If you have kidney stones, you are probably aware that your diet can have a major impact on your condition. Certain foods can worsen kidney stones while others can help them pass more easily and prevent them from recurring. Beverages are equally important. Those wondering what to drink for kidney stones may be interested in the benefits of consuming orange juice.
Is Orange Juice Good For Kidney Stones?
Orange juice is one of the most popular beverages in the world. Many start their mornings with a glass of orange juice, whether concentrated, frozen or fresh-squeezed. Yet there is some confusion over whether you should drink orange juice if you have kidney stones. One study found that drinking a glass of orange juice daily reduces the risk of kidney stones. The study also found that orange juice is more effective than other citrus beverages such as lemonade for preventing kidney stones.*
Why is Orange Juice Helpful For Kidney Stones?
There are a few possible reasons that orange juice can be therapeutic for people with kidney stones. Potassium citrate has long been recommended for managing and preventing kidney stones. Specific supplements for kidney stones contain potassium citrate. Citrus fruits, including oranges, lemons, and grapefruits, are natural sources of this nutrient.
The orange juice potassium level is quite high, with a single cup providing 496 mg. Oranges are also rich in nutrients such as Vitamin C, magnesium, and folate or Vitamin B9. Magnesium is another mineral that is important for controlling kidney stones.
Oranges and Oxalates
The most common form of kidney stones is calcium oxalate stones. If you have calcium oxalate stones, you are advised to avoid foods that are high in oxalates. Oranges are often listed as a high oxalate fruit. People with calcium oxalate stones should not consume large quantities of oranges. However, studies show that drinking moderate amounts of orange juice increase citrate levels in the urine and reduce uric acid and calcium oxalate. Drinking orange juice seems to be more beneficial than eating whole oranges for managing kidney stones.
Oxalate Values for Foods
Kidney C.O.P.® has examined the oxalate values of different food items. Learn more about its oxalate values in-depth.
Best Drinks For Kidney Stones
While you may enjoy orange juice with breakfast or other times, chances are you also drink plenty of other beverages as well. People typically sip drinks throughout the day, often without giving it much thought. Anyone with kidney stones should pay attention to what they’re drinking. Aside from orange juice, which beverages should you consume and which should you avoid?
- The best liquid to drink for kidney stones is water. Water provides pure hydration without added ingredients such as sugar. You can drink other beverages, but it’s best to make water your primary source of hydration. For variation and added nutrition, squeeze some fresh lemon into your water. This provides citrates, which help prevent kidney stones.
- Citrus juices, including orange juice and grapefruit juice, can be beneficial as they contain citrates. Lemonade is often recommended as lemons are also high in citrates. However, be wary of commercial mixes that are high in sugar. You can find sugar-free alternatives or make your own using a natural sweetener such as honey or stevia.
- You can also consume dairy-based beverages such as milk, yogurt drinks, and kefir. Dietary calcium has been shown to be beneficial for preventing kidney stones particularly if consumed at same time of consuming oxalate containing foods.
- There are other beverages you can consume in moderation. These include coffee, ginger ale, and sparkling water. Wine, beer, and other alcoholic beverages should only be consumed in moderation. While no direct connection between alcohol and kidney stones has been established, drinking too much alcohol puts a strain on all the organs. Certain beers are also high in oxalates.
Beverages to avoid include tea, which is high in oxalates. It’s also best to reduce your intake of any beverages with high sugar content, including soda, energy drinks, and sweetened fruit drinks.
Should You Drink Orange Juice For Kidney Stones?
The research is promising for orange juice as a way to help manage kidney stones. Based on these findings, it makes sense to incorporate orange juice and other citrus beverages into your diet. However, it’s not necessarily better to drink more orange juice. The major study on the topic had participants only drinking one glass daily. While nutritious, orange juice is also high in sugar. Kidney stone patients are usually advised to limit their intake of sugar. You should also ask your doctor’s advice if you have other health conditions that are affected by sugar, such as diabetes.
*Source: Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.