Kidney stones form when minerals in urine, particularly calcium and oxalate, clump together and form crystals. This usually occurs inside tubes located inside kidneys. These stones may be small enough to pass through the ureter and out during urination. However, when the stones are larger, they can create problems: irritation of the ureter, blocking the flow of urine, and causing intense pain.
Kidney stones are more frequent in younger and middle-aged adults, than in the elderly or children, and they are more common in men than in women. Dehydration is a key factor in the formation of kidney stones. People in warmer areas and those who are often dehydrated are at an increased risk of developing kidney stones. When a person is well hydrated, minerals in the urine are dissolved more efficiently and are less likely to create a stone. People who have already experienced a kidney stone are 50% more likely to have another.
Drink plenty of water:Drinking extra water dilutes the substances in urine that lead to stones. Strive to drink enough fluids to pass 2 liters of urine a day, which is roughly eight standard 8-ounce cups. It may help to include some citrus beverages, like lemonade and orange juice. The citrate in these beverages helps block stone formation.
Get the calcium you need:Getting too little calcium in your diet can cause oxalate levels to rise and cause kidney stones. To prevent this, make sure to take in an amount of calcium appropriate to your age. Ideally, obtain calcium from foods, since some studies have linked taking calcium supplements to kidney stones. Men 50 and older should get 1,000 milligrams (mg) of calcium per day, along with 800 to 1,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D to help the body absorb the calcium.
Reduce sodium:A high-sodium diet can trigger kidney stones because it increases the amount of calcium in your urine. So a low-sodium diet is recommended for the stone prone. Current guidelines suggest limiting total daily sodium intake to 2,300 mg. If sodium has contributed to kidney stones in the past, try to reduce your daily intake to 1,500 mg. This will also be good for your blood pressure and heart.
Limit animal protein:Eating too much animal protein, such as red meat, poultry, eggs, and seafood, boosts the level of uric acid and could lead to kidney stones. A high-protein diet also reduces levels of citrate, the chemical in urine that helps prevent stones from forming. If you’re prone to stones, limit your daily meat intake to a quantity that is no bigger than a pack of playing cards. This is also a heart-healthy portion.
Avoid stone-forming foods:Beets, chocolate, spinach, rhubarb, tea, and most nuts are rich in oxalate, and colas are rich in phosphate, both of which can contribute to kidney stones. If you suffer from stones, your doctor may advise you to avoid these foods or to consume them in smaller amounts.
For everyone else, particular foods and drinks are unlikely to trigger kidney stones unless consumed in extremely high amounts. Some studies have shown that men who take high doses of vitamin C in the form of supplements are at slightly higher risk of kidney stones. That may be because the body converts vitamin C into oxalate.
Dehydration is a key factor in the formation of kidney stones.
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