The holidays are a time to celebrate—don’t let kidney stones get you down! Whether you’re eating to decrease your risk of kidney stones or to prevent yourself from getting another one, here’s a list of great foods to eat during this holiday season to keep you kidney stone-free!
Although technically not a food, water is so important for preventing and reducing your risk of kidney stones. Kidney stones happen when there’s not enough water to flush out your kidneys, and mineral waste that’s in your urine builds up over time. Sip water this holiday season. If you’re drinking alcohol, drink water in between drinks.
Eat More Veggies
Meat can be very acidic, especially meat that’s not grass-fed. This can make your urine more acidic, which can increase your chances for kidney stones. It’s important to have a mostly plant-based diet when you’re trying to avoid kidney stones. Eat meat in moderation—remember, your plate should be mostly vegetables!
Get More Calcium and Magnesium
Many people are conditioned to think that because kidney stones are made of calcium oxalate, they should avoid calcium. This isn’t true, and in fact, not getting enough calcium can increase your risk of kidney stones. It’s best to get calcium from foods, as supplements have been controversial in helping kidney stones and could increase your risk.
Magnesium is a friend to calcium and can be helpful in preventing kidney stones. Vegetables like kale, bok choy, and broccoli can help you get enough calcium while foods like spinach, beans, nuts and seeds, and avocadoes can contribute to your magnesium intake.
Say No to Sugar
For many people, the holidays involve desserts such as pies, cakes and cookies. While these usually taste delicious, sugar is extremely acidic and can raise your risk of kidney stones, especially regular consumption. Even drinks like soda should be avoided. Eliminating or at least minimizing your sugar intake this holiday season is important—your kidneys will thank you!
Citrus foods are surprisingly alkaline. Their alkaline nature combined with their citrus compounds can help prevent kidney stones. Citrus fruits such as orange, lime, and lemon can help break up kidney stones or prevent the formation of them. Offer orange slices as a dessert, and sip water with lemon and lime. For extra fun, have sparkling water with fresh lemon and lime squeezed in—a much healthier version of Sprite! It’s important to make your own citrus drinks or find some without sugar.
While diet is certainly important in the prevention of kidney stones, it’s also important to remember to exercise this holiday season. With the colder weather, many people may not feel like getting outdoors and exercising. Join a local gym or do light exercises like yoga or a stationary bike to get you moving. This can help keep you at a healthy weight and prevent high blood pressure—two things that can contribute to kidney stone formation.
Stay healthy and happy this holiday season—be kidney stone-free! Happy Holidays!