Developing kidney stones can be a very inconvenient and painful experience, and it is always best to avoid them. The tips on how to avoid kidney stones are easy to follow, and it does not require a complete overhaul of your lifestyle to ensure that you never have to go through the ordeal that kidney stones are associated with. However, there are many recommendations that are given, some of which actually contradict each other, and it may be difficult to decipher what to take as true and what to dismiss. However, one thing holds true; an overall healthy lifestyle is a good place to start in avoiding kidney stones.
In order to understand how to avoid kidney stones, it is crucial to first understand what causes them. Generally, kidney stones are the result of an imbalance of minerals and water present in the kidneys and the urinary tract; excess mineral salts aggregate to form the stones. In many instances, small kidney stones may pass through urine without notice. It is the larger kidney stones that could cause severe pain. It is also advisable to drink a lot of water, eat a balanced diet and include plant-based foods in your diet to prevent kidney stones.
Foods rich in potassium, including bananas, potatoes, prunes, avocados, nuts, dark leafy greens and legumes should be part of your diet. You should also reduce the amount of animal protein and other animal products, including dairy. Kidney stones are largely made up of calcium, so it is advisable to be moderate in your calcium intake. Salt could also increase the accumulation of calcium in your kidneys; a diet that is low in sodium is therefore recommended. Foods rich in oxalate should also be avoided or taken minimally; these include rhubarb, bran flakes and malted alcohol.
When the amount of water in your kidneys and urinary tract is low, the chances of an imbalance in your kidneys increase. This in turn leads to excess minerals becoming attached to each other to form a stone. Tea is recommended for ensuring that you stay hydrated, and also for its medicinal benefits. One of the beverages that you should avoid is alcohol, which is a major contributor to dehydration. You should also avoid juices and beverages with high levels of acid and sugar. For instance, you could opt to take fruits in their whole form rather than go for packaged juices.
Caffeinated soft drinks should be avoided since they contain phosphoric acid. Phosphate could increase the mineral buildup in your kidneys, encouraging the formation of kidney stones. Additionally, if you take Vitamin C supplements, it is advisable to take a lower dose, since the acid from supplements may contribute to imbalances in your kidneys. If you take calcium supplements and have had kidney stones in the past, it is advisable to switch to magnesium supplements. Magnesium is effective in preventing stones from forming in your kidneys. You should be especially vigilant in finding out how to avoid kidney stones if you have had them in the past of if you have a family history of kidney stones.