Dietary changes to help prevent kidney stones from recurring

The pain of kidney stones is almost legendary, as anyone who has experienced it will probably agree and, while kidney stone removal is sometimes an option, recurrence is not uncommon. It, therefore, makes perfect sense to try to eliminate any possible causes of the stones; however, while a healthy, balanced diet will certainly help to prevent many illnesses, a little more planning and determination is necessary to help to prevent kidney stones from coming back.

Kidney stones occur when certain chemicals in the urine – uric acid, calcium and oxalate – become concentrated and, while there are several contributory factors rather than one single cause, controlling your diet can be beneficial, especially if you have suffered from them before.

Drink water plentifully

To dilute the chemicals in the urine that cause kidney stones to form, you need to drink enough fluid to pass approximately two litres a day. While this may sound daunting, you should aim for at least 8 glasses every day (a standard cup or tumbler with a 250ml capacity is ideal). Some citrus juices, such as orange juice, can also help to prevent stones from forming.

Cut your salt intake

High sodium levels are associated with several health conditions, particularly in later life, but the consequential increase in calcium in the urine also supports the formation of crystals. A maximum daily intake of 2,300mg is recommended by nutrition experts but, if you’ve suffered from kidney stones before, try reducing this to 1,500mg. You may find food a little bland to start with, but your taste buds will soon adapt!

Reduce animal protein

Foods rich in animal protein, such as red meats, eggs, seafood and poultry, increase uric acids levels in urine which may contribute to kidney stones. Furthermore, citrate levels – a chemical that helps to prevent stones – are reduced in a high protein diet. It’s important to consume protein but limit your daily intake of meat to a piece no larger than a pack of cards.

Avoid high-risk foods!

Some foods carry a higher risk of developing kidney stones, especially if eaten in large quantities. Chocolate, rhubarb, nuts and spinach are among the worst offenders, so cut your intake or avoid them completely.

If you’ve already been diagnosed with kidney stones in the past and received successful treatment, it makes absolute sense to make the small changes to your lifestyle to help to prevent the condition from recurring and to keep the crystals at bay.

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