Do Walnuts Cause Kidney Stones? Myths and Facts

Have you ever heard of the myth that walnuts cause kidney stones? Well, get ready to be surprised because there is a lot more to this claim than you might think. As someone who loves including walnuts in my diet, the idea that they could be causing harm to my body was truly concerning. So, I did some digging and now I’m here to share my findings on whether or not walnuts are really the culprit for kidney stones.

After scouring through countless articles and research studies, it’s clear that this is an incredibly complex issue. While some sources claim that walnuts can cause kidney stones, others suggest that there is no concrete evidence to support this claim. So, what’s the truth? The answer lies somewhere in between – while walnuts may not directly cause kidney stones, there are certain factors to be aware of when consuming them that could contribute to the development of stones.

At the end of the day, deciding whether or not to include walnuts in your diet is a personal choice that should be made with the help of a medical professional. While there is no concrete evidence to suggest that nuts in general are harmful to those with a history of kidney stones, it’s always a good idea to exercise caution and speak with a physician to ensure that you are making the best decisions for your health. So, before you swear off walnuts for good, take the time to educate yourself on this topic – your health will thank you.

Are Kidney Stones Caused by Diet?

Kidney stones are a painful condition that can affect anyone. They form when minerals in your urine become concentrated and crystallize. While there are many different factors that can contribute to the formation of kidney stones, one factor that has been studied extensively is diet.

  • A diet high in salt: Eating too much salt can increase the amount of calcium in your urine and contribute to the formation of kidney stones.
  • A diet high in oxalates: Foods high in oxalates, such as spinach, rhubarb, and almonds, can also contribute to the formation of kidney stones.
  • A diet low in calcium: Contrary to popular belief, a diet low in calcium can actually increase your risk of developing kidney stones. Calcium binds with oxalates in your gut, preventing them from being absorbed into your bloodstream and ultimately passing through your kidneys.

Additionally, there are other dietary factors that may increase your risk of developing kidney stones, such as consuming too much animal protein or not drinking enough fluids.

While diet is certainly an important factor to consider when it comes to kidney stone formation, it’s important to note that there are many other factors that can contribute as well. Genetics, medications, and underlying medical conditions can all play a role.

Preventative measures for kidney stones

Kidney stones are notoriously painful and can be challenging to treat. The good news is that there are measures you can take to minimize your risk of developing kidney stones. Here are a few preventative measures for kidney stones:

  • Stay hydrated: Drinking enough water is crucial to prevent kidney stones. Dehydration can cause the minerals in your urine to crystallize, leading to stone formation. Aim to drink at least eight to ten glasses of water per day.
  • Limit salt intake: Consuming too much salt can increase the amount of calcium in your urine, leading to kidney stones. Try to limit your daily salt intake to less than 2,300 milligrams.
  • Eat less animal protein: Eating too much animal protein can increase the levels of uric acid in your urine, which can lead to kidney stones. Try to limit your intake of meat, poultry, and fish.

In addition to these lifestyle changes, your doctor may recommend medication to prevent kidney stones. Depending on the cause of your kidney stones, you may benefit from medication that helps prevent the formation of stones in your urine, such as thiazide diuretics or allopurinol.

Another preventative measure for kidney stones is the use of dietary supplements. Some studies have shown that certain supplements, such as magnesium and citrate, can help prevent kidney stone formation.

Supplement Dosage Effectiveness
Magnesium 400-500mg/day Reduces the risk of kidney stones
Potassium citrate 60-90mEq/day Can reduce the risk of recurrent kidney stones

If you have a family history of kidney stones or have experienced them in the past, it is essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle and follow your doctor’s recommendations to prevent future stone formation. With proper preventative measures, you can reduce your risk of developing kidney stones and live a healthy, pain-free life.

What foods increase the risk of kidney stones?

Kidney stones are painful mineral deposits that form in the kidneys and urinary tract. They can be caused by several factors, including genetics, dehydration, and diet. While some foods can help prevent kidney stones, others can increase the risk of developing them.

Here are some foods to avoid if you have a history of kidney stones:

  • Oxalate-rich foods: Certain foods high in oxalates can increase urine oxalate levels and contribute to the formation of calcium oxalate kidney stones. Examples include spinach, rhubarb, beets, beet greens, and Swiss chard.
  • Salt: Too much salt can cause calcium to be excreted in the urine, which can contribute to the formation of kidney stones. Avoid processed foods and limit your salt intake to less than 2,300 mg per day.
  • Animal protein: A high intake of animal protein can increase the excretion of calcium and uric acid, two substances that can contribute to the development of kidney stones. Red meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs should be consumed in moderation.

