Researchers at the University of Parma in Italy state that kidney stones are increasingly common in wealthy industrialized countries. The most frequent form (80%), they say, is idiopathic calcium stone disease. This type of kidney stone contains calcium combined with oxalate or phosphate. There are other types of stones, too: one type is caused by infection in the urinary tract; and another is made from uric acid crystals.
Why do kidney stones develop? Normally, your urine contains chemicals that stop crystals from forming. But these chemicals don’t always do their job. In some people, crystals form stones. If kidney stones stay small enough, they will pass through your urinary tract and won’t cause you any problems.
Sometimes, however, kidney stones may grow larger and cause some painful symptoms. Kidney stones occur more often in men, especially between the ages of 40 and 70. For women, kidney stones seem to peak when they are in their 50s. Once you get more than one stone, other stones are likely to develop.
So what can you do? Here are 10 tips for preventing kidney stones based on the study results of the Italian research team:
- Drink lots of fluids
- Eat fresh fruits
- Ditto for fresh vegetables
- Lower your consumption of salt
- Eat a low to moderate amount of protein
- Maintain a balanced intake of fats and carbohydrates
- Maintain a balanced intake of calcium
- Maintain your correct body weight
- Reduce stress levels
- And last, but not least, if you have had a kidney stone before, try to avoid foods high in oxalates; here’s a list to help you out:
- Swiss chard
- Wheat germ
- Sweet potatoes