Tweak Your Diet to Prevent Recurring Kidney Stones

Tweak Your Diet to Prevent Recurring Kidney Stones

If you’ve ever had a kidney stone, it wouldn’t be surprising if your top priority in life is to make sure you never get another one.

The blinding, excruciating pain that comes when passing one is enough to strike fear into anybody.

New research suggests that about 30 percent of people who’ve passed a kidney stone have a recurrence within five years. But the data also say there's something you can do to help to prevent it—and it’s relatively easy.

Change your diet.

It might not even require a full-scale change, either. It could be as simple as eating a little bit more calcium and potassium while cutting back on the processed foods that are all too common in the Western diet.

The researchers recommend two to three servings of low-fat dairy per day (milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.) to get roughly 1,200 milligrams per day (which is the current recommended daily intake). Potassium consumption is a little less defined, but eating as many fruits and vegetables as possible can ensure that you’re getting plenty.

Potassium-rich fruits and vegetables include bananas, grapefruits, apricots, mushrooms, peas, cucumbers, zucchini, and melons such as cantaloupe and honeydew.

Researchers from the Mayo Clinic arrived at their conclusion using data from questionnaires completed by kidney stone patients between 2009 and 2018. They compared the diets of 411 people who’d had kidney stones and a control group of 384 who hadn’t.

During a median follow-up period of just more than four years, 73 patients had recurrent kidney stones. Lower levels of calcium and potassium predicted that recurrence.

The good news is that, although people are unlikely to make dietary adjustments to prevent a first kidney stone, they're likely to make some changes to prevent having to live through the excruciating pain ever again.

Drinking plenty of water—upward of nine 12-ounce glasses per day—may also help prevent a recurrence.

If you’re hoping to avoid another kidney stone, try increasing potassium and calcium intake. It could make a huge difference in your risk for recurrence.

Mat Lecompte is a health and wellness reporter for Bel Marra Health, which first published this article.
Starting as a journalist over 10 years ago, Mat has not only honed his belief system and approach with practical experience, but he has also worked closely with nutritionists, dieticians, athletes, and fitness professionals. He embraces natural healing methods and believes that diet, exercise and willpower are the foundation of a healthy, happy, and drug-free existence.