It’s important to note that not all kidney stones are caused by diet, and avoiding these foods may not be enough to prevent them entirely. Consult with your doctor to determine the best course of action for preventing kidney stones.

To better understand which foods can lead to kidney stones, it’s essential to know what causes them. Kidney stones can be formed due to various causes, including low fluid intake, high salt and protein consumption, and certain medical conditions such as Crohn’s disease, hyperparathyroidism, and gout.

When there is an excess of calcium, oxalate, or uric acid in the urine, it binds together to form small clusters that eventually grow into large stones. The acidity of the urine also plays a significant role in stone formation. An excessively acidic environment can cause uric acid stones to form, while an alkaline environment can cause calcium phosphate stones.

Causes of kidney stones Examples of foods to avoid
High oxalate levels Spinach, rhubarb, beets, beet greens, Swiss chard, soy products, nuts, and tea
Elevated salt intake Processed foods, pickles, olives, canned vegetables, salty snacks, and cheese
Excess animal protein Red meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and high protein diets
Dehydration Low fluid intake, alcohol, and caffeine

In conclusion, if you’re prone to kidney stones, it’s critical to avoid or limit certain foods that can cause or contribute to their formation. A balanced diet, along with proper hydration and medical treatment if necessary, can help prevent or manage kidney stones effectively.

Health benefits of walnuts

Walnuts are not only a tasty snack but also incredibly nutritious. They are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats that can benefit your overall health.

  • Rich in antioxidants: Walnuts contain high levels of antioxidants, such as polyphenols and vitamin E, which can help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the body.
  • Improves brain function: The omega-3 fatty acids found in walnuts may help improve brain function, including memory and cognitive performance.
  • Reduces heart disease risk: Eating walnuts regularly may help lower your risk of heart disease by improving cholesterol levels and lowering high blood pressure.

Further studies suggest that consuming walnuts may also have a beneficial effect on gut health and reduce the risk of certain cancers.

Nutrient Amount per 1 ounce (28g) serving
Calories 185
Protein 4g
Fat 18g
Carbohydrates 4g
Fiber 2g

Overall, walnuts are a nutritious and healthful addition to any diet. Incorporating them into your regular diet can provide a wide range of benefits for your overall health and wellbeing.

Do walnuts contain oxalates, a risk factor for kidney stones?

As we discussed earlier, oxalates are compounds found in many foods that can increase the risk of kidney stones formation. Since walnuts are a common snack and a popular ingredient in many dishes, it’s worth examining whether they contain oxalates and whether they pose a risk for kidney stone formation.

  • Firstly, it’s essential to note that walnuts are a low oxalate food, containing only 12-15mg of oxalate per 100g serving.
  • In fact, walnuts are one of the safest nuts to consume when it comes to oxalates.
  • For comparison, other nuts that are high in oxalates include almonds (468mg/100g) and cashews (61mg/100g).

It’s important to note that even though walnuts are low in oxalates, consuming large amounts of any food that contains oxalates can increase the risk of kidney stone formation. Therefore, it’s essential to have a well-balanced diet and consume a variety of foods in moderation.

If you are prone to kidney stones or have had them in the past, it’s always best to consult with your healthcare provider on dietary recommendations that suit your individual needs.

Nut Oxalate content (mg/100g)
Walnuts 12-15
Almonds 468
Cashews 61

Overall, walnuts should not be a significant concern for those looking to avoid oxalates and kidney stones, as their oxalate content is relatively low. However, as with any food, moderation is crucial in maintaining a healthy and balanced diet.

Best Diets for Kidney Stone Prevention

Kidney stones are a painful condition that affects millions of people around the world. It occurs when crystal-like substances form in your urine and build up in your kidneys, forming stones. Diet is one of the most critical factors that contribute to the development of kidney stones. The good news is that you can prevent kidney stones by eating the right type and amount of food.

  • Drink enough fluids: One of the leading causes of kidney stones is dehydration. Drinking adequate fluids can help dilute the chemicals that form stones. Aim for at least 2-3 liters of fluid per day, including water, herbal teas, and low-sugar drinks.
  • Limit sodium: Too much sodium in your diet can increase the amount of calcium in your urine, leading to kidney stones. Aim for less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day.
  • Reduce animal protein: Animal protein contains purines, which are broken down into uric acid. Too much uric acid in your urine can lead to oxalate stones. Limit meat, fish, and poultry to no more than 6 ounces per day.

If you are prone to kidney stones, it is essential to know which foods to avoid. Foods high in oxalates, such as spinach, rhubarb, and beets, can increase your risk of kidney stones. Other foods high in oxalates are nuts and seeds, such as almonds, peanuts, and sesame seeds. However, not all nuts are equally high in oxalates. Let’s take a closer look at walnuts.

