Kidney stones. I doubt there are very many phrases that bring to mind more discomfort than that.
In the U.S., 13% of men and 7% of women will get kidney stones at some point in their lives. People who get them and make no change to their diet afterwards have a 50% chance of reoccurrence within five years.
What are Kidney Stones?
According to the Mayo Clinic, the types of kidney stones include:
- Calcium stones. Most kidney stones are calcium stones, usually in the form of calcium oxalate. Oxalate is a naturally occurring substance found in food. Some fruits and vegetables, as well as nuts and chocolate, have high oxalate levels. Your liver also produces oxalate. Dietary factors, high doses of vitamin D, intestinal bypass surgery and several metabolic disorders can increase the concentration of calcium or oxalate in urine. Calcium stones may also occur in the form of calcium phosphate.
- Struvite stones. Struvite stones form in response to an infection, such as a urinary tract infection. These stones can grow quickly and become quite large, sometimes with few symptoms or little warning.
- Uric acid stones. Uric acid stones can form in people who do not drink enough fluids or who lose too much fluid, those who eat a high-protein diet, and those who have gout. Certain genetic factors also may increase your risk of uric acid stones.
- Cystine stones. These stones form in people with a hereditary disorder that causes the kidneys to excrete too much of certain amino acids (cystinuria).
- Other stones. Other, rarer types of kidney stones also can occur.
Not a single one of those kidney stone types are friendly. But you can most certainly avoid them. Here’s how.
1. Start a calcium-rich diet.
A diet low in calcium is an easy way to set yourself up for kidney stones.
Pair calcium-rich foods with oxalate-rich foods to reduce the risk. This will Collard greens and kale are excellent food sources of calcium. (National Kidney Foundation)
2. Eat less salt.
Unprocessed salt is fine but the processed salt found in junk food can be a significant cause of kidney stones. Try to add more healthy and natural foods to your diet. Increase the amount of veggies and fruit you eat.
3. Get enough citrus.
Citrate is commonly used in medicine to treat kidney stones. But you can reap the benefits of citrate long before kidney stones appear by fitting lots of citrus fruits like oranges into your diet. Lemon water is also a great way to get citrate in your body.
4. Drink less black tea.
Black tea contains oxalate, which the overconsumption of is a major cause of kidney stones. Keep your black tea drinking to a minimum.
5. Drink less soda.
This should come as no surprise. Soda is just not good for your body at all.
The phosphorus acid in soda acidifies your urine, which promotes kidney stone formation.
In addition, one South African study found that drinking soda exacerbates conditions in your urine, leading to a formation of calcium oxalate kidney stone problems. (Source)
6. Drink more water.
A lack of hydration has been linked to kidney stones for quite some time now.
And that should comes as no surprise; drinking lots of water is crucial to maintaining optimal health, not only when it comes to preventing kidney stones.
Did you know the potassium in avocados can also help you avoid kidney stones? It’s true!
Check out this video for more information on the awesome benefits of avocados.