List Top 10 Foods That Can Cause Kidney Stones

Written by Hexahealth Care Team, last updated on 5 June 2023
List Top 10 Foods That Can Cause Kidney Stones

When it comes to kidney stones, prevention is key, and one significant aspect to consider is your diet. Notably, there are some foods that cause kidney stones, so being mindful of what you eat is essential. 

Understanding the connection between your diet and kidney stone formation can empower you to make informed choices and reduce your risk of developing these painful stones. So, let's take a closer look at list of foods that cause kidney stones.

What are Kidney Stones?

Kidney stones are solid salt and mineral deposits that develop in the kidneys. They can range in size. They might be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a stone that can obstruct the urinary tract. 

Kidney stones are formed when the urine contains excessive crystal-forming substances like calcium, oxalate, and uric acid.

Small kidney stones may pass through the urinary system undetected, but larger stones can be extremely painful and demand medical attention.

Often, kidney stones have no definite or single cause. Several factors combined increase the risk of the formation of kidney stones.

Usually, kidney stones are formed due to obesity and the consumption of certain foods, as well as some medication, supplements, and medical conditions. 

Symptoms of Kidney Stones

Some people do not have symptoms of kidney stones till they move down the tubes, through which urine empties into the bladder. This causes an obstruction to the flow of urine. However, some of the common symptoms to watch out for are:

  1. Intense pain in the back or side
  2. Vaginal pain for women and testicle pain for men
  3. Abnormal urine colour
  4. Fever
  5. Nausea
  6. Chills
  7. Blood in the urine
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Role of Diet in Kidney Stone Formation

The role of diet in kidney stone formation is significant, as certain dietary factors can either contribute to or help prevent the development of kidney stones. Below mentioned are some of the key roles of diet in kidney stone formation.

  1. Fluid Intake: Drinking insufficient amounts of water can cause urine to become concentrated, which raises the risk of stone development. 
  2. Type of Salt Consumed: High salt intake can cause the urine to contain more calcium, which can cause calcium-based stones to develop. 
  3. Food items Rich in Minerals: Consuming food items that are rich in minerals such as oxalates and calcium can contribute to kidney stone formation.

Foods that Cause Kidney Stones

Irrespective of the type (calcium oxalate, struvite, uric acid, and cystine), kidney stones are extremely unpleasant. While kidney stones under 4 mm don’t cause permanent damage, it is important to monitor their size occasionally.

It is to be noted that avoiding or limiting certain food items and beverages can prevent kidney stone buildup. 

  1. Foods Rich in Oxalates: Oxalates are organic compounds found in different kinds of food items, especially vegetables. Oxalates top the list of foods that cause kidney stones because they bind easily to minerals like calcium.

    Some food items and beverages that are rich in oxalates are:
    1. Spinach
    2. Rhubarb
    3. Beetroot
    4. Okra 
    5. Nuts like almonds, pistachios, peanuts, and cashews
    6. Miso soup
    7. Baked potatoes
    8. Cocoa powder 
    9. French fries
    10. Raspberries
    11. Sweet potatoes 
    12. Bran cereals 
    13. Sweeteners like stevia
    14. Products containing soy, like tofu
  2. Food Items High on Sodium: A high sodium diet increases calcium concentration in the urine.

    We get sodium mainly through salt so salty food can cause kidney stones. Food items that are high in sodium are:
    1. Canned food items
    2. Cuisines like Chinese and Mexican
    3. Fast food items like burgers and pizzas
    4. Processed food items
    5. Condiments like soya sauce, tomato ketchup, and vinegar
  3. Animal Protein: Consumption of animal protein and seafood builds up calcium and uric acid in the body. This is a cause of kidney stones in the future. Food items to avoid are:
    1. Steaks
    2. Chicken
    3. Eggs 
    4. Red meat
    5. Organ meat like liver and kidney
  4. Sugar-Sweetened Beverages: Kidney stones are more likely to form if you regularly consume sugar-laden drinks like soda, energy drinks, and sweetened fruit juices.

    These drinks frequently include high levels of fructose, which can increase the concentrations of several chemicals in the urine that encourage the production of stones.

    A healthy option is to choose unsweetened beverages, water, or herbal tea.
  5. Caffeine: Caffeine has a dehydrating effect on the body as it drains out the fluids. This increases the chances of developing kidney stones.

