Kidney stones are hard deposits in your kidneys, and they may cause pain or infections. Your risk increases if you are a man or have a family or personal history of kidney stones. There are several types of kidney stones. Calcium and uric acid stones can be affected by the foods you eat, while struvite and cysteine stones result from kidney infections and genetic disorders. Your diet also influences your risk of painful symptoms. Certain vegetables may lower your risk for kidney stones, and a nutritionist can help you design an appropriate diet.
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Most vegetables are low in calories, so they can help you in controlling your weight. Obesity is a risk factor for kidney stones, and you may be able to relieve painful symptoms or prevent kidney stones by maintaining a healthy weight, or losing weight if you are overweight. The University of Maryland suggests increasing your intake of antioxidants from vegetables such as bell peppers and tomatoes, and corn supplies magnesium, which may also help.
Choose low-oxalate vegetables to reduce the formation of calcium oxalate kidney stones. Your diet should include no more than 40 to 50 milligrams of oxalates per day, according to the University of Pittsburgh, and your best vegetable choices have no more than 2 milligrams of oxalates per serving. Cabbage, cucumbers, peas, radishes, mushrooms and endives are low in oxalates, and your diet may be able to accommodate some medium-oxalate vegetables as well. Artichokes, carrots, onions, turnips, lettuce, broccoli and watercress have 2 to 10 milligrams of oxalates per serving.
You may lower your risk for kidney stones when you increase your dietary fiber consumption. High-fiber vegetable choices include artichokes, mustard greens, parsnip and kohlrabi. Beans are high-potassium, high-fiber foods that you can eat as alternative protein sources to meat, but most kinds have more than 10 milligrams of oxalates per serving. Lima beans are healthier choices for individuals with kidney stones because they have between 2 and 10 milligrams of oxalates.
Vegetables to Avoid
High-oxalate vegetables, with more than 10 milligrams of oxalates per serving, include spinach, kale, celery, rutabaga, beets and zucchini, according to the University of Pittsburgh. Your risk for kidney stones may increase when you get too much sodium, and high-sodium vegetable choices include salted or flavored vegetable or tomato juices, canned vegetables or vegetables with added salt and salty cans of bean, vegetable or tomato soup. Consume calcium-rich foods, as the calcium binds to oxalates in the digestive tract which prevents it from being absorbed, which in turn helps prevent kidney stones. Other dietary recommendations for kidney stones are to stay hydrated and reduce consumption of animal proteins, according to the National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
- University of Pittsburgh Medical Center: Low Oxalate Diet
- Langone Medical Center: Kidney Stones - Adult
- National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: Diet for Kidney Stone Prevention
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Kidney Stones
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010