As we grow older, we all become more and more vulnerable to certain kinds of medical conditions. One of the most common ones that tend to affect people as they age is nephrolithiasis, also known as kidney stones. As these names suggest, this is a condition caused by the build-up and hardening of certain minerals that usually form inside the kidneys.
Luckily, most kidney stones make their way on their own through our urinary system and out of the body. This can be facilitated by improved hydration and a temporary change in diet. But despite usually leaving no permanent damage, the natural process of passing these stones can be quite painful and stressful. Meanwhile, uncommonly larger stones can cause blockages and cause complications that may require surgery. This highlights the importance of preventing the mineral build-up that leads to kidney stones in the first place.
If you’re looking to save yourself the intense discomfort of trying to pass kidney stones, then you might want to avoid certain types of food and drinks that help their formation. Here, we’ll be discussing the ones that any reputable medical resource will tell you to stay away from to prevent common types of kidney stones.
Food Rich in Oxalic Acid
Most cases of kidney stones are tied to an excess of calcium from the many different types of food that we all tend to consume. The truth is, the process of calcium-binding with another element or chemical compound is what truly leads to kidney stones. Adding to this, there are two types of this condition which depend on what the extra calcium in your body binds with.
When calcium binds with oxalic acid, it causes kidney stones that are made up of calcium oxalate. Because oxalic acid naturally occurs in certain types of food, it may be difficult to avoid altogether. Still, you can lessen the risks of developing calcium oxalate kidney stones by lessening the consumption of the following food:
- Salt and other sodium-rich food and condiments
- Baked potatoes with the skin intact
- French Fries
- Certain types of nuts, including almonds and cashews
- Some artificial sweeteners, such as stevia
- Preserved food such as canned and packaged meats
Food Rich in Phosphoric Acid
Meanwhile, kidney stones from calcium phosphate form when calcium combines with phosphoric acid. Generally, the same types of food that cause calcium oxalate stones also cause calcium phosphate stones. However, the risk of developing the latter can also be increased by the consumption of food and drinks that can cause your urine to have a higher pH level (or become more alkaline). Because of this, you can lessen the chances of your kidneys forming calcium phosphate stones by avoiding the following:
- Certain fresh fruit juices
- Juices squeezed from vegetables
- Consuming treacle or molasses
Food that Can Cause Excess Uric Acid
An excess of uric acid usually happens when a person consumes food that is rich in purine, making urine highly acidic. The resulting uric acid stones can be red or orange because the formed crystals absorb specific chemicals in the urine that are related to hemoglobin.
Beyond their worrying color, these types of kidney stones can also quickly grow large, thanks to the naturally abundant amount of uric acid in the human body. Despite these worrying details, preventing the development of uric acid kidney stones involves simply keeping your urine at a balanced pH level. To help keep this balance, key food items to avoid include the following:
- Protein from animal meat
- Drinks that are rich in sugar (especially those sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup)
- Alcoholic beverages
Kidney stones usually remain undetected unless a stone itself has moved into your urinary system. But once the symptoms have started showing up, a case of kidney stones can be highly uncomfortable and painful. This is why you might want to make some lifestyle changes if you start finding yourself susceptible to getting kidney stones. Thankfully, by avoiding or simply lessening your intake of some food and beverages, you can minimize the presence of crystal-forming substances and keep your kidney healthy. Indeed, you can save yourself the hassle of having to pass kidney stones by opting for water over sugary drinks, or by preferring leaner meat over red meat, among many other healthy changes.