What causes the formation of kidney stones?
Kidney stones are a common condition. About 11% of men and 7% of women in the United States will have kidney stones once in a lifetime.
Kidney stones form when the urine contains substances that bind together and form crystals. When these crystals get bigger, they block the flow of urine, causing pain. Most kidney stones are made when calcium binds with oxalate.
What foods and drinks cause kidney stones?
Above all, if you have a history of kidney stones avoid consuming foods rich in oxalate, as oxalate binds to calcium forming kidney stones. Spinach, nuts, collard greens, beets, sweet potatoes, rhubarb, legumes, tea, and even chocolate are pretty high in oxalate.
Moreover, consuming animal foods may cause kidney stones, as well. Red meat, poultry, egg, and even seafood increase the levels of uric acid in the body. Uric acid is a byproduct of protein metabolism. Uric acid stones are also a common kidney stone type.
Most noteworthy, avoid excess consumption of salt. Sodium increases the amount of calcium in your urine, causing kidney stones.
Last, but not least, extreme doses of vitamin C from supplements may cause kidney stones, as well. Therefore, prefer to boost your daily vitamin C intake from dietary sources. There are so many foods high in vitamin C. Certainly, a daily dose of 1,000 mg of vitamin C is pretty safe.
Is caffeine good for kidney stones?
Coffee and tea are the most common beverages high in caffeine. According to studies, drinking coffee and tea may decrease the risk of kidney stones. Caffeine seems to be important for preventing the formation of kidney stones.
On the other hand, even decaffeinated coffee is beneficial against kidney stones. Therefore, scientists believe that other compounds, besides caffeine, may play an important role against the formation of kidney stones.
Potassium in coffee may prevent kidney stones
Coffee and tea are beverages pretty high in potassium. Along with milk and potatoes are the main sources of potassium in the diet of US adults. 1 cup of coffee contains 116 mg of potassium. 1 cup of tea contains 88 mg!
Potassium is a key compound against the forming of kidney stones. Low potassium levels impair calcium reabsorption within the kidneys. So, urinary calcium excretion is increased, causing higher risk of kidney stones!
In a study of over 45,000 men, those who consumed the most potassium (about 4,000 mg daily) had 51% lower risk of forming kidney stones. Moreover, in another study of over 90,000 women, those who consumed about 4,100 mg of potassium a day had 35% lower risk of kidney stones.
Therefore, it seems beneficial to consume lots of foods high in potassium daily. Many fruits, nuts, and seeds are good sources.
Drink water to decrease the risk of developing kidney stones
Most noteworthy, drinking enough water is vital for preventing the formation of kidney stones. Try to drink at least 8 8-ounce glasses of water a day for proper hydration.
According to the Harvard Medical School, drinking water lemon or orange juice is also beneficial for preventing kidney stones. Due to citrate’s properties of blocking stone formation.
Other foods to eat to prevent kidney stones
Consuming lots of food rich in calcium may be beneficial for reducing the risk of kidney stones. Calcium from food binds to oxalate in your intestines. So, your kidneys have to excrete less oxalate. Hence, urine contains less oxalate, reducing the chances of binding with calcium.
So, eating more calcium decreases the risk of kidney stones. You can see a list of common plant-based foods high in calcium here.
Lose weight to decrease the risk of kidney stones
Obesity has been linked to increased risk of kidney stones. Try to lose body weight, weight circumference, and body mass index (BMI), in order, to decrease the risk of kidney stones. Even the effect of caffeine may be decreased with higher BMI.