✓ Evidence Based

Kidney Stone Diet: What to Eat When You Have Kidney Stones

Kidney stones can be extremely painful and affect your everyday life. One thing you can do to prevent and manage kidney stones is to monitor your diet carefully.

There are different types of kidney stones, some more common than others. This diet is for the most common type, calcium oxalate kidney stones. To avoid kidney stones, make sure to drink plenty of water, and maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Kidney Stone Diet

Kidney stone diets may be different for everyone depending on what type of kidney stone you have. Some kidney stone types include calcium oxalate, uric acid, struvite, and cystine kidney stones (1, 2). Calcium oxalate kidney stones tend to be the most common type of stone (3).

Summary: Calcium oxalate kidney stones are the most common, but there are other types as well. Avoid kidney stones by drinking plenty of water and maintaining a healthy diet. If you do have kidney stones, there are some foods that can help.

What to Eat When You Have Kidney Stones?

If you have calcium oxalate kidney stones, these foods are the most common to help reduce their size and pass them. It is important to start by eating a low-oxalate diet. Find out what foods are low in oxalates for your kidney stone diet now.

1. Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is a potent contributor to helping decrease the size of kidney stones. Lemons are high in citrate, which helps to prevent kidney stones from forming (4, 5).

Even just drinking four ounces of lemon juice per day can significantly increase the citrate levels in urine without increasing oxalates (6) Too many foods rich in oxalates increase the chances of getting kidney stones. Lemon juice is a healthy addition to any diet, but it can be particularly helpful for those who suffer from kidney stones.

Lemons are extremely healthy to add to your diet in general. They are high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that can also help to prevent high blood pressure (7), digestive distress (8), heart disease (9), and more. Lemons are highly acidic so be sure to wait for a half-hour before brushing your teeth after eating or drinking lemon juice. This will protect the enamel on your teeth from eroding.

Summary: If you have calcium oxalate kidney stones, following a low-oxalate diet will help. Lemon juice is low in oxalates and high in citrate, which helps prevent formation and decrease size of stones. Also high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, lemons are very nutritious and beneficial for any diet. Spritz some lemon juice onto a fresh salad, or simply add it to a glass of water.

2. Oranges

Citrus fruits like oranges are high in beneficial antioxidants that can have positive benefits for those with kidney stones (10). They are also high in carotenoids and vitamins like lutein and zeaxanthin, which are potent in reducing inflammation in the body (11).

 

All these benefits and the high citrate levels can help to reduce the size of kidney stones and prevent them from occurring. These helpful properties are in the orange peel, tangerines, or in the juice forms. The best way to get the benefits of orange juice is through freshly squeezed juice. Orange juice with added sugar may cause stress on the kidneys because refined sugar is highly anti-inflammatory.

One way you can get the benefits of orange peel is to let them soak in water for a few minutes. Drink the juice that comes from that for the many benefits like increased gut health.

Summary: Oranges are very high in antioxidants, carotenoids, lutein, zeaxanthin, and more. This nutritious food is high in citrate, which helps reduce the size and formation of kidney stones. Freshly squeezed orange juice will provide the most beneficial nutrition and anti-inflammatory properties. Invest in an orange juicer or blend up fresh oranges in your favorite smoothies.

3. Raspberry

To help manage and prevent kidney stones, it is helpful to have as many alternative methods under your belt as possible. One of those may be raspberry. In multiple studies, raspberry was capable of banishing kidney stones from the urinary tract (12, 13).

Furthermore, raspberry is high in citrate, magnesium, and glycosaminoglycans, which all help to prevent and dissolve kidney stones (14, 15). Raspberry can also be a powerful prevention method for calcium oxalate kidney stones formation.

Raspberries are a highly nutritious fruit full of beneficial antioxidant properties, as well as vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, B6, thiamine, calcium, and zinc (16). Raspberries can also help protect against obesity, cancer, arthritis, and many other conditions (17).

It is also a great source of fiber (18). Eating too much of any of these foods is not good for kidney stones. You should always eat less when you can if you have kidney stones. You can add raspberries to your oatmeal or favorite breakfast for easy eating. Or, simply snack on raspberries on their own.

Summary: Raspberries are high in citrate, magnesium, and glycosaminoglycans, all of which help to reduce risk of and dissolve kidney stones. Eating raspberries in general can prevent the formation of calcium oxalate kidney stone formation. This nutrition powerhouse is also very high in antioxidants, vitamin A, B6, thiamine, calcium, zinc, and fiber.

4. Pomegranate

Did you know that pomegranate fruit is known as “a pharmacy unto itself?” This fruit is a long-standing one in preventative and therapeutic communities. Pomegranate may have strong effects on relieving symptoms of kidney stones as well as lessening the formation of them (19, 20).

Pomegranates are high in antioxidants like anthocyanins, alkaloids, and polyphenols (21). These antioxidants are widely capable of finding free radicals in the body (22, 23). Pomegranate seeds are capable of positive effects such as minimizing many common symptoms of kidney stones, such as the burning sensation during urination.

