By naturopath Margaret Jasinska
Kidney stones are very common; up to one in ten people will experience them. Passing a kidney stone is one of life’s most painful experiences. Anyone who has had a kidney stone will want to do anything in their power to prevent getting more.
Kidney stones are more common in men than women, and the tendency to develop them does run in families. The most common type, around 65 percent, are made up of calcium and oxalate. Other stones consist of uric acid (as in sufferers of gout), other mixed minerals, or occasionally the amino acid cysteine. Certain stones may be triggered by the presence of kidney disease or other conditions, such as over activity of the parathyroid glands, which increases the amount of calcium excreted in the urine. Diet plays a role too; the foods you eat and fluids you drink have an enormous impact on your risk of stone formation.
A high intake of oxalic acid, in foods like spinach, chocolate, almonds, sweet potato, beets and buckwheat flour can increase the risk of kidney stones in genetically predisposed individuals, if they don’t consume enough magnesium or calcium to compensate. If kidney stones run in your family, or you’ve had them before and want to avoid future problems, it’s very important to look after your kidneys. Having a high sugar diet also raises the risk of stone formation, particularly in people who don’t drink enough water. People who consume 25 percent or more of their daily calories from added sugar have the highest risk. This is because sugar increases the amount of calcium in urine, and it raises the risk of insulin resistance, which predisposes to kidney stones.
These foods can help protect you against kidney stones: