WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT KIDNEY STONES

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There are several factors that increase kidney stone risk. However, high intake of animal protein, purines and sodium are the most significant factors. If you have already had kidney stones, or know some one who has, there is a 40-50% chance of recurrence.

It is important to know, WHAT CAUSED THE STONES IN THE FIRST PLACE?

1. Hyperuricosuria (too much uric acid): Most Americans far exceed the necessary protein intake, which can lead to too much uric acid in the urine. As a general recommendation, limit your daily protein intake, and get your protein from vegetables.

2. Low Urine pH (highly acidic urine): A diet high in protein will reduce urinary pH. Limit your daily protein, and avoid animal protein which can lead to too much uric acid in the urine.

3. Hyperoxaluria (too much oxalate in the urine): Don't overdo it on oxalate foods (like eating spinach 3 times a day every day). It's important to rotate your high oxalate foods, and if you've had oxalate stones in the past, flush out the extra load of oxalate with an added glass or two of water.

4.  Too much calcium in the urine (hypercalciuria): The human body carefully regulates its sodium levels, but when excess sodium is excreted in the urine, calcium is also excreted proportionally. Meaning, the more sodium you consume, the more calcium in your urine. Reduce your sodium intake. Watch out for hidden salt in fast foods, canned foods (even healthy ones like beans), softened water, and sports drinks. Also, be careful with supplemental forms of calcium such as those added to dairy.

*****NOTE***** You need calcium to balance out oxalates. Oxalate and calcium bind together in the intestine and exit the body in your stool. If there is not enough calcium, then the extra oxalate will be absorbed into the bloodstream and end up in the urine, where it will form a calcium oxalate stone. Be sure to get your calcium from sources like bok choy, broccoli, collards, Chinese cabbage, kale, mustard greens, and okra.

EAT FRUIT: Both watermelon and its seeds can be used as good natural cures for kidney stones. Organic grapes and fresh-pressed organic grape juice are also extremely beneficial to kidney stones.

COCONUT WATER: One study from the Philippines found that coconut water can actually dissolve kidney stones. There are no follow-up studies to add more scientific credence to this one study, however with the high content of potassium in coconut water, it is definitely helpful in reducing stones.

HEAT: The risk of kidney stones also goes up by 47% when the temperatures are above 86F. I know many of you are experiencing hot weather right now so be sure to drink extra water. Hot-weather dehydration causes minerals to build up in the kidneys and crystallize into very painful stones. Try setting a phone alarm to go off every hour has helped them stay on track with dehydration,  or filling a pitcher in the morning with at least 70 ounces, and adding fruit slices, mint and other fresh flavors and be sure you drink the whole pitcher by the time it is early evening. TIP: Try to drink your water AWAY from your meals so that you don't impair digestion.

Take care of your kidneys!