Most people believe that tomatoes are linked to kidney stones. But are tomato seeds really to be blamed? We consulted a Senior Nephrologist, whether tomatoes are harmful for the kidneys. This is what he’s got to say.
Do Kidney Stones Develop From Tomatoes?
No. It is a fallacy that tomatoes cause kidney stones. Tomatoes are one of the most commonly eaten vegetables in the world and if it was responsible, then the number of people suffering from kidney stones would be alarming.
Then How Did This Fallacy Arise?
Tomatoes contain oxalates, which are responsible for the formation of kidney stones. What people do not understand, however, is that this quantity of oxalates in tomatoes is not sufficient to produce kidney stones since 100 g tomatoes contain just about 5 mg of oxalates. Also, people diagnosed with kidney stones are advised to limit and not completely shun tomatoes from their diet.
Can The Diet Change Avoid Kidney Stones?
Not that all kidney stones consist of the same crystals. It can be formed due to calcium oxalate or other oxalate crystals, uric acid, struvite stones and cystine stones. However, oxalate crystals are the most common types of kidney stones.
Just as removing tomatoes from your diet won’t benefit, it’s a prevalent misperception that some foods like meat will boost the danger of kidney stones.
For example, if it is caused due to excess uric acid in the body, then medications will be recommended. Foods that are rich in purine content such as animal proteins from fish and meat are restricted.
However, in this case, diet does not play a major role and hence, cutting down on these foods might fail to improve the condition unless supported by medications.
As well, if you suffer from oxalosis, an inborn metabolic defect in which the kidneys fail to remove calcium oxalate crystals from the body and thus accumulate them in the body resulting in stone formation, then diet alteration will not be enough.
Although a diet low in oxalates will be prescribed to patient suffering from this condition, medications form the major line of treatment.
So What Causes Kidney Stones?
An underlying health problem, deficiency of certain enzymes or metabolic problems can put you at risk of kidney stones. You might need medications to treat these underlying conditions.
Tips To Prevent Kidney Stones
- In India, the number one cause of kidney stones is poor hydration. This could be due to weather or availability of pure drinking water. Hence, whether you have a desk job or field work, ensure you drink at least 2-3 liters of water/fluids every day.
- Most people tend to drink a liter of water in the morning and a liter at night, which is not good for the kidneys. Instead, you need to religiously drink fluids throughout the day to dilute the urine and thus, prevent kidney stones in the long run.
- If the kidneys are not functioning properly, or if you suffer from diabetes and hypertension, then a diet low in proteins is advised, which means restricting non-vegetarian food, dal, milk and milk products is advised.