3 Dietary Tips For How to Prevent Kidney Stones

August 24, 2013 | By More

The fast-paced lifestyle of our modern times often leads us to cut corners when it comes to healthy food choices. Unfortunately, this often has unwanted consequences on our overall health. One of those “consequences” that have become increasingly common in recent years are kidney stones. Chances are you have met someone who already had them (or someone who knows someone who did). In this article I will share a few tips that you can implement that may be useful to prevent kidney stones.

Before we get started, let’s take a moment to find out what kidney stones really are (if you think they are small rocks that form in your stomach, guess what? You are not entirely wrong).

Actually, these peculiar kind of “tummy stones” are formed within the urinary tract and eventually make their way to the kidneys. A large majority of  them are made of calcium phosphate and calcium oxalate, and a minority of them (about 20%) are made up of uric acid, cystine or struvite. If this health issue is not treated properly, it may cause permanent damage to the urinary tract and even the kidneys themselves. 

bananas-and-fruit

But, why do kidney stones happen? Well, apparently in most cases they are formed because the intestines absorb excessive amounts of calcium. My hubby had an attack of kidney stones about a year ago that came on quite quickly. We had been planning a walk and when it came time to go he opted out saying he had a bit of back pain, so I went by myself. By the time I got back an hour later he was worse and within another twenty minutes we were on the way to the emergency room. I have never seen him go so white in the face so quickly. He was in hospital for three days and says that he has never, ever, ever been in such excruciating pain in his entire life. Good reason to avoid them if possible, huh?

Now it’s time to take a look at a few tips that may help you (and save yourself a lot of trouble along the way):

 

Practice the following tips to help avoid kidney stones:

 Tip #1 – Pay Attention to your Diet.

Paying attention to your diet is one of the most important things you can do to prevent this common health issue . This is particularly important for someone who has already had them, 3 out of 4 patients end up having them again. Therefore it is important to make changes in terms of what you eat and what you drink.

The first step is to make sure you include lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and complex carbohydrates (such as beans and lentils) in your everyday diet. In other words, eat more healthy foods that contain high amounts of fiber (and cut down the bad stuff, including soda drinks).

It’s also important to reduce the consumption of foods that contain oxalate such as chocolate, spinach, nuts, black tea and strawberries among others. Trying to eliminate these foods from your diet is not practical; just make sure you consume them in moderate amounts.

Also, including foods which are rich in magnesium and low in calcium is a good idea. A few examples of these types of foods are: corn, oats, brown rice, avocados, potatoes and bananas.

Tip #2 – Exercise.

An active lifestyle has countless benefits for our overall health, and when it comes to preventing these undesirable kidney “rocks”, it is particularly important. Doing moderate weight lifting is a great way to help our bodies store calcium in the bones effectively (where it should be) instead of making its way into urine. Nonetheless, don’t get carried away. Exercising excessively may lead to dehydration and lactic acidosis, both are factors that may actually contribute to the formation of kidney stones.

Tip #3 – Drink Enough Water.

fresh-water

The famous Leonardo da Vinci said “Water is the driving force in nature”, something so simple and powerful that may even help you prevent these annoying kidney “visitors”. Water can help clean your system by getting rid of substances that may cause trouble. I said “water” not “water with lots of sugar and chemicals”; so, stay away from sodas and artificial juice drinks. These industrialized “sugary liquids” generally contain phosphorous, a mineral often associated with the very things we are trying to avoid.

If you look at the tips in this article you will notice that many of them are the same ideas for leading a healthier lifestyle and maintaining an adequate weight. As with all things, don’t deprive yourself, be happy and eat in moderation. I personally follow many of the principles that Jon Gabriel recommends as they are healthy but still allow you to enjoy great food.

If you have had any experience with kidney stones or other diet related conditions, please share them in the comments below. If you know someone that may benefit from reading this article, please share it using the Facebook and Twitter buttons you will see at the end of this post.

 

 

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