Have you heard that you should eat pineapple, or drink pineapple juice, to prevent or dissolve kidney stones? Is this true? Is pineapple good for kidney stones?
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What Prevents Kidney Stones?
Before we jump into learning if pineapple is good for kidney stones, it is important to know what you can do to prevent kidney stones in the first place.
Drink Lots of Water
Perhaps the most important thing you can do to prevent kidney stones is to drink lots of fluid. The American Urological Association recommends drinking enough to make 2 1/2 liters of urine each day to prevent kidney stones.(1) For most people, this means drinking about 3 liters of fluid each day.
Using a high-tech water bottle, such as the HidrateSpark* can help you meet your water goals!
Stay Away From Salt
Controlling how much salt you eat is key to kidney stone prevention. A high sodium diet can cause kidney stones by increasing the amount of calcium in your urine.
Limit sodium to 2,300mg per day.(1) This is about the amount of sodium in 1 teaspoon of salt. Remember, the first step to following a low sodium diet is to choose foods that are low in salt in the first place!
Get In Your Fruits & Vegetables
People who eat lots of fruits and vegetables have a much lower risk of kidney stones.(2) Fruits and vegetables are rich in healthy vitamins and minerals, have a low diet acid load, and provide citrate. Citrate is a powerful inhibitor of kidney stone formation.
Nearly all fruits are great for kidney stone prevention. If you like pineapple, it is a tasty choice to help get in your fruits and veggies!
Eat A Well Balanced Diet
Overall, the best thing you can do to prevent kidney stones is to eat a well-balanced diet. Learn more about healthy eating for kidney stone prevention.
Like many fruits, pineapple is a great source of fiber, vitamin C and other vitamins and minerals. Like most fruits, pineapple is also very low in sodium, protein and fat.
Pineapple also contains an enzyme called bromelain. Bromelain is historically used as a meat tenderizer because it can break down collagen and other proteins, making meat more tender and tasty! (3)
Research related to kidney stones and bromelain is sparse. One small study found that supplemental bromelain, in addition to tamsulosin (Flomax), made more stones pass without medical intervention. However, bromelain did not make stones pass faster.(7) Because supplements were used in this study, it is unclear if eating pineapple (or, drinking pineapple juice) provides enough bromelain to help pass kidney stones. Much more research is needed before bromelain (or pineapple) can be recommended for kidney stone prevention and treatment.
Pineapple also has a compound called citrate in it. Citrate is also known as citric acid. Citrate binds to calcium and stops calcium kidney stones from forming. In fact, citrate is commonly prescribed as a medication to prevent kidney stones.
Citrate is common in most fruits, but is especially high in citrus fruits. This is the reason behind the common advice to drink lemon juice for kidney stone prevention.
Pineapple does have some citrate in it. (8) Eating pineapple, along with other fruits and vegetables, can help increase urine citrate and prevent kidney stones.
If your urine citrate is very low, you may not be able to raise it with food alone and you might need medication. Ask your doctor what is right for you.
Limiting how much oxalate you eat may be important if your urine oxalate is high. Fresh pineapple is a great choice for a low in oxalate as it has only 4mg of oxalate per cup. Pineapple is a great low oxalate snack choice!
Be careful with dried or canned pineapple. A 1/2 cup of dried pineapple has 30mg of oxalate. Canned pineapple has 24mg oxalate per 1/2 cup. Processing can modify the amount of oxalate in food.
Pineapple juice is low with only 3mg oxalate per 4oz serving.
Pineapple & Kidney Stones
Pineapple For Kidney Stone Prevention
No research has been done to see if pineapple, specifically, can reduce the risk of developing kidney stones. Or, if pineapple can dissolve or help pass kidney stones.
However, fruit, in general, is a very good thing to help prevent kidney stone formation. People who eat lots of fruits and vegetables are less likely to form kidney stones. (2)
If you enjoy pineapple, eating it along with a variety of other fruits can help prevent kidney stone formation.
How Much Pineapple Should I Eat?
Aim to eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. One cup of fresh pineapple counts as one serving of fruit.
Remember, it is more important to eat a variety of fruits, rather than focus on a single type.
Pineapple for Dissolving Kidney Stones
No research has been done to see if pineapple can dissolve kidney stones. Pineapple is not recommended to help pass or break up kidney stones.
Pineapple Juice for Kidney Stones
Pineapple juice does have all the same vitamins, minerals and citrate as pineapple. However, fruit juice does not have fiber like whole fruit does.
Fiber in whole fruit slows sugar absorption and reduces spikes in blood sugar and insulin. High blood sugar and high added sugar intake can contribute to kidney stones.(9) Drinking your fruit via juice, rather than eating whole fruit, robs you of those great fiber health benefits.
In fact, fruit juice is usually associated with a higher risk of kidney stones.(10) Pineapple juice is not recommended for kidney stones.
The Verdict: Is Pineapple Good For Kidney Stones?
Yes! Fresh pineapple is a great food to incorporate into a balanced diet for kidney stone prevention. However, pineapple is not necessarily better than other fruits. If you like pineapple, enjoy it along with a variety of other healthy fruits and vegetables.