Protective properties against renal failure were in pomegranate seed oil, juice, and the peel (24). They also relaxed the muscles in the urinary tract in the study. The study was for calcium oxalate kidney stone formation.

Pomegranates can be tricky to eat right from the fruit. An easy way to get to them is to cut it down the middle, then get the edible seeds out by adding it to water. This will also make it much less messy.

Pomegranate can be a helpful addition to your diet if you suffer from kidney stones.

Summary: Rich in antioxidants such as anthocyanins, alkaloids, and polyphenols, pomegranates are very helpful for relieving symptoms of kidney stones, especially burning sensation during urination, and reducing risk of stone formation. This superfood is sometimes hard to eat, but if you cut the fruit down the middle and soak it in water, the seeds are much easier to get out.

5. Dandelion

Dandelion is a long-standing herb for many health conditions. Dandelion is beneficial for kidney health because it is high in antioxidants, and it can help to detoxify the liver and gallbladder as well (25, 26). It can also help to improve the immune system, as it is extremely anti-inflammatory (27).

One promising way dandelions can help reduce kidney stones is because of their powerful nutrient profile and a mix of potassium citrate. In one study, the mixture of potassium citrate and the compound in dandelion, called Taraxasterol, decreased the crystallization of kidney stones (28).

Dandelion is a compelling herb that can bring many health benefits. You can add dandelion to soups, stews, and even stir-fries. Although it does come in tea, drinking tea is not good for kidney stone health. The high concentration of oxalates in tea makes for a bad combination with kidney stones.

Summary: Dandelion is very high in antioxidants that help detoxify the liver and gallbladder, boost immunity, and reduce inflammation in the body. It is helpful for reducing kidney stones due to its high antioxidant and potassium citrate profile. Add dandelion to soups, stews, or stir-fry. Avoid drinking dandelion tea because tea is high in oxalates.

6. Celery

Celery is a nutrient-rich vegetable that studies show may have some preventive effect on kidney stones (29, 30). They may also help dissolve kidney stones. Celery is full of beneficial plant flavonoids, potassium, fiber, vitamins A, K, C, and more (31).

The study was on rats, and it has great promise for dissolving kidney stones. Celery could break down kidney stones in rats (32). Celery juice can be helpful, too. You can snack on plain celery to get the benefits, or simply juice it with lemon for a better taste. If using a blender instead of a juicer, it is necessary to strain the celery after mixing it.

Make sure to talk with your doctor before trying a new food for kidney stone management, because there are many types of kidney stones. It is important to see a doctor if your symptoms are severe such as fever, nausea, and chills.

Summary: Celery is a nutrient-rich vegetable full of flavonoids, potassium, fiber, and vitamins A, K, and C. These helpful nutrients prevent and help dissolve kidney stones. Celery pairs well with nut butters and hummus, or can be easily added to soups or stews.

7. Water

The consumption of water with kidney stones is worth repeating. You must consume enough water throughout the day to help flush out the kidney stones quickly (33, 34).

Everyone must have a certain amount of water every day, but the need goes up 100 percent when you have kidney stones, or if you are prone to getting them. Drinking enough water will help you use the bathroom more so the kidney stones can pass through the urine faster. Try to drink as much as you can in a day without chugging it.

Make sure to drink plenty of water, and if you don’t like the taste of water, squeeze some lemon juice into it for an extra boost of kidney stone eradication.

Summary: Drinking enough water is very important and will help flush kidney stones. Drinking water helps you pass kidney stones through urine faster. It’s especially important to drink water even to prevent onset of kidney stones. Add a spritz of citrus juice to your water to further prevent or dissolve kidney stones.

Conclusion

Kidney stones are a severe medical condition, that when left untreated, can cause kidney disease and renal failure. While many kidney stones can pass on their own, some need medical attention. Be sure to keep up with a healthy diet rich in these foods to help you pass them with as little pain as possible. Add in more of these healthy foods to assist with passing kidney stones and prevent them from happening again in the future.

If you follow a balanced, healthy diet and lifestyle, you do not have to suffer from kidney stones. Lifestyle changes are important to consider when you have kidney stones, too. Practice regular exercise, stress relief techniques, and eat well to avoid your chance of kidney stones.

You also want to make sure you limit certain unhealthy foods that may be a common staple in your diet. And ask your doctor about your diet plan, how to improve it, and what you need to do for your specific type of kidney stone. Things like too much salt and many other foods can contribute to creating kidney stones. Find out what foods to avoid if you have kidney stones here.

HealthNormal

Evidence Based

This article is based on scientific evidence, and written, fact-checked & medically reviewed by health experts.

Throughout this article, you’ll find scientific references (highly trusted peer-reviewed scientific papers, links denoted by the numbers in the parentheses (1, 2, 3)).