There are several types of kidney stones but the most common ones are made of calcium oxalate and diet plays a big role in their formation.
Western-style diets, high in animal protein and sweets, tend to produce a lot of acid in the body and that increases the risk of kidney stones (Siener, 2021). Fruit and vegetables combat this acid and can help protect your kidneys a great deal. The only exception are oxalate-rich vegetables that are not recommended for people with oxalate stones – these include spinach, rhubarb and mangold. Virtually all other plant foods are great for the kidneys, help to protect them and prevent kidney stones.
Studies also found that an increased intake of arachidonic acid makes you more likely to develop kidney stones – the main sources are animal foods, including cheese (Kawashima, 2019; Siener, 2021).
So while both protein and arachidonic acid from dairy, meat, eggs and fish are bad news for the kidneys, plant foods are good news! When it comes to plant milks, research shows that the best choices for people with kidney stones or kidney disease are oat, rice, coconut and soya milk (Borin et al., 2021). Even though kidney stones are mostly formed of calcium oxalate, everyone needs sufficient calcium in their diet and fortified plant milks can be a great source.
Going dairy-free is not just a healthy choice, it’s also an ethical and sustainable one. If you’re used to meals based around meat and dairy, the idea of a plant-based diet may be daunting but we’re here to help make it super easy!
All about dairy
Find all the above and more in Viva!’s ground-breaking resources:
An eye-opening guide Why You Don’t Need Dairy– presenting information on health, animals and the environment in an easy-to-read format.
A practical guide on how to cut dairy out of your diet and all you need to know to live a healthy and delicious dairy-free life: Everyone’s Going Dairy-Free
If you want to know more about dairy and your health and explore what scientific studies have to say, see the in-depth report White Lies