10 Foods That Can Trigger Kidney Stones & 10 That Help Prevent Them

10 Foods That Can Trigger Kidney Stones & 10 That Help Prevent Them

To put it mildly, kidney stones are painful and unpleasant. Whether you have to pass at home or are unlucky enough to need surgery, they’re best avoided at all costs—and a good way to prevent them is with the proper diet. Here are 10 foods that can promote kidney stone formation and 10 foods that help prevent them. 

1. Chocolate

Eat high-oxalate foods in moderation to better prevent kidney stones. A prime example is reducing chocolate intake—the sweet treat is high in oxalates and sugar, and too much of it can cause trouble down the road. 

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2. Red Meat

There are different kinds of kidney stones, however, which means further reduction of certain foods. For example, red meat like pork and beef is best left to a minimum; less consumption wards off multiple kinds of stones. 

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3. Excessive Sodium

In general, less salt is a good move for your kidneys. A lower-sodium diet helps prevent kidney stones and keeps cholesterol down, which is important for proper kidney function. 

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4. Fast Food

Fast food is not only highly processed but it’s also loaded with sodium—two things that can lead to kidney stone formation. To make matters worse, it’s packed with empty calories, grease, and high levels of fat. It’s best to keep away altogether. 

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5. Nuts

It’s a good idea to enjoy certain nuts in moderation. Walnuts, Brazil nuts, and almonds are all pretty high in oxalates, so while they don’t need to be cut out entirely, they shouldn’t be consumed regularly. 

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6. Soda

Hydration is crucial for kidney stone prevention, but mind what you drink. Studies show that some sodas lead to an increased risk of kidney stones, particularly due to ingredients like caffeine and high fructose corn syrup. 

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7. Beets

Beets are high in oxalates, so sufferers of calcium oxalate kidney stones should veer away from them. They’re an especially bad idea if you or someone in your family already has a history of kidney stones. 

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8. Spinach

Spinach is another veggie well-known for its oxalate content. However, it’s also loaded with vitamins and fiber, so you may not have to nix it entirely (unless a doctor says otherwise). Be mindful of how much you eat and what else is in your diet.

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9. Soy Foods

Some soy foods contain ingredients that encourage various stones, so consume them with caution. This means that things like soybean or soy milk should only be consumed in moderation, if at all depending on what your doctor recommends.

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10. Rhubarb

Rhubarb has a higher amount of oxalates, so it might be a good idea to limit your intake. If you’ve already struggled with calcium oxalate stones, rhubarb may only exacerbate the problem. Make sure you speak with your doctor to find out whether it should be kept off your diet altogether. 

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Now let’s dive into which foods can help ward off the potential of kidney stones.


1. Watermelon

As the name suggests, watermelon is filled with water, which not only helps keep kidney stones away but also promotes kidney function. Watermelon also comes with a healthy amount of potassium, ensuring your kidneys function properly while lowering blood pressure.

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2. Citrus Beverages

Orange and lemon juice are great defenders against kidney stones. In fact, a cup of either each day can help keep the little buggers away—however, orange juice is known to have more benefits.

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3. Cucumber

Cucumbers are packed with water, which is already helpful in kidney stone prevention, but they also have lots of antioxidants and boast low oxalate levels. Try to work them into your diet either through eating slices or incorporating them into a glass of water.  

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4. Celery

Celery has a high water content, which aids in kidney stone prevention. It also comes with all kinds of vitamins and antioxidants that promote overall kidney health, making them a terrific addition to any diet.

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5. Calcium-Rich Foods

It’s long been thought that avoiding calcium-rich foods prevents kidney stones. However, they can peacefully coexist with high-oxalate foods, which is why it’s important to speak with your doctor about the right diet. Don’t cut out yogurt or cheese until you speak with your physician! 

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6. Broccoli

Broccoli is often considered a superfood packed with vitamins and iron, and we can now add another benefit to the list. Turn to this classic vegetable to keep kidney stones away—it doesn’t have a ton of sodium or calories and is also low in oxalates. 

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7. Apples

An apple a day keeps the doctor and kidney stones away. What makes them so special is that they don’t have a lot of oxalates but they do have lots of antioxidants. They’re also a low-calorie option, making them a great option all around.

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8. Bananas

If you’re looking for another traditional fruit, bananas are right up your alley. Generally speaking, a higher potassium diet can help ward off kidney stones—and since bananas are full of it, they’re a prime example of beneficial fruit. Just be sure you speak with your doctor about how much to eat.

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9. Whole Grains

Given that highly processed foods may lead to kidney stones, it’s better to make the appropriate substitutions. Whole grains don’t come with any added preservatives and also have plenty of magnesium, which is a well-known contributor to stone prevention. 

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10. Water

At the end of the day, one of the best things you can do to ward off kidney stones is to remain hydrated. Nothing keeps you better hydrated than water, so be sure to drink plenty of it during the day!

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