A kidney stone diet is a type of kidney diet that will help you minimize the chances of dreaded kidney stones forming.
First one has to know what is a kidney stone and how they are formed. Only after, can one understand how to avoid them forming within the kidneys through a kidney stone diet.
Kidney stones (or nephrolithiasis, as they are medically known) are crystals that are hard and have sharp edges. These are formed naturally and can be passed when urinating without us knowing. The most common kidney stones are mainly composed of calcium compounds. Kidney stones made of calcium oxalate form when the urine is acidic. On the other hand, calcium phosphate stones form when urine is alkaline.
Conditions that allow the faster formation of kidney stones are usually dehydration and dietary conditions. Medical conditions such as gout, hereditary factors and certain medications increase the risk of kidney stone formation. Having already had a kidney stone in the past increases the risk substantially. Lifestyle plays an important part – sitting down for most of the day is another negative factor.
The detection of kidney stones that are too large to pass are usually discovered as blood in urine and the accompanying excruciating pain. Some people have remarked that the passing of large kidney stones is comparable to labor pains. The pain starts when the kidney stone leaves the kidney and tries to make its way through the urinary tract. The ureter has an average inner diameter of 4 mm and kidney stones larger than this (some are known to have reached 8mm in diameter!) will cause extreme discomfort.
It becomes obvious that prevention is better than cure. Kidney stones diet will help prevent kidney stones forming in the first place. This means that medicines, doctor visits, expensive diagnosis and possible surgery could be avoided.
An effective kidney stone diet needs lots of water so as to increase the amount of fluid in the body. As we saw before, dehydration is one of the major causes of kidney stones. So increasing water intake is the first step. Exercise such as walking helps a lot. Watching out for calcium intake as advised by a dietician is also important. People who have a tendency to form calcium oxalate kidney stones may be advised to limit their consumption of foods high in oxalate, such as spinach, rhubarb, beets, wheat germ, and peanuts.
Here is an example of a diet for someone who has kidney stones:
For breakfast: A cup of grapefruit juice, skimmed milk and coffee. One scrambled egg with 2 slices of white toast having a slight margarine spread. A cereal measuring ¾ of a cup can be also added together with half a banana.
For lunch: A plate containing 60g (2oz) of white meat chicken, together with a small amount of iceberg lettuce. A tablespoon of virgin olive oil or vinegar can be used for seasoning. A ½ cup of chopped tomatoes mixed with mushrooms can complement the main course. For dessert, a cup of watermelon or cantaloupe, a sugar cookie and a small cup of lemonade are allowed. A non fat yoghurt small cup is also ok.
For dinner: ½ cup of rice mixed with ½ a cup of peas served with 85g (or 3oz) of baked haddock. Some animal crackers, an apple and a dinner roll are also recommended. For fruit a ½ cup of green grapes is also acceptable together with a ½ cup of jello.
During breakfast, lunch and dinner a cup of water should always be drunk. Water is plentiful and is good for fluid intake as explained before. Throughout the day, the following tonic can be drunk to supplement the above diet: a 1/4 cup of fresh lemon / organic lemon juice mixed with 1/4 cup of Olive Oil (cold-pressed). This tonic should be drunk twice during the day also followed by a large glass of water.
As always, your best friend is your doctor and a dietician who will help you in providing more varied diets. If you suffer from other conditions such as diabetes, then your kidney stone diet will be changed accordingly. The taking of medications for other conditions will also affect your kidney stone diet.