Kidney stones are small crystalline formations within the kidney. There are different types of kidney stones and your doctor can tell you what type you have.
Depending on the type you have the dietary recommendations will vary. They are most commonly made of calcium oxalate and this article will cover the food and fluid needs for a person with the calcium oxalate type of stone.
Your fluids needs increase. By increasing the amount of water you drink daily to ten to twelve 8-ounce glasses you can prevent concentrated urine in the kidneys that can lead to stone formation. (1)(2)
Reduce sodium. A low-sodium diet can have a big impact on reducing the formation of stones and have other health benefits as well. (1) Try to only eat 2,000 milligrams per day, this may be challenging but you can do it! (2)
No need to decrease calcium. It is not the calcium in the diet that causes calcium oxalate stones. In fact if you did not eat calcium, the calcium needed to bind with the oxalate would be leached from your bones. Be sure to eat enough calcium; 1000-1200 milligrams per day for adults.
There are specific foods to eliminate to reduce the amount of oxalate in your diet. Rhubarb, spinach, strawberries, chocolate, wheat bran, whole-wheat products, beets, almonds, peanuts, pecans, large volumes of turmeric, green and black tea are all oxalate foods. (1) These foods can also be part of a healthy diet. If you like these foods, go ahead and eat them in moderation and consider eating them with a calcium containing food to encourage the calcium and oxalate to bind in the gut before it is even digested. (2)
Decrease animal protein. We have to meet our protein needs but beyond that too much protein can increase the risk of causing kidney stone formation because it potentially increases the acid load in the kidneys. (1) Protein needs vary just like calorie needs. If you eat a diet of 2,000 calories per day then you need about 5.5 ounces of protein per day. (3)
If you have experienced kidney stones then you are well aware of the pain they cause. Luckily with some simple dietary changes you can protect your future from the formation of additional stones.