Kidney stones seem to be on the rise over the last few decades, from 3.8% of the U.S. population in the 1970s to 8.8% of the U.S. population in the later 2000s. It also seems to affect more men than it does women by about a 10%.
What are Kidney Stones
Kidney stones form when there are too many minerals and not enough urine in the body. They form into hardened stones that may stay in the kidney, or pass into the ureter and ready for excretion. The excretion process may cause pain in some people that is likened to birthing contractions for women. And some people, this may also go undetected, depending on how large the stone is. There are also 4 different types of stones: Calcium stones, Uric acid stones, struvite stones and cystine stones. You can have these checked out by your doctor by blood analysis and even if you have recently passed a stone, they can be examined.
If you've had a history of kidney stones, you must know how they feel and you probably want to avoid them as much as possible. There are foods that you should consider avoiding to help prevent these little intrusions, and foods that you should include.
Drink Plenty of Water
Water is a must to help dilute these stone forming minerals/chemicals so they don't form in the first place. A minimum of 2.5L or 10C will help.
Taking in excess sugar can raise blood glucose levels which can also cause more acidity inside the body. Avoiding all sugar that is in excess of a natural whole foods diet can help decrease your risk.
Calcium likes to follow sodium, so the more sodium that you have in your body, the more calcium will be pulled out of your bones and the higher chance of it having to go through your kidneys which can bind with other substances to form kidney stones. Severely limit table salt but better yet, move towards unrefined Sea Salt or good Pink Himalayan salts. They have much less sodium than table salt and many other minerals that help balance the body. You can also limit sodium by eating a whole foods diet/lifestyle and stay away from refined or fast foods that contain way more sodium than the body requires.
There are some foods that contain a substance called "oxalates", which bind with calcium in the kidneys and cause stones. Avoiding oxalate rich foods can help reduce stone formation. Foods that are higher in oxalates include: rhubarb, spinach, silverbeet, beetroot, eggplant, sweet potato, celery, leeks, nuts including peanut butter, strong black tea, chocolate, soy, wheat bran, wheat germ, berries like strawberries and blackberries, dried figs and star fruit.
Studies have shown that the higher calcium content in your body the less likelihood of stone formation. Even though calcium binds with oxalates, limiting calcium can have a negative impact. Its the oxalates that you want to limit and not the calcium. If you are eating oxalate foods, then these studies also showcase eating higher calcium at the same time, in order to bind in the digestive system and not the kidneys, can help reduce stone formation. Great calcium sources include: dairy products (I prefer goats or sheeps milk to cows dairy), yoghurt, cheese, sesame seeds, chia seeds, dark leafy greens, oranges, quinoa, black strap molasses, beans, broccoli, dried fruits and nuts, and dried herbs.
Meat products are also higher in purine contents which also likes to bind with substances in the kidneys to form stones. Limiting your meat protein intake to 4oz/114g per day can also help. This not only includes red meat, but all meats including eggs, chicken and fish. Getting protein from vegetarian sources like beans, sprouts and cheeses, can be great protein options.
Excess weight in the body can cause the body to become more acidic, thus having the kidneys work harder at excreting this acid. Avoid weight loss crash diets, and diets that are higher in meats/purine/phosphorus. A whole foods balanced lifestyle program can help you get on track for life and avoid these nasty little stones from forming.
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Michelle Post is a C.H.N.C. Holistic Nutritional Consultant and Metabolic Balance Coach. She has a passion for helping you achieve Optimum Wellness by holding Nutrition to a higher standard. To learn how your personal nutrition can work for you, contact Michelle at (403) 266-2867 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.