Kidney stones can be a painful and debilitating condition, but the good news is that they are preventable. By making a few lifestyle changes and paying attention to your diet and hydration, you can significantly lower your risk of developing kidney stones. Here are seven ways to prevent kidney stones:
#1 Stay hydrated to Prevent Kidney Stones
Staying hydrated helps prevent kidney stones by increasing the volume of urine and diluting the concentration of minerals and other substances that can form stones. When the body is dehydrated, urine becomes more concentrated, which can increase the risk of crystals forming in the kidneys and lead to the formation of kidney stones.
Additionally, when urine is more concentrated, it can also become more acidic, which can also increase the risk of kidney stones. Drinking enough water helps to make urine less concentrated and less acidic, which can reduce the risk of kidney stones forming.
When you drink more water, the urine becomes less concentrated and the solutes that make up the kidney stone are more diluted. This decreases the chance of them sticking together and forming a stone.
#2 Limit your salt intake
Limiting your salt intake can help prevent kidney stones because consuming too much salt can cause the body to retain more calcium. When there is too much calcium in the urine, it can form crystals and lead to the formation of kidney stones.
Salt intake affects the body by increasing the amount of calcium that is excreted in urine. High salt intake can cause the kidneys to excrete more calcium, which can increase the risk of forming kidney stones. When there is too much calcium in the urine, it can form crystals and lead to the formation of kidney stones.
Limiting your salt intake can reduce the amount of calcium excreted in the urine and decrease the risk of kidney stones. Reducing sodium intake to the recommended daily amount of 2,300 milligrams per day (or less) can help keep the levels of calcium in the urine low and decrease the risk of kidney stones.
It’s important to note that limiting salt intake is not only beneficial for preventing kidney stones, but also for overall health, as high salt intake can contribute to hypertension and other health conditions.
#3 Limit your intake of animal protein
Eating too much animal protein can increase the level of uric acid in the urine, which can lead to kidney stones. Consider incorporating more plant-based protein sources into your diet.
#4 Limit your intake of oxalate-rich foods
Limiting your intake of oxalate-rich foods can help prevent kidney stones because oxalate is a naturally occurring substance found in many foods that can bind with calcium in the urine and form kidney stones. When there is too much oxalate in the urine, it can increase the risk of kidney stones forming.
When you consume foods that are high in oxalates, the oxalates are absorbed into the bloodstream, and then filtered by the kidneys and eliminated in the urine. If the urine contains a high concentration of oxalates, it can form crystals with calcium, which can lead to the formation of kidney stones. Some people are more susceptible to developing kidney stones with high oxalate intake.
Foods that are high in oxalates include spinach, rhubarb, beets, nuts, chocolate, sweet potatoes, and berries. Limiting your intake of these foods can help reduce the amount of oxalate in the urine and decrease the risk of kidney stones.
#5 Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of kidney stones. Losing weight if you are overweight or obese can help lower your risk.
#6 Get enough calcium
Calcium is important for bone health, but getting too much can increase the risk of kidney stones. It is recommended to get enough calcium from food and supplements, but not to exceed the recommended daily amount.
#7 Talk to your doctor about medications
Certain medications can increase the risk of kidney stones, such as diuretics, and anti-inflammatory drugs. Your doctor may be able to provide alternatives to these medications or suggest ways to reduce your risk.