Nutrition and Kidney Stones

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Nutrition and Kidney Stones
Lisa Peterson, Nutrition and Wellness Educator - University of Illinois Extension

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It’s National Kidney month. Up next University of Illinois Extension’s Todd Gleason has some ways to avoid kidney stones.

About a half a million Americans will go…
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About a half a million Americans will go to the emergency room this year doubled over in pain only to find out there’s not much to do except wait for the kidney stone to pass.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, kidney stones are hard, pebble-like, mineral deposits that form in one or both kidneys. Stones vary in size, shape, and composition. Some kidney stones are as small as a grain of sand, or as large as a pea. Kidney stones form when urine becomes highly concentrated allowing minerals to stick together forming the stones. Because of the variation in size and shape of stones, some kidney stones move through the urinary tract with little to no discomfort. Larger kidney stones can block urine flow in the kidneys, ureter, bladder, or urethra causing severe pain and may require surgery. Typically, kidney stones do not cause long-term damage. There are few things you can do to avoid kidney stones says University of Illinois Nutrition and Wellness Educator Lisa Peterson. Drinking more water is a good start.

Peterson :30 …slowly get a little more fluids in your body.

Quote Summary - The recommendation is about 3 to 4 liters of fluid which seems like alot. That’s 12 to 16 cups of fluids per day. It should mainly be water, but it does count juice and coffee. I tell people to go slowly into it. They say 12 to 16, so maybe aim for 8 and work your way up and slowly get a little more fluids in your body.

So, drink more water. You should also reduce your salt or sodium intake. The more sodium consumed the higher the risk of kidney stones. A high sodium diet increases the amount of calcium in urine.

Next, watch the oxalates.

Peterson :34 …watch how much them you are eating.

Quote Summary - Nuts, peanuts, rhubarb, spinach, beets, sweet potatoes, chocolate, okra, sweet chard, tea, soy products, and wheat bran are specifically high in oxalates. This does not mean completely cut out these healthy foods if you suffer from the common calcium oxalate kidney stones, but cutting down on consumption of foods high in oxalates or try combining them with food high in calcium. Watch how much them you are eating.

Research finds consuming high calcium foods such as milk, cheese, and yogurt with high oxalate foods helps the oxalates and calcium bind in the stomach and intestines before reaching the kidneys, making the formation of stones less likely.

You might just look to embrace the DASH Diet: Studies have found those who embrace the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet have a reduced risk for kidney stones. The DASH diet, endorsed by the American Heart Association, is rich in fruits, vegetables, and low in animal protein and fat.