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A diet high in fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts is believed to reduce the risk of kidney stones in addition to lowering blood pressure, according to a small new study published in the March issue of the National Kidney Foundation’s American Journal of Kidney Diseases.  This diet is also moderate in low-fat dairy products and low in meat, refined grains and white sugar.

Researchers compared a low-oxalate diet, which is frequently prescribed for prevention and treatment of kidney stones, to a Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH)-style diet, finding the latter potentially more effective in reducing risk of calcium oxalate kidney stones, the most common type.

Oxalate is found naturally in a number of nutritious foods, including sweet potatoes, kale, rice bran, beets, navy beans, almonds, spinach and rhubarb.

The National Kidney Foundation notes that most kidney stones form when oxalate binds to calcium as urine is being produced by the kidneys. New research suggests that rather than eliminating oxalate foods from the diet, eating and drinking calcium and oxalate-rich foods together may be more beneficial.  Oxalate and calcium are more likely to bind in the stomach and intestines when eaten together, making it less probable kidney stones will form.

Most people do not eat single, isolated nutrients, such as oxalate, but rather meals consisting of a variety of foods. So a practical diet plan for kidney stone prevention should be based on the cumulative effects of foods and the impact overall dietary patterns have on risk for stone formation rather than single nutrients.

In addition to eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables, the National Kidney Foundation also recommends drinking lots of fluids– water, particularly, to reduce kidney stone risk.


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