    So, one should limit the consumption of beverages like coffee and tea that contain caffeine.
  6. Foods High on Fructose: Other than beverages with added sugar, several fruits and sweeteners have high fructose content. These include high-fructose corn syrup, honey, agave syrup, apples, grapes, and grape juice.

    Those at risk for kidney stones may need to limit their use of certain foods.\
  7. Alcohol: Dehydration, interference with regular kidney function, and an increased risk of kidney stone formation can all result from heavy alcohol intake. 
  8. Salty Snacks: The sodium level of snacks like chips, pretzels, and salted almonds is frequently high. These salty foods can increase the risk of kidney stone formation if consumed in excess.
  9. Processed Meat: The risk of stone development can be raised by the sodium content and additives found in processed meats like sausages, and hot dogs.
  10. Vitamin C Supplements: Studies have shown that too many vitamin C supplements can increase the possibility of kidney stones. However, this is a concern only if vitamin C is consumed in supplement form.

    That is why unprescribed consumption of supplements can be harmful to your health. There is no danger of kidney stones from consuming naturally occurring vitamin C in the food. 

Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Kidney Stones

The formation of kidney stones can be prevented by undertaking certain lifestyle changes. The chance of kidney stones developing can be decreased by adhering to these lifestyle recommendations, which can also improve general kidney health:

  1. Keep yourself Hydrated: It's crucial to have enough water in your system if you want to avoid kidney stone development. Aim to drink 8 cups (64 ounces) or more of water each day, or more if recommended by a healthcare provider.

    Drinking enough water helps to wash out chemicals that cause stones and dilute urine.
  2. Maintain Healthy Weight: Kidney stones are more likely to form in people who are overweight and obese.

    A balanced diet that emphasises whole foods, portion control, and regular exercise can help people maintain a healthy weight and lower their chance of developing stones.
  3. Increase Physical Activities: Regular exercise can help prevent kidney stones and improve general health.

    Weight management and stone prevention can be supported by moderate-intensity exercise performed for at least 150 minutes per week, or as directed by a healthcare professional.
  4. Limit Your Salt Intake: Too much sodium can lead to higher calcium levels in the urine, which can lead to kidney stones. Reduce your intake of processed and packaged foods because they frequently have high salt content.

    Instead, choose fresh, healthy foods and flavour your dishes with herbs, spices, and other seasonings.
  5. Manage Stress: Kidney stones may develop as a result of stress. Find healthy coping mechanisms for stress, such as mindfulness exercises, hobbies, or talking to loved ones or a mental health expert.

    Stress reduction can promote kidney function and maintain general well-being.
  6. Avoid Alcohol Consumption: Dehydration and an increased risk of kidney stone development can result from excessive alcohol use.

    If you choose to consume alcohol, do so in moderation and make sure to balance it out by drinking enough water or other non-alcoholic beverages to stay hydrated.
  7. Quit Smoking: Kidney stone production has been associated with an increased risk of smoking.

    In addition to improving kidney function, quitting smoking also improves general health and lowers the risk of developing a number of ailments.
  8. Regular Check-ups and Monitoring: To keep an eye on the health of your kidneys, schedule regular checkups with your doctor.

    They can do blood and urine tests, and imaging studies, and provide tailored recommendations based on your unique requirements and risk factors.

When to Consult a Doctor?

For prompt diagnosis, treatment, and management of kidney stones, it's important to consult a doctor.

Despite the fact that some minor kidney stones may dissolve on their own, severe conditions demand medical intervention. Here are some signs that you should see a doctor:

  1. Severe pain
  2. Blood in urine
  3. Inability to pass urine
  4. Frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  5. Fever and chills
  6. History of kidney stones
  7. Symptoms that persist for a longer time 


Kidney stones are often caused due to a poorly managed diet. Once you know the foods that cause kidney stones, they can be avoided. Limiting certain foods or eliminating them can help prevent the formation of kidney stones in the future.

You can also undertake certain lifestyle changes to prevent the risk of developing kidney stones.

If you need assistance managing your condition, then HexaHealth’s executive can help you connect with a reputable doctor.

At HexaHealth, we understand your needs and concerns and we try our best to provide you the best in class services for any of your healthcare needs. So why wait? Contact an HexaHealth expert TODAY!  

Suggested Reads

Indian diet for kidney stone patients Kidney Stone Diet Chart in Hindi
What are the First Signs of Kidney Stones Blood Test for Kidney Stones


Frequently Asked Questions

What are some foods that cause kidney stones?

