While lemon juice does not break kidney stones up, the citrate in lemon juice can prevent stone formation and keep existing stones from getting any larger. Drinking lemon juice mixed with water or in a lemonade made with a sugar-free sweetener is the best approach, notes the National Kidney Foundation.
People who have chronic kidney stones take potassium citrate as a treatment to keep the condition from recurring. Research has found that lemonade, limeade, and other juices and fruits with a lot of natural citrate provide the same benefits as far as preventing kidney stones, according to the National Kidney Foundation.
Sugar increases the risk of forming kidney stones, so mixing lime or lemon juice with water and a sugar-free sweetener if necessary is a better way to keep stones from forming. There is also some evidence suggesting that the natural citrate keeps stones that have already formed from binding with one another or continuing to grow, as stated by the National Kidney Foundation.
Foods that are important to reduce when trying to avoid stones include peanuts, spinach, beets, rhubarb, yams and chocolate, which are high in oxalates, states the National Kidney Foundation. People who form calcium oxalate stones should moderate consumption of these foods while also remaining well hydrated by drinking at least 64 ounces of water per day.