If you’ve ever passed a kidney stone, you won’t forget the pain-wrenching experience. Kidney stones commonly start out as a conglomeration of calcium crystals that form hard masses inside your kidneys. These stones are caused by too much calcium in your urine. You can have one or more kidney stones and not realize it since they don’t usually produce any symptoms. Until one of them breaks free and travels down your ureter, that is. The ureter is a small tube-like connection from your kidneys to your bladder. As the mass passes through the tube, its ragged edges will cause you a great amount of pain. You may also experience blood in your urine, nausea, vomiting, and the feeling that you constantly need to urinate. If the kidney stone is large enough, it can lodge itself in your ureter and cause further complications. If you have a family history of this illness, or you fall in the category that is most likely to suffer from them, you need to know how to prevent kidney stones.
Since kidney stones are commonly caused by too much calcium and other minerals in your urine, the most obvious defense against them is proper diet. Foods such as grapes, blueberries, beans, red beets, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, strawberries, spinach, nuts, and chocolate are full of oxalate acid. Beverages such as beer, cocoa, and herbal teas are also high in oxalate acid. This chemical is thought to cause kidney stones, so it’s best to avoid it.
Taking calcium supplements and eating a lot of red meat, poultry, and dairy products increases the amount of calcium in your body. This is why people who are vegetarians are less likely to suffer from kidney stones. So, you should watch your intake of these foods in order to prevent kidney stones.
There are foods you should increase your intake of, and these are fruits and vegetables that are high in potassium. Potassium has been shown to actually diminish the amount of calcium in your body. Examples of high-potassium fruits and vegetables include apricots, tomatoes, figs, bananas, baked potatoes, and raisins.
You should also drink plenty of water on a daily basis to help prevent kidney stones. Water will keep your body hydrated. It will also help flush toxins from your body.
Diets that are also high in salt, or sodium chloride, has also been linked to the formation of kidney stones. Salt also increases the amount of calcium in your urine. Processed foods, some canned soups, condiments, soda pop, and nuts are prime examples.
Recent studies show that drinking lemonade can also actually reduce your chances of getting kidney stones. Drinking actual lemonade, or four ounces of fresh lemon juice mixed in with two and a half liters of water every day has shown to produce positive results.
To prevent the formation of kidney stones, you can also take magnesium, potassium, Vitamin E, and Vitamin B6 supplements. You can find these supplements at your local drug or health food store.
And finally, if you lead a sedentary lifestyle, your body will be more apt to form kidney stones. To help prevent them, exercise on a daily basis, even if it means just walking for thirty minutes a day.