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Kidney Stone Diet : Which Foods Should You Eat or Avoid When You Have Kidney Stone Pain?

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Kidney stones primarily occur as a result of the high consumption of food items that are rich in oxalate, phosphate, supplementary calcium, etc. These salts and minerals contribute equally to the formation of kidney stones. Therefore, urologists stress the importance of a balanced diet and suggest restricting certain food items that can progress kidney stones.

In the case of small renal stones, urologists often recommend increasing the healthy fluids intake and medications that can encourage the smooth passage of stones through urine.

It is advisable to follow the kidney stone diet suggested by your urologist to minimize kidney stone pain or prevent recurrence in the future. Let us discuss the different list of foods to avoid with kidney stones and the diet you should adopt during kidney stones.

What foods to avoid with kidney stones?

Kidney stones are primarily made of salts and minerals that lump with each other due to low fluid concentration in the urine. Therefore, it is only advisable to avoid foods that are rich in these substances, such as fatty foods, ice cream, and excessive fried food. Some of the food items you must avoid during your kidney stone pain are –

Avoid excessive sodium intake

A high-sodium diet can trigger the formation of kidney stones due to increased calcium content in the urine. This is why it is not advised to consume too much salt. Too much salt in the urine can prevent calcium from being reabsorbed from the urine to the blood, increasing the risk of kidney stones.

Urologists, therefore, recommend limiting sodium consumption to 2,000 mg (almost half a tablespoon) in a day. However, if you have had calcium stones in the past, sodium intake must be reduced to 1,500 mg daily.

Moreover, a low-sodium diet is also good for a healthy heart and blood pressure. Here are several foods that you must avoid that can contain excessive sodium –

  • Canned soups and vegetables
  • Processed foods such as chips
  • Foods that contain monosodium glutamate, sodium nitrate, or sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)

Consume less oxalate-rich foods

Oxalate stones make up for a majority of kidney stones cases. Consuming an oxalate-rich diet encourages the minerals to lumps with the calcium to form calcium stones.

People often consider beer as a viable option to flush out stones. Drinking beer stimulates urine which can be helpful in flushing out small stones from the body. However, beer contains high calories and is also rich in oxalate.

Therefore, consuming too much beer can increase the risk of oxalate stone and make you fat. Doctors advise a kidney stones diet that is low in oxalate content. Avoid excessive intake of the following oxalate-rich food –

  • Tea
  • Nuts
  • Coffee
  • Peanuts
  • Rhubarb
  • Chocolate
  • Strawberries
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Canned fruit salad

Avoid calcium-rich supplements –

Calcium stones are the most common type of kidney stones that contribute to about 80% of all cases. A belief that avoiding calcium can prevent the formation of calcium stones is now frowned upon.

Taking excessive calcium supplements rather than natural calcium can make your body more prone to kidney stones. Therefore, urologists advise limiting calcium supplements or avoiding them to prevent recurrence in the future.

Also, some studies reveal taking vitamin C supplements can trigger the formation of kidney stones since your body can convert vitamin C into oxalate.

Consume less animal protein –

Kidney stones are also associated with excess consumption of animal protein that increases the uric acid content in the body. Uric acid is responsible for the formation of uric acid and some oxalate stones.

Moreover, a diet rich in animal protein also decreases citrate levels which restrict the production of stones. Low citrate levels increase the risk of developing stones.

However, if you still wish to consume animal protein, do not eat more than 85 grams of meat in each meal. Here are a few food items that must be avoided to reduce the risk of kidney stones or if you have uric acid stones-

  • Red meat
  • Chicken
  • Poultry
  • Pork
  • Fish
  • Oils
  • Alcohol
  • Anchovies
  • Cauliflower
  • Mushrooms
  • Asparagus
  • Sardines
  • Spinach


Kidney Stone Types Foods To Avoid
Oxalate stones Potatoes & Yams, Rhubarb, Seeds & Nuts, Wheat Bran, Soy, Tofu, Currants, Canned Fruit Salad, Raspberries, Concord Grapes, Spinach, Beets, Swiss Chard, Leeks, Summer Squash, Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkin, Eggplant, Chocolate, Cocoa, Tea, Coffee, Grits, Nuts.


Uric acid stones Alcohol, Anchovies, Asparagus, Baking or brewer’s yeast, Cauliflower, Consommé, Gravy, Herring, Legumes (dried beans and peas), Mushrooms, Oils, Organ meats (liver, kidney, and sweetbreads), Sardines, Spinach



Cystine stones Alcohol, Excess salt, Potato chips, Fried food, sandwich meats, Canned Soup, French Fries, Packaged meals, Processed foods.


What to eat when you have kidney stones?

While it is necessary to avoid certain food items that can progress the formation of kidney stones, it is equally necessary to consume a diet that can help you recover during kidney stone pain. Your urologist will prepare a diet chart to help you recover smoothly from kidney stone pain. Some of the dietary habits include –

Staying hydrated –

One of the most important dietary changes includes encouraging lots and lots of fluid intake. Since kidney stones are formed due to low fluid concentration in the urine, it is highly recommended you drink at least 8-10 glasses of water which equals about 2 liters daily. Staying hydrated and consuming adequate water will ensure a good volume of urine that can also flush out small stones from the body.

Consume citrus fruits –

Citrous fruits prevent kidney stones by increasing the amount of citrate in the body. Adding lemon or lime juice to the water can also be a great remedy against kidney stones. Citrate neutralizes the uric acid in urine also prevents the formation of calcium stones. Encourage citrous fruits such as –

  • Lemons
  • Oranges
  • Fresh lime
  • Grapefruits

Consume dietary calcium –

The notion of cutting down dairy products to prevent calcium oxalate stones is wrong. Dietary calcium decreases the amount of oxalate in your body by binding to it. This decreases the amount of oxalate that gets absorbed into the bloodstream thus, decreasing the risk of kidney stones. Food containing dietary calcium includes milk and dairy products.

Encouraging plant-based diet –

Many urologists and nutritionists advise switching to a plant-based diet to decrease the risk of kidney stones. Plant-based diets that include tofu, hummus, quinoa chia seeds, and greek yogurt should be encouraged during kidney stone pain. However, consult with your doctor for any allergies before consuming certain food items.

Take Away

Encouraging a proper kidney stone diet can prevent the formation of stones and make a big impact on our everyday lives. Urologists often regard dietary changes as the first line of defense against kidney stones which can be very effective as well.

Pristyn Care is associated with some of the top healthcare institutions across the country. Our top urologists leverage advanced tools and modern procedures to perform complex kidney stone removal surgeries with a very high success rate.

Moreover, our kidney stone doctors provide comprehensive treatment to each patient before the procedure to reduce the risk of complications during the surgery. Contact us for more information on how you can manage your diet if you are experiencing kidney stones.

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