Do Walnuts Cause Kidney Stones?

Walnuts are an excellent source of protein, healthy fats, and vitamins. However, they are also high in oxalates, which can lead to the formation of kidney stones. According to the Oxalate Food List published by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, one ounce (28 grams) of walnuts contains 13.9 milligrams of oxalates. This amount is considered moderately high.

If you are prone to kidney stones, you may want to limit or avoid walnuts and other high-oxalate nuts and seeds. Instead, try eating low-oxalate nuts such as cashews, macadamia nuts, and hazelnuts. Remember to eat them in moderation, not exceeding 1-2 ounces per day.

By following a balanced and healthy diet that includes plenty of fluids and low-oxalate foods, you can reduce your risk of developing kidney stones. Consult with your doctor or a Registered Dietitian for personalized advice on your specific dietary needs to prevent kidney stones.

Symptoms and Treatment of Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are excruciatingly painful and can cause significant discomfort to those affected. They are a result of crystallized minerals that form in the kidneys, causing blockage and pain during urination. In this article, we will delve into the symptoms and treatment options for kidney stones.


  • Sharp pain in the back, side, or lower abdomen.
  • Painful urination that may be accompanied by blood.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Difficulty passing urine or a frequent urge to urinate.
  • Fever and chills (in severe cases).

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is crucial to seek medical attention immediately. Timely diagnosis and treatment can prevent complications such as kidney damage and infection.


Treatment for kidney stones depends on the size and location of the stone. Small stones may pass through the urinary tract without causing significant pain or discomfort and can be managed with home remedies such as drinking enough water and taking pain medication. However, larger stones may require medical intervention.

The following are some treatment options:

  • Shock wave lithotripsy: This non-invasive procedure uses high-frequency sound waves to break the stone into smaller pieces, which can then pass naturally through urine.
  • Ureteroscopy: A thin tube with a camera attached is inserted into the urinary tract to locate the stone. Small tools can then be used to remove the stone or break it into smaller pieces.
  • Percutaneous nephrolithotomy: A minimally invasive procedure that involves making a small incision in the back to gain access to the kidney to remove the stone.


Prevention is always better than cure, and the following steps can help prevent the formation of kidney stones:

Step Explanation
Drink plenty of water Water helps to dilute urine and flush out minerals that can form stones.
Eat a balanced diet Avoid consuming too much animal protein, salt, and sugar. Instead, opt for a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
Exercise regularly Regular exercise helps to maintain a healthy weight, which can reduce the risk of developing kidney stones.
Manage medical conditions Medical conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes can increase the risk of developing kidney stones. Therefore, it is essential to manage these conditions effectively.

If you are prone to developing kidney stones, it is vital to consult your doctor for appropriate preventive measures.

In conclusion, being aware of the symptoms of kidney stones, seeking medical attention when necessary, and adopting preventive measures can help to manage the condition effectively.

FAQs About Do Walnuts Cause Kidney Stones

Q: Are walnuts bad for kidneys?
A: There is no scientific evidence that proves walnuts are bad for kidneys. In fact, walnuts contain compounds that can prevent the formation of kidney stones.

Q: How can walnuts prevent kidney stones?
A: Walnuts contain high levels of potassium, magnesium, and calcium. These minerals can help reduce the risk of kidney stones by binding with oxalates in the body, which are responsible for the formation of stones.

Q: Can eating too many walnuts cause kidney stones?
A: Consuming an excessive amount of any food can be harmful to health. However, eating walnuts in moderation is not likely to cause kidney stones.

Q: What is the recommended amount of walnuts to eat to prevent kidney stones?
A: It is recommended to eat a handful (1-2 ounces) of walnuts per day, as part of a healthy and balanced diet that includes plenty of fluids.

Q: Are there any other foods that can prevent kidney stones?
A: Yes, foods that are high in citrate, such as lemons and limes, can also help prevent kidney stones.

Q: Do all nuts have the same effect on kidney stones as walnuts?
A: No, different nuts have different levels of minerals that can affect kidney stones differently. For example, almonds have less potassium than walnuts, while cashews have less calcium than walnuts.

Q: Should I talk to a doctor before adding walnuts to my diet?
A: If you have a history of kidney stones or any other medical condition, it is always best to consult with a doctor before making any changes to your diet.

Closing: Thanks for Reading!

We hope this article has helped clear up some of the confusion about whether walnuts cause kidney stones. There is no evidence that suggests walnuts are bad for kidneys, and in fact, they can be beneficial for preventing kidney stones. So go ahead and enjoy a handful of walnuts as part of a healthy diet! Don’t forget to come back for more informative articles on health and wellness.