Kidney stones or stones, medically called renal lithiasis, are accumulations of minerals produced by different components that are normally eliminated by the kidney.

It is considered that 10% of the population in industrialized countries have presented kidney stones at some point, and that incidence is increasing. The characteristics of the stones vary according to age, sex and associated diseases.

How Kidney Stones Form

Stone formation depends on the concentration of the urine and the presence of different minerals, which give rise to different types of stones.

Knowledge of the type of stone is important because it dictates a particular treatment and special approach to diet for kidney stones .

Types of kidney stones: they can be composed of:

  • Calcium oxalate.
  • Calcium phosphate.
  • Estruvita.
  • Uric acid.
  • Cistina.

Risk factors for kidney stones:

  • Genetic factors.
  • Hypercalcemia
  • Hyperparathyroidism
  • Kidney-related diseases.
  • Mellitus diabetes.
  • Obesity.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease


  • Dehydration
  • Diet.
  • Medication: furosemia.

Factors to take into account in the diet for kidney stones :

  • Avoid the high intake of oxalate found in certain foods (nuts, seeds, beets, spinach, and wheat flour).

It is necessary to have a balance with the consumption of calcium, since it is well known that calcium is an essential component for many cellular functions and to maintain bone health. A diet rich in calcium is usually recommended. But when there are risk factors, a family history of kidney stones, and triggers, you need to limit your calcium intake.

  • Avoid very high protein intake. At least 40% of the protein in the diet should come from plants that are less rich in oxalate than animal protein sources.
  • Avoid diets rich in sodium (salt).
  • Avoid dehydration or low fluid intake, you should drink a minimum of 2.5 liters of fluids a day. Sugary liquids and carbonated drinks should not be included.
  • Avoid strictly vegetarian diets.
  • Avoid excessive consumption of vitamin C and / or Vitamin D.
  • Consume products rich in phytates (wheat bran, legumes, beans, whole grains).
  • Avoid exposure to cytotoxic substances (residual pesticides, organic solvents).
  • Reduce the consumption of refined sugar, to less than 10% of the total of all carbohydrates for the day Fiber and fruits should predominate in the diet but not refined sugar, sweets, cakes, cookies, etc.

Foods to reduce kidney stones 

It must be remembered that the diet recommendations are preferably given after identifying the type of stone, that is, what is the mineral that forms the stones.

This is helpful in providing a more direct restriction strategy and avoiding a long list of allowed and discouraged foods.

Here is a general list of foods that are rich in the different minerals involved in kidney stone production:

Foods rich in oxalate:

  • Spinach.
  • Rhubarb.
  • Chives
  • Beet.
  • Amaranth.
  • Green tea.
  • Chocolate.
  • Walnuts.
  • Peanut.
  • Wheat bran.

Foods rich in calcium phosphate and uric acid:

  • Meats: beef and pork, particularly organ meats.
  • Eggs.
  • Fish and shellfish.
  • Dairy: milk and cheeses.
  • Bacon.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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