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How Food and Drink Can Help Prevent, Banish Kidney Stones

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Approximately 1 million people in the United States experience kidney stones each year, but you can take steps to avoid being among that crowd. Did you know that your food and drink choices can help prevent and even banish kidney stones?

What are kidney stones?

Kidney stones are solid, stone-like objects that form in the kidney when the concentration of certain substances, such as calcium, oxalate, and phosphorus, gets too high. These stones may stay in the kidney or move through the urinary tract, in which case they can get stuck and cause severe pain.

Your dietary choices have a significant impact on whether you will develop kidney stones, while genetics also has a role. In fact, a Washington State University of Medicine study recently reported how a variation in a gene called claudin-14 can increase a person’s risk of developing kidney stones by 65 percent.

The altered gene has a dietary effect. Specifically, it can cause people who consume too much calcium or salt and who don’t drink enough water to accumulate calcium in the urine, resulting in the formation of kidney stones.

However, even people who do not have the altered claudin-14 gene can get kidney stones. Therefore, it’s important for everyone to know what they can do in their food and drink choices to help prevent or even get rid of kidney stones.

Kidney stones can be various sizes, and when they are tiny like grains of sand, they may pass with minimum pain or discomfort. However, if you experience significant pain, see your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

Which foods and drinks are helpful?
According to the authors of a new study in Medicina, certain foods have been shown to increase the risk of kidney stones, such as animal protein (e.g., meat, fish, fowl), foods high in oxalates (e.g., chocolate, tea, cola, nuts, peanuts, parsley [see below], and spinach), sugary drinks, and salt. But which foods and drinks should you choose to help prevent or get rid of kidney stones?

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