Kidney stones can be an extremely painful condition. They form when minerals and salts in the urine crystalize and stick together. Small kidney stones may pass on their own, but larger ones can get stuck in the urinary tract and block the flow of urine, causing severe pain.
While plenty of water is the best way to prevent kidney stones, some juices may help remove existing stones by providing key nutrients and increasing urine output. Certain juices are thought to help break down kidney stones or make them easier to pass.
How Juices May Help With Kidney Stones
Drinking juices may help remove kidney stones in a few key ways:
- Increasing fluid intake: Drinking more fluids, especially water, dilutes the urine and helps flush out stones. Juices add to total fluid intake.
- Providing citrate: Citrate prevents stones from forming and may help break up small stones. Lemon, lime, orange and other citrus juices are high in citrate.
- Alkalinizing urine: Many juices make urine more alkaline, which may prevent certain stones from forming.
- Nutrients: Some juices provide magnesium, vitamin B6 and other nutrients that may inhibit stone formation.
Best Juices for Kidney Stones
Some of the top juices to try for kidney stones include:
1. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is rich in citrate and may help break down certain types of kidney stones. It also makes urine more alkaline.
Try mixing 4 ounces (120 ml) of pure lemon juice with water and drink throughout the day. You can also add lemon slices to water.
2. Orange Juice
Like lemons, oranges contain lots of citrate. Orange juice has a bit less citrate than lemon juice but still provides plenty to help prevent stones.
Drink 3–4 ounces (90–120 ml) of 100% orange juice diluted in water throughout the day.
3. Cranberry Juice
Cranberry juice is rich in antioxidants. It also makes urine more acidic, which may help prevent certain stones from forming.
Drink around 4 ounces (120 ml) of cranberry juice daily. Look for unsweetened juice and dilute it with water.
4. Basil Juice
Animal studies show basil juice may help prevent kidney stones by increasing urine output and preventing crystal formation.
Try juicing around 2 cups (60 grams) of fresh basil leaves with other fruits and veggies like apples, carrots or cucumbers.
5. Pomegranate Juice
Pomegranate juice contains antioxidants and may help alkalinize urine to dissolve certain kidney stones.
Drink 2–4 ounces (60–120 ml) daily. Be sure to dilute pomegranate juice with water, as the sugar content can be high.
6. Apple Juice
Apple juice may help prevent kidney stones by increasing urine volume and acidity. It’s also rich in potassium, which can help reduce calcium in urine.
Enjoy 2–4 ounces (60–120 ml) of apple juice per day diluted with water.
7. Pear Juice
Pear juice is mildly diuretic, meaning it increases urine output. This can help flush out kidney stones. It also contains potassium.
Drink around 4 ounces (120 ml) of 100% pear juice diluted with water daily.
8. Grapes Juice
Purple grape juice may help prevent kidney stones better than white grape juice. It contains antioxidants that may block stone formation.
Aim for 4–6 ounces (120–180 ml) of 100% grape juice, preferably purple, per day.
9. Wheatgrass Juice
Wheatgrass juice is extremely alkaline and may help dissolve certain stones while preventing new ones. It’s also very low in oxalates.
Start with 1 ounce (30 ml) of wheatgrass juice mixed with other juices or water. Work up to 2–3 ounces (60–90 ml) per day.
10. Watermelon Juice
Watermelon is very hydrating and rich in citrate, which may prevent kidney stones. Blended watermelon juice adds body and nutrients.
Enjoy 4–6 ounces (120–180 ml) of fresh watermelon juice daily.
Other Tips for Preventing Kidney Stones
While juices can be helpful, it’s important to focus on staying hydrated and eating an overall healthy diet low in salt and added sugars. Here are some other tips for preventing kidney stones:
- Drink plenty of water, aiming for over 2 liters per day.
- Limit high-oxalate foods like spinach, nuts and chocolate.
- Reduce salt and high-sodium foods which increase calcium in urine.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables high in citrate like oranges, lemons, limes and melons.
- Consume calcium-rich foods to prevent oxalate absorption.
- Spread calcium intake throughout the day and take with meals.
- Get enough magnesium, which helps prevent calcification.
- Limit excess vitamin C and protein, which can increase stone risk.
When to See a Doctor
Make sure to see your doctor if you experience symptoms of kidney stones like:
- Severe pain in the side and back, below the ribs
- Pain that comes in waves and fluctuates in intensity
- Pain on urination
- Cloudy or foul-smelling urine
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fever and chills
- Urinating more or less than usual
Your doctor can help diagnose kidney stones and rule out other conditions. They may prescribe medication or recommend procedures to remove stones if they are large or don’t pass on their own.
The Bottom Line
Lemon, orange, cranberry, pomegranate and other juices may help prevent and remove kidney stones. Juices like lemon and orange contain citrate, which helps break down stones. Basil, apple, pear and grape juice may also help by increasing urine output and acidity.
That said, water is still the best fluid choice. Juices are great in moderation as part of a kidney stone prevention diet, but the focus should remain on staying hydrated with water throughout the day.