Lifestyle and Diet Changes to Help Prevent Kidney Stones

For those who have ever developed kidney stones, they can remember the experience. The pain is unbearable and comes in waves until you have the stone pass through the urinary plumbing to be released out of the body. Up to 12 percent of people in American have kidney stones. If you have had a kidney stone, your likelihood of developing another within 10 years is 50 percent. Although there may be no sure way to prevent kidney stones, particularly those related to genetics, your combination of lifestyle and diet changes can help reduce the chances of developing the stones. If you show signs of kidney stones or your family has a history of having kidney stones, you want to consult Jonathan Pankow, M.D. of Houston Kidney Specialists Center to seek advice. You may want to follow these tips to minimize the chances of having kidney stones.

Jonathan Pankow, M.D.

Keep hydrated

You cannot underestimate the importance of water in your body. Drinking sufficient amounts of water or fluids can help prevent stones from forming. When you do not drink enough water, your urine is more concentrated, meaning it is less likely to disperse or dissolve urine salts responsible for causing stones. You may also want to drink fresh orange and lemon juice; they contain citrate that can help prevent stones’ formation. Try drinking enough fluids that can allow you to pass about two liters of urine. Drinking eight glasses or so of fluids daily can help.

Eat calcium-rich foods

Kidney stones are formed from different substances, one of them being calcium-oxalate. This makes people believe that they need to avoid eating calcium. This is a misconception because your body needs calcium, and in fact, a low-calcium diet may increase a person’s risk of developing kidney stones as well as suffering from osteoporosis. You may want to talk to your doctor about taking calcium supplements because they can increase an individual’s risk of having stones. Low-fat cheese, low-fat milk, and low-fat yogurts are good sources of calcium.

Reduce your sodium intake

A diet with high amounts of salts can increase a person’s risk of having kidney stones. Too much salt in an individual’s urine prevents the reabsorption of calcium from the urine back to the blood. You may have urine with high calcium amounts, something that can contribute to kidney stones. Low amounts of salt in your diet keep the calcium levels in urine low. This lowers your risk of having stones.

Eat food with fewer amounts of oxalate

Oxalate is a natural substance you find in foods and it binds with calcium within the urine, forming kidney stones. When you limit the amount of oxalate you eat, it helps prevent stones. Foods containing high amounts of oxalates include chocolate, coffee, spinach, soy products, beets, sweet potatoes, and peanuts. Something to mention here is that eating calcium-rich foods alongside high-oxalate foods makes it harder for kidneys stones to form. The reason is that calcium and oxalate bind together within the digestive tract before reaching the kidneys.

These are some of the things you should do to help prevent kidney stone formation. There are other tips to help you including eating less animal protein and avoiding vitamin C supplements. Consult your kidney specialist to help you keep kidney problems at bay.