Vegan Health ArticlesNutrition and Renal Disease
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Protective Foods

Certain parts of the diet clearly help reduce the risk. The first is no surprise.

Water. Water dilutes the urine and keeps calcium, oxalates, and uric acid in solution. In research studies, those subjects whose total fluid intake (from all sources) over 24 hours was roughly 2.5 liters, the risk of a stone was about one-third less than that of subjects drinking only half that much.7 (They do not need to drink 2.5 liters of water per day; rather this is the total fluid consumption, including juices, soups, etc.) Patients need to understand that their thirst sense can lag behind their hydration status, and they may need to develop a routine for extra water consumption.

High-Potassium Foods. A study of 46,000 men conducted by Harvard University researchers found that a high potassium intake can cut the risk of kidney stones in half. Potassium helps the kidneys retain calcium, rather than sending it out into the urine. Potassium supplements are not generally necessary. Rather, a diet including regular servings of fruits, vegetables, and beans supplies plenty of potassium.

Calcium. Although most stones contain calcium, the calcium in foods does not necessarily contribute to stones. Calcium supplements taken between meals may increase the risk of stones, because about 8 percent of any extra dietary calcium passes into the urine.9,11 On the other hand, calcium consumed with meals has the opposite effect, reducing the risk of stones. The reason, apparently, is that calcium binds to oxalates in foods and holds them in the digestive tract, rather than allowing them to be absorbed.

Caffeine. Caffeinated beverages reduce the risk of stones. Caffeine’s diuretic effect causes the loss of both water and calcium, but the water loss is apparently the predominant effect. Similarly, alcoholic beverages are associated with a reduced risk of kidney stones, again presumably due to a diuretic effect. This is not a compelling reason to drink either coffee or alcohol, but their diuretic actions do present this advantage.

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We began this archive as a means of assisting our visitors in answering many of their health and diet questions, and in encouraging them to take a pro-active part in their own health. We believe the articles and information contained herein are true, but are not presenting them as advice. We, personally, have found that a whole food vegan diet has helped our own health, and simply wish to share with others the things we have found. Each of us must make our own decisions, for it's our own body. If you have a health problem, see your own physician.