Kidney Stones? Avoid These 3 Things In Your Diet

The summer season brings many health problems. Stone in the kidney is one of them – about 5 to 7 million people in India suffer from kidney stone disease. At least 1 out of 1000 Indians needs hospitalisation due to the condition. Summer is one time of the year when a substantial rise in the number of cases is registered, and dehydration is a significant reason. In a dehydrated body, the kidneys conserve water by making concentrated urine that acts as a catalyst for stone crystal formation. Therefore, though you may be drinking the same amount of water as you were drinking in winters, the chances of stone formation are more in summers as the body loses a lot of water through sweat, which was not a factor in the winter risk of stone. Some estimate that a 5 to 7-degree rise in temperature due to climate change could increase kidney stone problems by 30 per cent. 

Type of kidney stone and role of food

Calcium stones are the most common type of kidney stones and are usually made of calcium and oxalate, a natural chemical found in foods but can involve phosphate. The other type is uric acid stones that form by themselves or due to excess uric acid. Struvite stones develop with ammonia built up in people with certain types of urinary tract infections and consist of magnesium, ammonium and phosphate. Cystine stones are made of a natural chemical found in the body known as cystine. These are rare and are seen in people who have a genetic disorder that leaks cystine from the kidneys into the urine. A combination of lack of drinking adequate water and food with stone-forming elements – beets, chocolate, spinach, rhubarb, tea, and most nuts – can increase one’s risk of getting kidney stones. 

What not to eat in kidney stones? 

  1. Avoiding some oxalate-rich fruits: Berries, chikoos, and vegetables, such as tomatoes, spinach, and beets, could be of some risk. When administered in higher quantities into the human body, Vitamin C (more than 2gms/day) is reported to cause kidney stones in some cases. It is inferred that Vitamin C gets converted to oxalates. 
  2. Salty diet: High salt in fast food, especially in industrialized countries, causes higher calcium in the kidneys. The modification of sodium by cutting down the daily intake of salt is advised for reducing kidney stone recurrence. The regular salty food pattern is one of the reasons behind kidney stone formation in India. 
  3. Mind your protein intake: Animal protein -- red meat, poultry, eggs, and seafood – can up the uric acid level, a byproduct of protein metabolism. 

(With inputs from Dr Vineet Narang, Head-General Urology, Indian Spinal Injury Centre)