Some recommendations to decrease the risk of kidney stones
Drinking enough fluid will help keep your urine less concentrated with waste products. Darker urine is more concentrated, so your urine should appear very light yellow to clear if you are well hydrated.
Most of the fluid you drink should be water. Most people should drink more than 12 glasses of water a day. Water is better than soda, sports drinks or coffee/tea. lf you exercise or if it is hot outside, you should drink more. Sugar and high-fructose corn syrup should be limited to small quantities.
You can reduce excess salt in your diet. What foods are high in salt? Everyone thinks of salty potato chips and French fries. Those should be rarely eaten. There are other products that are salty: sandwich meats; canned soups; packaged meals; and even sports drinks.
You want to try to get to a normal weight if you are overweight. But, high-protein weight loss diets can add to the stone risk. Protein is found in beef, chicken, fish, milk and eggs. You need protein (50 grams a day), but it needs to be part of a balanced diet.
Don't be confused about having a "calcium" stone. Dairy products have calcium, but they actually help prevent stones, because calcium binds with oxalate before it gets into the kidneys. People with the lowest dietary calcium intake have an increased risk of kidney stones. A stone can form from salt, the waste products of protein, and potassium. The most common type of kidney stone is a calcium oxalate stone. Most kidney stones are formed when oxalate (a by product of certain foods like rhubarb, spinach, beets, peanuts, chocolate and sweet potatoes) binds to calcium as urine is being made by the kidneys.
Both oxalate and calcium are increased when the body doesn't have enough fluids and also has too much salt.
Some herbal substances are promoted as helping prevent stones. You should know that there is insufficient published medical evidence to support the use of any herb or supplement in preventing stones.
See your doctor and/or a registered dietitian about making diet changes if you have had a stone or think you could be at increased risk for getting a kidney stone. To guide you, they need to know your medical history and the food you eat. Here are some questions you might ask:
• What food may cause a kidney stone?
• Should l take vitamin and mineral supplements?
• What beverages are good choices for me?
Are there any long term consequences of having a kidney stone?
Kidney stones increase the risk of developing chronic kidney disease. lf you have had one stone, you are at increased risk of having another stone. Those who have developed one stone are at approximately 50% risk for developing another within 5 to 7 years.
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