Drinking plenty of fluid is the best way to avoid kidney stones. Aim for 2 – 3 litres (4 – 6 pints) per day of liquids such as water or squash.
When you are drinking enough fluid, your urine will be clear rather than yellow in colour. Aim to keep your urine a clear colour at all times, including first thing in the morning.
Taking a glass of water or squash to bed with you if a good idea.
Alcoholic drinks do not increase your risk of kidney stones. You should continue to drink 2 – 3 litres of non-alcoholic fluid per day in addition to any alcoholic drinks.
Reducing the amount of animal protein in your diet can help reduce your risk of kidney stone formation. (Animal protein comes from red meat such as beef, pork, lamb, and also chicken and fish). Protein is an essential nutrient in the diet; therefore, an adequate (no more than 2 portions) intake is important. It is important not to cut out animal protein altogether.
Calcium containing food
You should aim to eat 3 portions of calcium containing foods every day (as part of your meals).
Examples of calcium containing foods are:
- Milk 1 glass (200 mls)
- Yoghurt 1 pot (125g)
- Cheese matchbox size (1oz/25g)
- Soya milk calcium enriched 1 glass (200mls)
A chemical that combines with calcium in urine to form the most common type of kidney stone.
A number of foods are high in Oxalate. Too much food containing Oxalate may increase your risk of forming another kidney stone, so where possible, avoid the following foods:
- Most berries
- Wheat bran(contained in cereals/bread)
A high intake of salt is associated with kidney stone formation. To reduce the salt in your diet, keep salt in cooking to a minimum (or better, do not cook with salt at all), and do not add salt to cooked food.
Check labels on processed foods and convenience foods as these have a high salt content. Avoid foods which contain more sodium (salt) than 0.5 grams per 100 grams.
- Foods high in salt to avoid include:
- Meats – Bacon, ham, sausage, corned beef, tongue, luncheon meat, beef burgers, all tinned meats
- Fish- Smoked fish or shellfish, kippers, yellow haddock, cockles, prawns, mussels, tinned fish in brine
- Spreads – Butter, fish and meat pastes, peanut butter, pâté and sandwich spreads
- Snacks – Salty and savoury biscuits, crisps and nuts
- Cereals – Breakfast cereals high in salt
- Flavourings- Marmite, Bovril, Oxo, gravy, salt, soy sauce, celery salt, garlic salt, horseradish, onion salt, ‘Season all’ and ‘jerk’ seasoning
It is important that you make a list of all medicines you are taking and bring it with you to all your follow-up clinic appointments. If you have any questions at all, please ask your consultant, or nurse. It may help to write down questions as you think of them so that you have them ready. It may also help to bring someone with you when you attend your outpatient appointments.
Authors – Consultant Urologist Panel West Midland Stone Network