Is Your Food Giving You Kidney Stones?

Changing your diet may just be the best medicine of all.

Posted: 04/22/2011 03:08 PM EDT
Kidney stones

It’s no secret that high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity are huge issues in the Black community, but did you know that they could ultimately put you at risk for developing kidney stones? A new study finds that a few tweaks to your diet can help keep you in the clear.

Kidney stones are chemical deposits that form in your kidneys when your body doesn’t get rid of waste like it’s supposed to. When you have a serious kidney stone you will know. The symptoms, not limited to a burning in sensation when urinating, blood in the urine, nausea and vomiting, fever and chills, are not easy to ignore. There are plenty of reasons kidney stones happen, including dehydration, poor diet and even weight loss surgery.

The stones can be as small as a grain of sand and come out with your urine without you even knowing. But stones can reach the size of a golf balls, causing urine to back up and prompting extreme pain, and surgery may be required. A simple blood or urine test from your doctor can tell you what kind of stone you have.

Here are some suggestions on how to eat your way to a kidney-stone-free zone no matter what type of stone you have:

— If you have the most common, calcium oxalate stones, which form from acidic urine, you should steer clear of foods with high oxalate levels, like spinach, peanuts, okra, chocolate and sweet potatoes.

Uric acid stones also form when urine is acidic, but usually stem from eating too much animal protein, fish and shellfish in particular.  

— The-low-sodium DASH diet is a good way to go for an effective overhaul of your entire diet. It’s usually prescribed to those with hypertension, but it’s also a great way to stave off kidney stones.

—The easiest, yet most important tip? Drink lots of water so that your body can flush impurities before they have time to build up.

 

(Photo: Eric Seals/Landov)

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