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Kidney stones form when certain substances from your kidneys congregate, build up and form compounds in your body. These compounds or stones need to be naturally passed out, broken down by medication or surgically removed from your body. The ideal situation is to not have any stones at all or to have ones so small they can be excreted without you noticing. Fortunately, your diet plays an important role and if you adjust it to include the best foods for kidney stones, you might avoid a visit to the operating room.
Causes of kidney stones
Kidney stones might develop if you have too much calcium in your urine. Excess calcium can bond with other substances and chemicals like oxalate to form stones. They might also form when you don’t drink enough water or you consume foods that stop calcium from being properly absorbed.
Your kidneys need water to process calcium and other substances. Dehydration can lead to calcium not being absorbed and when absorption doesn’t take place, the mineral accumulates in your body or an excess of it might be passed out with urine. High calcium levels combined with equally high oxalate forms calcium oxalate kidney stones. Dehydration can also make your urine more acidic and end up causing uric acid kidney stones.
It might happen that you have a family history of high cystine levels. The presence of cystine in urine causes cystine kidney stones. Another type of stone that might form is struvite kidney stones. These stones can be a side effect of urinary tract infections, Chrohn’s disease and high blood pressure. Other conditions that have stone-forming potential are obesity and diarrhea. Taking calcium supplements is believed to increase of chances of having kidney stones as well.
Symptoms of kidney stones
Symptoms can range from mild to severe and it is possible to treat some of them with the best foods for kidney stones. You could have stones if you experience an urge to urinate more frequently, uncomfortable or painful urination, pain the abdomen, less amounts of urine, pus in urine, blood in urine, vomiting, nausea and fever.
The best foods for kidney stones
Eating foods that give you an adequate amount of calcium and those that contain low oxalate are ideal. The protein you usually get from meat should be substituted with foods like fish, cheese, milk and beans. These substitutes can provide the calcium you need to meet your daily requirements without causing a need for supplements. Since oxalate usually pairs with calcium to create kidney stones, you should limit oxalate with foods like fresh meat, seafood, goat milk, buttermilk, low-fat yoghurt and whole grains.
Other best foods for kidney stones include fruits and vegetables like avocados, berries, grapes, apples, lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms, onions and cucumbers.
Healthy low-oxalate snacks are nuts and seeds. Use basil, nutmeg and cilantro if you want to give meals flavor. Cooking food with olive, vegetable, soy and canola oil is healthiest.
Remember to drink plenty of water. 8-10 glasses a day is sufficient.