Kidney stone risk may be reduced with a DASH diet plan. The DASH diet is commonly recommended to individuals looking to lower their blood pressure through dietary intervention. The DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. Well, a study now suggests that the DASH diet may be more effective than a low-oxalate diet for reducing the risk of kidney stones.
The DASH diet focuses on a high consumption of legumes and produce, and low on animal proteins, sweets, and refined grains. A low-oxalate diet focuses on consuming foods low in oxalate, which is a substance commonly found in kidney stones.
For the study, researchers looked at 41 participants who experienced recurrent kidney stones, and followed either the DASH diet or a low-oxalate diet.
Participants on the DASH diet had a 35 percent reduction in the risk of kidney stone formation, while those on a low-oxalate diet only saw a 14 percent drop.
Dr. Kerry Willis, the senior vice-president for Scientific Activities at the National Kidney Foundation, explained, “Previous studies have recommended that those with kidney stones follow a low-oxalate diet to reduce one’s chances of forming another stone. However, many high oxalate foods are healthful and a low-oxalate diet can be very restrictive. The DASH diet reflects a more balanced diet and, as a result, may be easier and more realistic to follow long term.”
Along with a diet high in fruits and vegetables, individuals should also stay well hydrated in order to prevent kidney stones.
DASH diet: Other benefits
The DASH diet isn’t only beneficial in preventing kidney stones. As mentioned, its original intent was to lower blood pressure and combat hypertension. The DASH diet can also offer other benefits, such as reduction of the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, weight loss aid, high content of potassium, magnesium, and fiber, as well as reduction in sodium intake. Essentially, the DASH diet can work to improve the overall health by increasing your intake of the foods you need and reducing or eliminating the foods that can cause harm.
DASH diet: Healthy eating plan
If you’re interested in the DASH diet for lower blood pressure and improved health, let us explain what foods are involved. For starters, the DASH diet aims at 2,000 calories a day, which may actually seem low for some people, but it is recommended as a healthy norm.
Grains should be consumed in six to eight servings a day. An example of one serving of grain is one piece of whole-wheat bread or one ounce of dry cereal.
Vegetable servings are four to five a day, and you want to focus on vegetables rich in potassium and magnesium, like sweet potatoes, carrots, and broccoli.
Fruits, too, should be consumed in four to five servings a day and should be incorporated as snacks or part of meals.
Low-fat dairy intake should amount to two to three servings, including low-fat yogurt or one cup of skim milk. If you have a lactose intolerance, opt for lactose-free products.
Lean meats, poultry, and fish should be consumed six times or less a week. You will want to trim off excess fat and consume heart-healthy fish like salmon.
Nuts, seeds, and legumes can be enjoyed four to five times a week. One serving of nuts, seeds, and legumes is half a cup of cooked beans or one-third cup of nuts.
Fats and oils are enjoyed two to three servings daily. Avoid trans and saturated fats, as that’s what negatively affects your cholesterol. One serving of fat is one teaspoon of soft margarine or one tablespoon of mayonnaise.
Lastly, sweets should be limited to five servings a week. When opting for sweets, ensure they are low in fat, like jelly or sorbet. Also, cut back on added sugars and artificial sugars.
Alcohol and caffeine both have a negative effect on blood pressure, so keep these beverages down to a minimum as well.
By following a DASH diet healthy eating plan, you can enjoy the many benefits the DASH diet has to offer.