How can kidney stones be prevented?
There are several ways to decrease your risk of kidney stones, including:
- Drinking more fluids, especially water. You should drink at least 64 ounces of liquids per day. Liquids help you stay hydrated. Staying hydrated helps you urinate more often, which helps “flush away” the buildup of the substances that cause kidney stones. If you sweat a lot from your activities, be sure to drink more water.
- Limiting the amount of salt (sodium) in your diet — the DASH diet might be recommended as a low-sodium option.
- Losing weight if you are overweight.
- Limiting the types of foods and drinks that led to the development of your specific type of kidney stone. You may be asked to collect your urine over a 24-hour period. Stone fragments and minerals in the urine can help identify what may have caused your kidney stone. Based on the stone’s content, another healthcare professional, a dietitian, can suggest changes in your diet to help decrease your risk of developing more stones.
- Taking medication prescribed by your doctor to help prevent kidney stones based on your specific stone type and any health problems that make you more likely to form a stone.
Should I cut calcium out of my diet if I develop calcium oxalate kidney stones?
If you develop kidney stones composed of calcium, you may be tempted to cut calcium out of your diet. However, this is actually the opposite of what you should do. If you have calcium oxalate stones, the most common type, it’s recommended that you have a diet higher in calcium and lower in oxalate. Foods that are high in oxalates include:
- Dried peas and beans.
- Nuts and nut butters.
- Wheat bran.
Foods that are high in calcium include:
- Cow’s milk.
- Calcium-fortified juices.
- Dried beans.
- Calcium-fortified hot cereal.
It’s also important to drink plenty of fluids to dilute to dilute the substances in your urine.
What other things can I eat or drink to prevent kidney stones?
There are certain foods and drinks might help prevent kidney stones from developing. These can include:
- Drinking plenty of fluids.
- Cutting back on your sodium.
- Increasing the amount of citrates you consume (lemon, lime, orange and melons all have citrates).
- Limiting the amount of oxalates you consume (these are found in foods like spinach, rhubarb, nuts and tea).
Talk to your healthcare provider about the best foods and drinks to prevent the development of future stones. Often, there will be certain foods that work for you but not for another person.
Should I drink soda and coffee if I have kidney stones?
There are some beverages that aren’t recommended if you have kidney stones, including soda. Sweetened and dark colas are linked to an increased risk of stone formation. You should also avoid drinks with sugar or corn fructose syrup.
However, coffee has been linked to a decreased risk of developing kidney stones. Studies have shown that people who drink coffee have fewer kidney stones.