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Does Tea Cause Kidney Stones?

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Black Tea Nutrition

Does Tea Cause Kidney Stones?

What Should You Drink For Kidney Stones?

How to Prevent Kidney Stones

Is this true? Does tea cause kidney stones? In short, probably not. In fact, research has found that people who drink tea actually have a lower risk of kidney stones. [1] But, there is more to the story. Read on for more information about tea and kidney stones.

Black Tea Nutrition

First, what is tea anyway? Tea as we know it is a beverage made from seeping dried tea leaves in hot water. During this process, many of the nutrients in the tea leaves are transferred to the tea that we drink.

Here are some of the key nutrients and molecules in tea.

Antioxidants

Tea, especially green tea, is famous for being high in antioxidants. [2] Antioxidants help fight damage from free radicals in the body. Left unchecked, free radicals can cause cell damage resulting in cancer. Free radicals also contribute to the aging process.

In addition to tea, antioxidants are also found in most fruits and vegetables. Darkly colored fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries, tend to have higher amounts of antioxidants compared to others.

Water

Of course, like all beverages, tea contains a large amount of water! This may seem obvious, but it is an important point when discussing kidney stones.

For most people, drinking enough water is the most important part of kidney stone prevention. The American Urological Association recommends drinking enough fluid to produce at least 2 ½ liters of urine each day. For most people, this means drinking about 3 liters of fluid each day. This is no easy task!

Although some beverages are better than others for kidney stone prevention, all fluids “count” toward your fluid goal. It is a good rule of thumb to limit beverages with added sugar such as regular soda, juice, sweet tea and punch.

Ask your doctor how much fluid is right for you!

Don’t miss out: 4 Step Guide: How To Choose the Best Bottled Water? [ Fact Based ]

girl drinking water

Caffeine

Black and green tea also contain caffeine. One 8 fluid ounce cup of black tea has about 50mg of caffeine. This is less caffeine compared to coffee (100mg caffeine per cup), but more than cola (22mg caffeine per cup).

Most studies have shown a reduced risk of kidney stones in people who drink caffeine. [3] One study found a 30% reduced risk of kidney stones in people who drank caffeinated beverages (including tea!) compared to people who did not. [4]

Caffeine does not come without risks. [5] It may make anxiety or insomnia worse. In addition, caffeine can have side effects including:

  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Muscle tremors

Ask your doctor if it is okay for you to drink caffeine, and how much is safe for you.

Find out more: Coffee: 8 Health Benefits Risks

Oxalate

Black tea also contains oxalate. Oxalate is a “non-nutrient” that is found in many plant foods including spinach, almonds, beets and rhubarb. When there are large amounts of oxalate in urine, this can cause kidney stones and kidney damage.

However, one cup of black tea contains only about 5-10mg of oxalate. [6] The amount of oxalate in black tea varies widely across different varieties and brew strength.

In addition, one study found that the oxalate in tea may not be absorbed into our bodies as well as oxalate from other sources. [7]

Related: Prevention of Kidney Stones: Which Foods To Avoid? [ Oxalate Uric Acid Stones ]

woman struggling with kidney stones

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Does Tea Cause Kidney Stones?

So, the answer to our question is no. Tea does not cause kidney stones. If anything, tea may reduce the risk of kidney stones.

Even though black tea has oxalates in it, oxalate is only part of the story when it comes to kidney stone prevention. Tea has many benefits for kidney stone prevention such as fluid and even caffeine.

Ultimately, studies have found that tea is associated with an 11% reduced risk of kidney stones. [8]

Does Green Tea Cause Kidney Stones?

Similar to black tea, green tea does not cause kidney stones. Green tea does have oxalate. One study found that the oxalate in Chinese green tea varied from 2-33 mg oxalate per cup. [9]

However, green tea also contains fluid and caffeine, similar to black tea. So, green tea does not cause kidney stones.

Does Herbal Tea Cause Kidney Stones?

Herbal tea refers to many different kinds of tea including chamomile, peppermint, ginger and hibiscus. In general, the oxalate content of herbal teas is less than in black or green tea.

Herbal tea can be a great way to add extra fluid to your day for kidney stone prevention. Herbal tea also does not cause kidney stones.

Don’t miss out: 5 Herbal Teas With Amazing Health Benefits [ Dietitian Reviewed ]

herbal tea types

What Should You Drink For Kidney Stones?

Drinks are very important for kidney stone prevention. Drinking a lot of fluids helps dilute urine and make kidney stones less likely.

Of course, water is the best drink for kidney stones. But, water can get boring! Here are some other drinks to mix into your rotation:

  • Unsweetened sparkling water
  • Sugar-free lemonade, such as Crystal Light
  • Clear diet sodas
  • Infused water
  • 1-2 cups tea or coffee per day

Drinks To Avoid For Kidney Stones

On the other hand, there are some drinks to stay away from for kidney stones. A lot of added sugar can make kidney stones worse. Limit these sugary drinks:

  • Regular soda
  • Lemonade made with sugar
  • Sweeet Tea
  • Punch
  • Large amounts of fruit juice
  • Coffee or tea with lots of added sugar

woman choosing between soda and water

How to Prevent Kidney Stones

There is no single “diet” or food that can prevent (or cause!) kidney stones. Kidney stone prevention is different for everyone based on the type of kidney stones you have and your 24-hour urine test results. [10]

But, in general, following a healthy overall diet can help prevent kidney stones. Here are some tips to help you get started:

  • Limit sodium to 2,300mg per day
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • Avoid large amounts of meat, chicken, fish and seafood
  • Consume 3 servings of dairy each day

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