When Life Gives You Stones Make Lemonade

By Kristy Podruchny

Simple Healthy Lemonade Recipe: Juice One Lemon Per Cup of Cold Water Sweeten with Stevia in the Raw Garnish with mint.  Relax, enjoy, live healthy

Anyone who has had kidney stones knows it’s something they never want to experience twice.  If you’ve had a stone in the past, you’re more likely to have more stones in the future.  The only way to ensure you’ll never have that painful experience again is to do what you can to prevent kidney stones from developing.

The most common types of kidney stones are calcium oxalate and uric acid stones.  These are formed when the right chemicals sit in concentrated urine long enough to form crystals.  These crystals adhere to each other and form one or many stones.  Ouch!  Even if you’re predisposed to forming kidney stones, you can eat and drink your way to keeping them at bay.  If you’ve had a stone, knowing what kind you’re forming is imperative to prevention.

Drink water—hydration is essential.  The less concentrated your urine is, the less likely you are to develop stones.  Sugary drinks like soda can encourage kidney stones to develop.  Fluids like water, lemonade (with little to no sugar) and coffee are all encouraged by the National Kidney Foundation (NKF).  They recommend 2-3 quarts of fluid intake per day.

Certain foods can make a hospitable environment for stones.  According to the NKF, there’s no specific diet to follow to prevent kidney stones, but you can choose to avoid certain foods depending on what kind of stones you develop.  Avoid foods that are high in oxalate—like sweet potatoes, spinach, chocolate and peanuts—if you’re prone to developing calcium oxalate stones.

Uric acid stones are more likely to form with a diet comprised of high-purine foods like red meat, shellfish and organ meat.  They need a highly acidic environment, so the NKF recommends that people who are predisposed to these types of stones should avoid alcoholic beverages.

Choose high calcium foods and aim to supplement your diet with 1000-1200 mg of calcium per day.  When life hands you kidney stones, make lemonade!  The natural citrate present in lemons helps prevent stones, too.  Consuming 4 ounces of lemon juice daily can increase urine citrate levels, which is needed to prevent stones.  Lemonade is one way to get your daily lemon juice, but beware of the sugar because it can increase kidney stone production.  An all-natural lemonade is better so you can control the sugar and replace it with an all-natural sugar substitute.

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