Consumption of foods that cause kidney stones should be avoided:

  1. Spinach
  2. Almonds,
  3. Cashews
  4. Okra
  5. Sweet potatoes
  6. Salty food items
  7. Red meat
  8. Sardines
  9. Anchovies are on the list of foods that can cause kidney stones. 

Provide a list of foods that cause kidney stones.

The list of foods that can cause kidney stones includes:

  1. Organ meat
  2. Red meat
  3. Alcoholic beverages
  4. Sardines
  5. Anchovies
  6. Okra
  7. Cashews
  8. Sweet potatoes
  9. Spinach
  10. Almonds

Avoid foods that cause kidney stones and consume mostly whole grains, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products. 

What are the specific foods that increase the risk of kidney stones?

Most plant-based foods are on the list of foods that can cause kidney stones. This is because plants contain a chemical compound called oxalate. Food items like:

  1. Spinach
  2. Almonds
  3. Cashews
  4. Okra
  5. Rhubarb
  6. Sweet potatoes
  7. Raspberries are rich in oxalates and can increase the risk of kidney stones

Avoid eating these foods that cause kidney stones. 

Is there a comprehensive list of foods to avoid for kidney stone prevention?

There is no comprehensive list of foods that can cause kidney stones. Avoid high-purine food items like:

  1. Red meat
  2. Sardines
  3. Anchovies
  4. Shellfish
  5. Alcoholic beverages

These are foods that cause kidney stones.

  1. Whole grains
  2. Fruits
  3. Vegetables
  4. Low-fat dairy products should be consumed instead.

Are there any dietary guidelines for people prone to kidney stones?

You can consume plenty of water and limit food with high oxalates. Avoid higher salt intake and processed meat; consume calcium supplements only after consulting with a doctor. Also, avoid consuming a list of foods that can cause kidney stones. 

Can certain foods help prevent kidney stone formation?

Food items with low oxalates help prevent kidney stone formation. This includes:

  1. Grapes
  2. Bananas
  3. Cucumbers
  4. Peas
  5. Low-fat dairy products
  6. Citrus fruits. 

What is the link between high oxalate foods and kidney stones?

Oxalates are compounds found in plant-based food items and are usually harmless for most people, and are not on the list of foods that can cause kidney stones.

But, for people at risk of developing kidney stones or who have one, a diet high in oxalates is not recommended.

The reason is that the most common kind of kidney stone is made from calcium oxalate. It is best to avoid consumption of these foods that cause kidney stones. 

Is there a connection between high sodium intake and kidney stones?

Too much salt can cause kidney stones. This is because excessive sodium increases the amount of calcium present in the urine.

Consumption of excessive sodium is on the list of foods that can cause kidney stones. 

The total daily sodium intake should be less than 2,300 mg. People who have had kidney stones in the past should limit their intake to 1,500 mg.  

Fried food, processed food, and salad dressings are rich in sodium and are foods that cause kidney stones. 

How does a high-protein diet affect kidney stone formation?

Animal protein like red meat and seafood increases uric acid levels. These are some foods that cause kidney stones.

Also, protein reduces the levels of citrate - a chemical found in the urine that helps prevent the formation of kidney stones. 

What are some healthy food alternatives for people with kidney stones?

Food items that are rich in potassium help prevent kidney stones. These food items and beverages include:

  1. Bananas
  2. Cantaloupes
  3. Orange juice
  4. Papaya
  5. Honeydew melon. 


All the articles on HexaHealth are supported by verified medically-recognized sources such as; peer-reviewed academic research papers, research institutions, and medical journals. Our medical reviewers also check references of the articles to prioritize accuracy and relevance. Refer to our detailed editorial policy for more information.

  1. National Kidney Foundation. Kidney Stone Diet Plan and Prevention [Internet]. National Kidney Foundation.
  2. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Eating, Diet, & Nutrition for Kidney Stones | NIDDK [Internet]. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
  3. High Oxalate Foods That Can Cause Kidney Stones [Internet].
  4. Tips on How You Can Avoid Kidney Stones [Internet]. WebMD. link
  5. Kidney Stone Diet: Foods to Eat and Avoid [Internet]. Healthline.
  6. The kidney stone diet: Foods to include and avoid [Internet].

Updated on : 5 June 2023


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HexaHealth Care Team

HexaHealth Care Team brings you medical content covering many important conditions, procedures falling under different medical specialities. The content published is thoroughly reviewed by our panel of qualified doctors for its accuracy and relevance.

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