In the US alone, the number of people developing kidney stones has significantly increased in the last 30 years. During the 70s, the number of people who suffered from such diseases was under 4 percent of the population. By the early 90s, the number had increased to over 5 percent of the population. The causes of kidney stones are not always known, but there are certain foods that are known to promote the formation of stones for those prone to the condition. However, scientists hold that eating specific foods does not cause stones to form in people who do not have susceptibility to kidney stone formation.
People with a family history involving kidney stones are likely to develop the same, and such people should therefore be careful about the kind of food that they eat. In addition, urinary tract infection, certain metabolic disorders including hyperparathyroidism, and kidney problems such as cystic kidney diseases, are associated with stone formation. If you have chronic inflammation of the bowel or have gone through an intestinal bypass operation, you are also likely to form calcium oxalate stones. If you have any of these conditions, it is advisable to limit or avoid certain foods that cause kidney stones.
Foods that have high levels of oxalate should be avoided.
- Swiss Chard
- Wheat Germ
- Black Indian Tea
- Sweet Potatoes
There are also foods that contain medium amounts of oxalate, and these may be taken in limited amounts.
- Green Peppers
- Fruit Cake
- Livers (Chicken, Beef, Pork)
Although people were previously advised against taking foods that are high in calcium, which includes dairy products, recent studies indicate that these foods may help to prevent calcium stones. However, note that taking calcium in pill form actually encourages the development of kidney stones. Foods that have added vitamin D or certain antacids with a calcium base are also advised against in some instances. If your urine is highly acidic, you may have to reduce your intake of meat, poultry and fish, since they increase the amount of acid in your urine.
In order to prevent cystine stones, you are encouraged to drink sufficient water every day in order to ensure that the concentration of cystine in the urine is limited. A gallon of water would be required every day, and it is recommended that a third of this amount be taken during the night.
The beverages that you take may also affect your vulnerability to kidney stone formation. Apple and grapefruit juices are especially discouraged, and carbonated beverages should also be avoided, particularly those that contain high amounts of phosphoric acid. Apart from calcium, phosphorous is also known to stimulate the body to create or increase the size of kidney stones. Sugar should also be avoided. This is because it triggers insulin, which in turn extracts calcium from your bones, and ultimately increases calcium levels in your kidneys. You could save yourself the pain associated with kidney stones by simply ensuring that you watch what you eat.