Kidney stones are a relatively common and painful condition that affects millions of people worldwide.
These hard, crystalline mineral deposits can form in the kidneys and cause severe pain, as well as urinary tract infections and kidney damage if left untreated.
What are Kidney Stones?
Kidney stones are formally referred to as renal calculi. They are small, hard deposits that form inside the kidneys, and they are made up of minerals and other materials that are normally found in the urine, such as calcium, oxalate, and uric acid.
Kidney stones can vary in size and shape, with some being as small as a grain of sand and others as large as a golf ball. While they may be small, they can cause significant pain and discomfort when they pass through the urinary tract.
Symptoms of kidney stones can include:
● severe abdominal pain
● back pain
● blood in the urine
What Causes Kidney Stones?
There are several risk factors that may contribute to the development of kidney stones, including:
● Dehydration: Not getting enough fluids can cause the urine to become more concentrated, which can increase the risk of kidney stone formation.
● Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions such as gout, inflammatory bowel disease, and certain types of kidney disorders can increase the risk of kidney stones.
● Medications: Some medications, such as diuretics and steroids, can increase the risk of kidney stones.
● Age: Kidney stones are more common in older adults.
● Gender: Men are more likely to develop kidney stones than women.
● Obesity: Being overweight or obese can raise the risk of kidney stones.
● Genetics: Some people are more prone to developing kidney stones due to inherited factors.
New Research on Diet and Kidney Stones
A recent study from the Mayo Clinic analyzed dietary factors in relation to the development and recurrence of kidney stones. The study tracked data from 411 people who previously had kidney stones, plus a control group of 384 people without a history of kidney stones.
Participants were given comprehensive food frequency questionnaires and were followed up for around 4 years to see if they experienced any additional symptoms of kidney stones.
The researchers found that a lower intake of calcium, potassium, caffeine, phytate, and any kind of fluid was associated with a significantly elevated risk of developing kidney stones.
Specifically, those with a lower intake of calcium and potassium were most likely to experience a recurrence of kidney stones. These findings suggest that increasing your intake of calcium and potassium through diet may help prevent the development and recurrence of kidney stones.
Calcium and Potassium-Rich Foods:
So what foods are high in calcium and potassium? Some good options include:
● Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt
● Leafy green vegetables such as broccoli, kale, and spinach
● Nuts and seeds such as almonds and sunflower seeds
● Legumes such as beans and lentils
● Fish such as salmon and sardines
● Fruits such as bananas, apricots, and oranges
It’s important to note that while increasing your intake of these nutrients may be beneficial for reducing your risk of developing kidney stones, these foods are not a substitute for proper medical care.
If you are at risk for kidney stones, or are experiencing any symptoms of kidney stones, contact your doctor as soon as possible.