The Relationship Between a Vegan Diet and Kidney Stones
For those who don’t know, veganism is a type of diet that abstains from all animal products – that means no meat, no eggs, and no dairy. While there are many reasons why people choose to go vegan, one of the most common is health. After all, a plant-based diet has been shown to have numerous benefits, including reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer.
But what about kidney stones? Can vegan diet help prevent them? Let’s take a closer look at Vegan diet and kidney stones.
What Causes Kidney Stones?
Before we can answer the question of whether or not a vegan diet can help prevent kidney stones, we need to understand what causes them in the first place. Kidney stones are small, hard deposits that form in your kidneys when your urine contains more crystal-forming substances than fluid. This can happen when your diet lacks essential nutrients like calcium and water, or when you eat or drink too much of something that causes your urine to be acidic (like coffee or soda).
Does a Vegan Diet Prevent Kidney Stones?
Now that we know what causes kidney stones, let’s answer the question: does a vegan diet help prevent them? The answer appears to be yes – but only if it’s done right. Because as we mentioned earlier, many plant-based foods contain calcium oxalate – which, as we now know, is one of the main culprits behind kidney stones.
So how can vegans get enough calcium without increasing their risk of developing kidney stones? There are a few different ways:
By consuming calcium-rich plant-based foods: Foods like leafy green vegetables (spinach, kale), legumes (chickpeas, lentils), tofu, almonds, and fortified plant milk are all good sources of calcium. Just be sure to pair them with foods high in vitamin D (such as mushrooms exposed to sunlight or fortified foods) to improve absorption.
Taking a calcium supplement: If you’re worried you’re not getting enough calcium from your diet alone, you may consider taking a supplement. Just be sure not to overdo it – the recommended daily intake for adults is 1,000 mg/day.
You are drinking plenty of fluids: This one’s important for everyone, not just vegans! Drinking adequate fluids helps dilute the concentration of crystals in your urine – thus reducing your risk of kidney stones. Aim for 6-8 cups (1.5-2 L) per day.
A vegan diet can certainly help prevent kidney stones – but only if it’s done right. Be sure to consume plenty of calcium-rich plant-based foods and drink adequate fluids throughout the day to reduce risk. And if you’re still worried you’re not getting enough calcium, consider taking a supplement.