Diet for kidney stones: Stay away from tomatoes and co?

Kidney stones are common and can come back again and again. With the right diet, however, you can try to prevent kidney stone formation. What you should pay attention to and in which cases it is better to avoid foods containing oxalates such as tomatoes and the like.

In this article you will learn:

  • How kidney stones are formed and what role your diet and your drinking habits play in this.
  • Which foods you prefer or which you should avoid and what you should pay attention to when cooking and preparing.
  • What you can do yourself to prevent new kidney stones from forming.

Kidney Stones and Your Diet

Kidney stones or urinary stones arise from mostly water-soluble constituents of the urine such as salts and urea , which are produced in the metabolism and excreted in the urine. If there is too much of it in the urine, they crystallize out. This happens especially when the urine is permanently too concentrated, e.g. B. drink too little overall or if you lose a lot of fluids over a long period of time , e.g. B. with persistent diarrhea, vomiting or regular heavy sweating, and not paying attention to fluid balance.

However, the increased formation of crystals also occurs if there is a disproportion between stone-forming and stone-dissolving substances in the urine or the pH value of your urine shifts. This is where the type of diet you eat plays an important role.

Not all kidney stones are created equal

When crystals form in the urine , the fine solids usually leave the body naturally. Often you don’t even notice it. However, if the small particles remain, they can clump together over time and more crystals can adhere. This creates stone-like structures that can be very different in size. Some kidney stones are only reminiscent of a grain of rice, while others can reach several centimeters or fill the entire renal pelvis . In addition to their size, kidney stones also differ in the type of their composition, i.e. the substances from which they are formed.

One differentiates above allthe following types of kidney stones . The percentages given are primarily intended to serve as a classification. Depending on the study, these vary:

  • Calcium Oxalate Stones: These kidney stones consist mostly of calcium and oxalate. At around 70-75 percent, they are by far the most common type of kidney stone.
  • Calcium phosphate stones mainly contain calcium and phosphate. They are present in around 10 percent of all cases.
  • Uric acid stones also make up about 10 percent of all kidney stones.
  • Magnesium-ammonium-phosphate stones are also called infection stones or struvite stones. They usually occur as a result of frequent urinary tract infections. Their share is around 5-10 percent.
  • Cystine stones are very rare and only occur in about 1 percent of all cases.

Kidney Stones and Ureteral Stones: What’s the Difference?

Kidney stones can occur in the renal pelvis, in the kidney calyx and in the urinary tract. Depending on where the stones are, the doctor also speaks of kidney stones, ureter stones or bladder stones . As a rule, however, what is meant is always the same thing. Very small kidney stones often leave the urinary tract almost unnoticed when urinating. However, if the kidney stones are too large, they can block the urinary tract . The blockage and the resulting urine congestion lead to renal colic with extremely severe pain, often accompanied by nausea and vomiting .

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Kidney stones can develop faster than expected if the fluid balance is not observed.

Kidney stones cause: An unhealthy lifestyle is often to blame

Kidney stones are widespread in this country and are increasing more and more. According to the German Society for Urology, the number of new kidney stone cases in Germany has tripled in the last 10 years . This means that kidney stones are a real widespread disease . Currently around five percent of all German citizens are affected once or even several times in their lives – men significantly more often than women . A certain tendency to develop kidney stones can be inherited.

However, it is still not clear why kidney stones develop . Several factors are believed to be likely to play a role. It is noticeable that kidney stones occur particularly frequently in connection with the western lifestyle, which is widespread in this country, as well as its secondary diseases and certain eating and drinking habits .

The main risk factors for kidney stones are:

  • Permanent lack of fluids
  • Diet with excessive meat and sausage
  • Frequent consumption of heavily sweetened and phosphate-containing beverages, such as B. Cola and soda
  • Excessive consumption of foods that contain a lot of oxalic acid, such as spinach, chocolate, cocoa, etc.
  • Diet that is too high in calcium
  • Too salty diet
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Urea metabolic diseases, e.g. B. Gout
  • Fat metabolism disorders
  • Sedentary lifestyle and bed restraint
  • Rapid weight loss without adequate hydration (e.g. crash diets)
  • Ketogenic diets (e.g. Atkins diet) that are high in protein

In addition, other factors can also promote the formation of kidney stones:

  • Frequent urinary tract infections change the pH of the urine unfavorably, which makes it easier for crystals to form.
  • Kidney malformations or other anatomical features of the urinary tract, e.g. B. Constrictions can make it difficult to drain urine.
  • Parathyroid disorders can increase the amount of phosphate in the urine.
  • Cortisone treatments, vitamin D overdoses, high calcium intake from food supplements (e.g. for osteoporosis) can increase the calcium content in the urine.
  • Chronic gastrointestinal diseases, e.g. B. Crohn’s disease.

Kidney stones: urine as a reflection of your drinking and eating habits

Unfortunately, if you’ve had kidney stones before, the chances are pretty high that you will get them again. The German Society for Urology e. V. speaks in its guidelines of a risk of up to 50 percent that new kidney stones will form again after the first stone disease . In most cases, however, you can directly influence the development of new kidney stones by changing your eating and drinking habits . Because diet and drinking habits have a strong influence on the composition, concentration and pH of your urine. And all of these three factors, in turn, play an important role in whether or not kidney stones develop.

Kidney stone diet: what can I eat and drink?

One of the most important things you can do to prevent new kidney stones from forming is to drink a lot. Water dilutes the urine, so the urine volume is increased and everything remains “in solution”.

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Drink a lot!

