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Foods That Cause Kidney Stones

By Dan Keen ; Updated July 27, 2017

Kidney stones are sharp, irregularly shaped objects usually composed of calcium and oxalic acid. They can be excruciating painful as they pass from the kidney to the bladder and out through the urethra. The chemicals that form kidney stones usually stay dissolved in the urine, but when urine is alkaline, or when its output is greatly reduced, stones can form. Most kidney stones are caused by our diet and are preventable.


Many juices increase the risk of producing kidney stones, including apple juice, grapefruit and, when taken by women in the form of tablet supplements, cranberry juice. Soft drinks that contain phosphoric acid also put you at risk.

Lemon juice is beneficial because it helps acidify the urine, and vegetable juices are good as kidney cleansers. These include juices from green vegetables, carrots and watermelon. Drinking water is particularly helpful. Drink one glass of water every two waking hours.

Oxalic Acid Foods

Since many kidneys stones are made up of oxalic acid, it makes sense to avoid foods that contain it. These include chocolate, spinach, parsley, rhubarb, Concord grapes, tomatoes, collards, eggplant, beets, celery, summer squash, sweet potatoes, star fruit, okra, refried beans, swiss chard, almonds and sesame seeds.

Berries high in oxalic acids include blueberries, blackberries and strawberries, so restrict their consumption.


Too much calcium in the diet may cause it not be digested and absorbed. In this case, the calcium ends up in the kidneys. Calcium-containing foods to limit include milk, cheese and other dairy products.


Almost no one in America suffered from kidney stones 100 years ago. People ate more wholesome, natural foods, high in fiber and low in sugar. Today, our diet contains large amounts of sugar. Refined white sugar causes the body to produce high levels of insulin, which can leach calcium from bones and add it to the urinary system. Avoid foods that contain refined sugar.


Drinking plenty of water is very important in both the prevention and cure of kidney stones. Water reduces the concentration of minerals in the urine. Avoid salt, caffeine and alcohol, since these cause dehydration.

Animal Products

Foods high in fat, as well as all red meat, should be limited in your diet to help prevent kidney stones.

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