Kidney stones are painful and can lead to chronic kidney disease, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular disease.
If you’ve had one kidney stone, you have a 30% chance of having another within five years.
A recent study from the Mayo Clinic found that a diet enriched with foods high in calcium and potassium could prevent recurrent symptomatic kidney stones.
The study analyzed 411 patients who had experienced a first-time symptomatic kidney stone and a control group of 384 people, all of whom were seen at Mayo Clinic in Rochester and Mayo Clinic in Florida between 2009 and 2018.
The researchers found that lower dietary calcium and potassium, as well as lower intake of fluids, caffeine, and phytate, were associated with higher odds of experiencing a first-time symptomatic kidney stone.
Among the patients who had first-time stone formation, 73 experienced recurrent stones within a median of 4.1 years of follow-up.
The study found that lower levels of dietary calcium and potassium predicted recurrence.
This is important because recommendations for preventing kidney stones have been based primarily on dietary factors associated with first-time rather than recurrent stone formation.
The study recommends daily intake of 1,200 milligrams of calcium to help prevent first-time and recurrent kidney stones.
While higher potassium intake is also recommended, the study does not provide a recommended intake level.
The study concludes that diets that are high in calcium and potassium, with a daily intake of 1,200 milligrams of calcium, may help prevent first-time and recurrent kidney stones.
Patients should add more fruits and vegetables that are high in calcium and potassium to their diets.
Fruits that are high in potassium include bananas, oranges, grapefruits, cantaloupes, honeydew melons, and apricots.
Vegetables that are high in potassium include potatoes, mushrooms, peas, cucumbers, and zucchini.
The study emphasizes the importance of knowing the dietary factors that are most important for preventing kidney stone recurrence to help patients and providers know what to prioritize.
How to prevent kidney stones
One way to prevent kidney stones is to make changes in your diet. Some tips include:
Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water and other fluids can help flush out the substances that form kidney stones.
Limit salt intake: High sodium intake can increase the risk of kidney stone formation. Therefore, it is recommended to limit salt intake in your diet.
Eat calcium-rich foods: Contrary to popular belief, calcium from food doesn’t increase the risk of kidney stones.
In fact, getting enough calcium in your diet can help prevent kidney stones. Therefore, it’s important to eat calcium-rich foods like milk, yogurt, and cheese.
Eat oxalate-rich foods in moderation: Oxalate is a substance found in some foods that can lead to kidney stones. Foods high in oxalate include spinach, rhubarb, chocolate, nuts, and tea.
While you don’t have to avoid these foods altogether, it’s a good idea to eat them in moderation.
Eat foods high in potassium: Foods high in potassium can help prevent kidney stones.
Some examples include bananas, oranges, grapefruits, cantaloupes, honeydew melons, apricots, potatoes, mushrooms, peas, cucumbers, and zucchini.
Limit animal protein: Eating too much animal protein, such as meat, poultry, and seafood, may increase the risk of kidney stones. Therefore, it’s recommended to limit animal protein intake in your diet.
Talk to your doctor: If you’ve had kidney stones before, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian to develop a personalized diet plan that can help prevent future kidney stone formation.
If you care about kidney health, please read studies about drug that prevents kidney failure in diabetes, and drinking coffee could help reduce risk of kidney injury.
For more information about kidney health, please see recent studies about foods that may prevent recurrence of kidney stones, and common painkillers may harm heart, kidneys and more.
The study was conducted by Api Chewcharat et al and published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
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