhan GC. Dietary factors and the risk of incident kidney stones in men: new insights after 14 years of follow-up. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2004 Dec;15(12):3225-32.
  3. Del Valle EE, Spivacow FR, Negri AL.[Citrate and renal stones]. Medicina (B Aires). 2013;73(4):363-8.
  4. Frassetto L, Kohlstadt I. Treatment and prevention of kidney stones: an update. Am Fam Physician. 2011 Dec 1;84(11):1234-42.
  5. Prezioso D, Strazzullo P, Lotti T, Bianchi G, Borghi L, Caione P, Carini M, Caudarella R, Ferraro M, Gambaro G, Gelosa M, Guttilla A, Illiano E, Martino M, Meschi T, Messa P, Miano R, Napodano G, Nouvenne A, Rendina D, Rocco F, Rosa M, Sanseverino R, Salerno A, Spatafora S, Tasca A, Ticinesi A, Travaglini F, Trinchieri A, Vespasiani G, Zattoni F; CLU Working Group. Dietary treatment of urinary risk factors for renal stone formation. A review of CLU Working Group. Arch Ital Urol Androl. 2015 Jul 7;87(2):105-20. doi: 10.4081/aiua.2015.2.105.

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