The German Society for Urology e. V. recommends in their guidelines for the prevention of new kidney stones to drink at least 2.5 to 3 liters of fluid per day . You should also make sure to drink as much as possible evenly throughout the day so that there are no concentration peaks. When choosing drinks, you should pay attention to low-mineral water with little or no carbon dioxide or use sugar-free teas or light juice spritzers.

Coffee and tea are allowed and count towards the balance sheet. On the other hand, you should avoid heavily sweetened soft drinks such as soda or cola. Because just one liter of lemonade is full of empty calories due to its sugar content, i.e. a lot of energy. Cola containing phosphate in particular can increase the risk of stone formation. You should also be cautious about alcoholic beverages. They dehydrate and also promote the formation of uric acid .

A healthy lifestyle also includes adequate fluid intake.

General nutrition tips for kidney stones

In addition to drinking habits, you can also prevent new stone formation by eating the right diet. In general, a balanced, high-fiber diet based on the Mediterranean principle with lots of whole grain products, fresh fruit and vegetables as well as little meat and animal fats is considered cheap.

Little protein

Because the consumption of excessive animal, but also vegetable protein, in the form of meat, sausage, fish, eggs, etc. as well as legumes, tofu, etc. increases the calcium and uric acid concentration and also lowers the pH value of the urine . This promotes the crystallization of both substances. In order for our body to still function, we of course need the essential amino acids . So it’s better to eat less protein, but make sure you have a balanced composition.

A lot of fruits and vegetables

Fruit and vegetables, on the other hand, increase the pH of the urine , which inhibits the loss of calcium and uric acid dissolved in the urine.

Little sugar and salt

Salt promotes the release of calcium into the urine. The same goes for sugar. When preparing food, you should therefore use as little salt as possible and avoid foods and drinks that are very sugary as far as possible.

Kidney stone-specific nutrition for targeted prevention

In addition to these general dietary rules, you can be particularly effective in preventing the formation of new kidney stones if you know the chemical composition of your kidney stone . The nutrition plan is then individually tailored to the type of kidney stone you are most likely to experience:

Diet for potassium oxalate stones

If, like over 70 percent of all kidney stone patients, you have a tendency to form calcium oxalate stones, your urine contains too much calcium and oxalate . Calcium is found primarily in milk and dairy products and is important for building your bones . In addition, it is now known that calcium binds oxalate in the intestine so that it is not excreted in the urine. You should therefore by no means completely forego calcium. However, it is enough if you consume around 1000 to 1200 mg of this mineral every day. A quarter of a liter of milk, quark or yoghurt and around 50 grams of cheese contain that much.

On the other hand, to reduce the amount of oxalate released into the urine , avoid foods that are particularly high in oxalic acid . Foods that are particularly rich in oxalic acid include: spinach, cocoa, green tea, rhubarb, chard, chocolate, amaranth, peppermint, beetroot and parsley. By the way, oxalic acid is contained in many foods, including tomatoes and dandelions . Here, however, only in a comparatively low concentration. You can therefore eat these otherwise very healthy vegetables, but you should make sure that the portions are not too generous .

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Milk is high in calcium but should be consumed in moderation.
Diet for calcium phosphate stones

In addition to a moderate calcium intake of around 1000 mg per day, you should reduce the consumption of foods with a high phosphate content if you are prone to calcium phosphate stones . Contain a lot of phosphate z. B. Processed cheese, cola, sausage, peanuts as well as preservatives and raising agents.

Diet for uric acid stones

Uric acid stones are considered to be predominantly diet-related . Because uric acid is the metabolic product of purine , which is mainly found in foods with a high protein content, but also in beer. If you are prone to the formation of uric acid stones, you should therefore avoid eating foods with a high purine content such as fish, meat, crustaceans and shellfish, nuts, legumes and beer.

Nutrition with magnesium-ammonium-phosphate stones

In this case, you should avoid foods with a high phosphate content such as sausage, processed cheese, cola etc. if possible. You should still eat magnesium-containing foods such as broccoli or bananas, because, like calcium, magnesium also binds oxalic acid in the intestine.

Diet for cystine stones

Cystine stones are very rare and are the result of a congenital metabolic disorder known as cystinuria . Animal proteins are only allowed to be consumed to a very limited extent here. In most cases, it is also necessary to take medication .

Diet for kidney stones: Stay away from tomatoes and the like?

  • Kidney stones are metabolic products dissolved in the urine that crystallize and can vary in size.
  • What you eat, what and how much you drink has a strong influence on the composition, concentration and pH of your urine.
  • Depending on which constituents predominate in the urine, the stones are made up of different substances. By far the most common kidney stones are calcium oxalate stones.
  • By changing your eating habits, you can effectively prevent the formation of new kidney stones.
  • You should drink a lot of unsweetened liquids – preferably 2.5 to 3 liters – per day. Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages should be the exception.
  • A menu with lots of fruit, vegetables and salad is particularly helpful. Meat, sausage and animal fats, on the other hand, should rarely be on the table.
  • You should also limit your salt and sugar consumption. It shouldn’t be more than 6 grams of salt – that’s about a teaspoon full – per day. You should note that many foods already contain large amounts of salt.
  • If you are prone to calcium oxalate stones, you should also avoid foods that are high in oxalic acid or oxalate. These include above all spinach, rhubarb, Swiss chard, cocoa and beetroot. Oxalic acid is also found in tomatoes. Compared to spinach or Swiss chard, only relatively little.
  • To avoid the formation of uric acid stones, you should limit the consumption of foods with a high purine content. This includes above all protein-heavy foods such as fish, meat, seafood and legumes, nuts, but also beer.
  • If you also follow a healthy lifestyle with enough exercise and little stress and try to reduce any excess weight, you can lower the risk of kidney stone disease even further.-

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