According to the National Kidney Foundation, one out of every ten people will suffer from kidney stones in their lifetime. But the best part is, kidney stones can treated without any surgical intervention and the same guidelines can be used to prevent the occurrence of kidney stones.
1. Drink lots of water: Most people suffer from kidney stones during summers. It’s because you tend to sweat a lot. When you lose water through excessive sweat, less amount of urine is produced. With less frequency of urination, minerals that cause kidney stones tend to settle down in the kidney nephrons and the urinary tract. When you drink plenty of water, these minerals get flushed out through the urine instead of settling down.
2. Drink healthy beverages: Coconut water and fresh lemonade are excellent options to keep kidney stones at bay.
Coconut has 94% water content which is the best way to prevent kidney stones. Plus, it also contains minerals like potassium, magnesium, manganese and potassium which are all good for maintaining kidney health. Read more health benefits of coconut water.
Lemons are high in citric acid and several studies have shown that citrate may play a role in preventing crystal formation. Experts from the National Kidney Foundation believe that citrate concentration in the urine prevents calcium from binding with other components that can cause stones formation. Some studies also suggest that citric acid prevents kidney stone to grow in size by preventing crystals to bind with each other.
Read more about causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of kidney disease.
3. Eat smartly: Oxalate is a substance that is present is several foods. It binds calcium to form calcium oxalate crystals or stones while urine is produced by the kidneys. Oxalate is present in several foods like peanuts, seeds grains, legumes, chocolates and even beverages like tea. Vegetables like spinach, beetroots and sweet potatoes contain more amount of oxalates. Many people avoid eating foods containing calcium and oxalate completely. That’s not a right approach. If you want to have them, have in moderate quantity. The smartest way to avoid formation of oxalate crystals is to consume calcium and oxalate-rich foods together. When you do that, oxalate and calcium will bind in the stomach itself before reaching the kidneys. This way you will be less likely to suffer from kidney stones.
4. Eat more dairy foods every day: Research shows that having 3-4 servings of low-fat or non-fat milk/yogurt daily can actually prevent the formation of kidney stones. The calcium from dairy foods binds with oxalate from other foods you eat. Here are 9 reasons curd is great for your health!
5. Limit the intake of seafood: Seafood, meat and other proteinaceous foods are rich in compounds called purines. High purine levels increase the production of uric acid leading to uric acid stones.
6. Reduce the intake of salt: Keep a watch on your salt intake. Salt contains sodium. When your diet is high in sodium, it causes over-excretion of calcium into urine by the kidneys. Calcium can bind to oxalate and lead to the formation of kidney stones. Also read how too much of salt can cause obesity and inflammation in adolescents.
7. Maintain healthy weight: Obesity is linked to a lot of diseases and kidney stone is also one of them. You are more likely to suffer from kidney stones if you are overweight. When you decide to lose weight, do it the right way with balanced diet and regular exercise. Don’t fall for fad diets and extreme weight loss practices that deprive you of necessary nutrients. Here’s our mega-guide for losing weight the right way.
8. Know your risk: Kidney stones can be caused by intake of some drugs like protease inhibitors, antibiotics and diuretics. Especially if you have had kidney stones in the past, then you might be at a risk of developing kidney stones again. Talk to your doctor about it and understand if your risk of developing kidney stones is high. Read more about how more number of Indian children are affected by kidney stones (Expert speak)
9. Don’t hold your pee for too long: Holding urine in the bladder for too long is one of the reasons that can cause kidney stones. When you first feel the urge to urinate, just go and do it. Holding it for too long can cause toxins and minerals to accumulate and crystallize over the time to form stones. Also, you should not drink less water in order to avoid frequent urination. This can not only add on to the problem of kidney stones but also increase your risk of developing other kidney diseases and urinary tract infections.
10. Avoid alcohol and cigarettes: Alcohol and smoking does not directly cause kidney stones. But it can disturb hormonal control that influences the kidney function. Also, if you have had kidney stones in the past, it can increase your risk of recurring stones.
- National Kidney Foundation (https://www.kidney.org/)
- National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NKUDIC) (http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/)
Read more about causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of kidney stones.
Here are our top 6 articles on kidney health:
- 10 tips to prevent kidney disease
- Which of these kidney-damaging medicines are you on?
- Kidney disease: Why the young are now more prone to it
- Soft drinks, sugar consumption cause kidney damage
- A high-calorie diet can increase your risk of kidney stones by 42%
- Health tip: Prevent kidney stones with coconut water!
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