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Medical Mythbuster: Can You Really Fight Off Kidney Stones With Food?

By Dr. Michael Jacobson
Division of Urology

Kidney stones are a real pain (ask anyone who’s had one). Fortunately, changing your diet (as well as taking certain medications) has been shown to be effective in stopping a stone from forming in the first place and keeping you from getting one in the future. Here’s some proven ways to prevent kidney stones using food:

  • More Fluids. Drink enough fluids each day: Consume three liters, or ten, 10-ounce glasses.
  • Eat lots of fruits & veggies. Five servings each of ½ cup are recommended.
  • Less Meat. Eat more plant-based protein and limit meat: strive for one small portion a day.
  • Eat more calcium-rich foods: about 1,000 milligrams per day.
  • Less Salt. Limit sodium in your diet: 2,300 mg – or one teaspoon of salt – per day.
  • Consume low oxalate foods. If your urine oxalate is high, eat foods containing low oxalate levels (your doctor can test your levels)
  • Limit foods that are high in oxalate. Certain types of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and starches are high in oxalate and should be consumed less. Learn more here.

It can be hard to change our eating habits, but simple changes to our diet can bring great benefits. The tips above can not only help with kidney stones, but may help lower your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels too.

Kidney stones form for different reasons, and not every tip will work for everyone. So be sure to talk to your health care provider if you have questions about preventing or treating a kidney stone.

Medical Mythbuster: Can You Really Fight Off Kidney Stones With Food?

About Michael Jacobson, MD

Dr. Michael Jacobson made the decision to go to medical school after he had completed his PhD and started a career in chemistry. “Even though I enjoyed chemistry, after a time I realized that I didn’t want to spend all day in a lab working by myself,” he explains. “I really enjoy human interaction and working with other people. That made me realize that medicine was the right field for me.”

As a urologist, Dr. Jacobson...

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