The problem of kidney stones is so common that almost everyone you know seems to know someone who’s had this problem or is currently suffering from it. Kidneys are the organs of the body that filter blood to remove the excess mineral salts as well as other soluble wastes. They also produce urine that dissolves toxins in the body, excreting them through the urinary tract.
Kidney stones are formed when the urine is too saturated that the minerals can longer be dissolved. Imagine taking a glass of iced tea and putting too much sugar in it. You’ll see that dissolving sugar won’t be possible anymore. Mineral saturation is just like that. When that happens, those minerals form crystals that become hard stones. They usually form in the kidneys but can also form in any part of the urinary tract.
Tiny kidney stones can be passed through the urine with little or no difficulty. You won’t even notice them with your naked eyes. However, when the stones become big enough, they are not able to pass through the urinary tract easily. Some of these stones may even have rough edges that bring pain during urination. It is imperative to seek medical treatment right away if you notice signs of having kidney stones such as difficulty in urination.
Treatment is not enough for this problem. It is important to remember that kidney stones can recur over and over. Prevention of recurrence is possible with the right kind of diet. Approximately 80 percent of kidney stones comprise of calcium and other minerals. They are usually composed of a combination of oxalate and calcium. With that said, here are the foods you should avoid so you can prevent the formation of stones inside your kidney.
Foods rich in oxalic acid should be avoided. These would include spinach, eggplant, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, chocolate, beans, beets, berries, green peppers, wheat bran, coffee, sodas, peanut butter and peanuts. You don’t have to eliminate these foods in your diet entirely but you need to limit intake.
Calcium doesn’t cause kidney stones to form. In fact, calcium is important for the body, maintaining strong bones and teeth. What becomes a problem is excessive intake of calcium-rich foods. When the body consumes too much of this mineral, the body can no longer convert it into a useful form but instead turn it into a kidney stone. Again, you don’t have avoid calcium-rich foods altogether. If you have a family history of kidney stones, it would be best to regulate the amount of milk and dairy products you take in to prevent stones from forming inside your kidneys.
Diuertics are foods and beverages that increase urine output. Examples are alcohol and caffeinated beverages. When you drink too much of this and you’re not able to replace the lost fluid in your body, you can get dehydrated, increasing the risk of formation of kidney stones.
Finally, the most important consideration in prevention of kidney stones is increase of fluid intake. Water inhibits the formation of stones by diluting the urine. Shifting back to sugar-water example, if can no longer dissolve sugar in a glass of ice tea because there’s already too much sugar in it, you can add more water and that solves the problem. Although that point of comparison is a little too simplistic for what really happens inside your kidney, the premise is similar. Follow the 8 glasses of water routine every day to increase the amount of urine you excrete each day. Drink more if you live in a warm climate or if you engage in highly physical activities.