5+1 tips to prevent nephrolithiasis
Kidney stones are a common pathological condition, which can turn from one moment to the next our daily life into a nightmare, especially when accompanied by severe pain in the ribs, the well-known renal colic. These are essentially solid masses of crystals created by the concentration of substances such as calcium oxalate and uric acid in the urine and can be prevented by simple, daily changes in our eating habits.
Nephrolithiasis can be asymptomatic, when the stones are small, or manifest with intense pressure on the kidney, when they are larger, due to the obstacles encountered by the urine. In fact, renal colic, which also makes its presence felt, is similar in intensity, according to the patients’ descriptions, to the pain of childbirth, while it usually appears without giving any warning signs.
It is estimated that one in ten people will be faced with nephrolithiasis at some point in their life, while a large percentage of them will relapse a few years later. In fact, kidney stones seem to prefer women, but also young men, while it is possible that they may even appear in children.
When the stones are small, they usually pass out on their own, but through a relatively time-consuming process. The problem occurs with larger stones, which may require, in addition to medication, surgery, lithotripsy or endoscopic extraction.
How to prevent kidney stones
To a large extent, nephrolithiasis can be prevented through nutrition, but also by hydrating the body. So what can you do to prevent the formation of kidney stones and not have to deal with their painful consequences? The ways are simple:
1. Don’t forget to hydrate your body. Hydration is a very important factor in protection against kidney stones, because when one does not drink a lot of fluids, one also produces less urine, which is thicker and prone to stone formation. In fact, research has shown that people who produce daily between 2 and 2.5 liters of urine reduce the risk of kidney stones by half. To produce this amount of urine, you must consume at least 2 liters of fluids daily, with water as the main protagonist.
2. Limit salt (NaCl). Salt has been blamed for a number of pathological conditions. One of them is the formation of kidney stones. Salt leads to increased levels of calcium in the urine, creating the conditions for the development of stones. In order to reduce salt, it is good, in addition to limiting its amounts in your food, to pay attention to the food ingredients you buy, so that you have an idea of their salt content. Even the bread that comes into your home every day contains salt. The daily intake of salt should not exceed 2,300 mg, while when there is already a problem with kidney stones, the amount should be even less, preferably 1,500 mg. One way not to deprive yourself of the taste that salt gives to food is to use spices.
3. Include fruits, preferably citrus fruits, and vegetables in your life. Oranges and lemons, which have a high content of potassium citrate, help prevent stone recurrence. Lemon citric acid in particular helps prevent stone formation by binding calcium from the urine.
4.Limit the consumption of animal protein. The large amounts of red meat, but also other animal proteins in the daily diet, such as eggs, poultry and seafood, result in an increase in uric acid, thus also the chances of kidney stone formation.
5. Prefer foods rich in calcium. Although most people believe that calcium intake can lead to the formation of kidney stones, the opposite is true. Cheese, milk, yogurt can help prevent calcium oxalate stones, the most common form of gallstones. Studies have shown that calcium binds oxalic acids in the gut, limiting their absorption and excretion in the urine.
6. Reduce the consumption of foods with oxalic compounds. Foods such as almonds, spinach, beets, beans, carrots, celery, radishes, eggplants, zucchini, leeks and peppers are high in oxalates, a risk factor for stone formation. Put these six practices into your life and reduce the chances of forming kidney stones, avoiding all the unpleasant side effects.