What are some food that can help prevent kidney stones?

According to my father, kidney stones can be unbearable. The pain is unlike anything he has ever experienced and it took days for him to pass the stone. Because kidney stones can generally reoccur in those that are susceptible, people should take preventative measures to help reduce risk of recurrence. According to Harvard Health, “kidney stones form when certain chemicals become concentrated enough in the urine to form crystals. The crystals grow into larger masses (stones), which can make their way through the urinary tract. If the stone gets stuck somewhere and blocks the flow of urine, it causes pain.” The majority of the stones occur when calcium combines with either phosphorous, uric acid, or oxalate. The best way to prevent kidney stones is to change the conditions that make formation favorable.

Number 1: drink plenty of water. This can allow the substances in your urine that commonly form into stones to dilute, thereby reducing stone formation. It is recommended that you consume at least a liter of fluid a day.

Number 2: reduce dietary sodium intake. A diet that is high in sodium will increase the amount of calcium in your urine, putting you at higher risk for stone formation. If you have had a stone in the past, aim to reduce sodium intake to 1500 mg per day.

Number 3: reduce intake of animal protein. A diet high in red meat, poultry, eggs and seafood increases the amount of uric acid which can lead to stones. A high protein diet also reduces citrate levels, which is a chemical that helps prevent stone formation.

Number 4: get the calcium you need each day. A low calcium intake can increase levels of oxalate, which increases risk of 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” according to Harvard Health. Women should strive for 1,000 mg of calcium.

Number 5: avoid foods that commonly contain stone forming chemicals. Examples include: Chocolate, spinach, rhubarb, tea, beets, and most nuts are rich in oxalate, and colas are rich in phosphate, both of which can contribute to kidney stones.

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