Kidney stones are one of the most excruciatingly painful conditions a person can develop. But a recent study published in the Journal of Urology has found that maintaining high intake of calcium and fluids, and cutting back intake of refined salt, can help to prevent kidney stones from forming. Dandelion, aloe vera, apple cider vinegar, cranberry, magnesium, and potassium can all help prevent, or even pass, kidney stones as well.
Dr. Mathew Sorensen, a urologist at the University of Washington School of Medicine (UWSC) in Seattle and his colleagues evaluated data on more than 78,000 American women who were tracked for eight years. During this time, one in 40, or 2.5 percent, of these women reportedly developed kidney stones for the first time.
What the researchers discovered, however, was that high intake of calcium and fluids was linked to a lowered risk of developing kidney stones, while those with the lowest intakes had the highest risk. The 20 percent of women who ate the most calcium, for instance, were 28 percent less likely to develop kidney stones compared to the 20 percent of women who ate the least calcium.
The findings were similar among women who drank the most fluids, which were 20 percent less likely to develop kidney stones compared to those who drank the least fluids. Salt intake, however, appeared to have the biggest effect, as the 20 percent of women who ate the most salt were 61 percent more likely to develop kidney stones than the 20 percent who ate the least salt.
The calcium finding is particularly interesting, as it is widely believed that calcium intake contributes to the formation of kidney stones. But it appears as though eating foods naturally-rich in calcium -- sesame seeds, sardines, collard greens, spinach, kelp, garbanzo beans, and broccoli are a few good examples -- can help prevent the formation of kidney stones.
Dandelion, a powerful medicinal herb that is a known diuretic, also helps increase the amount of urine the body produces, which is believed to help dilute the components that contribute to the formation of kidney stones, and flush them from the body. Aloe vera, apple cider vinegar, cranberry, magnesium, and potassium can all help with preventing kidney stones as well.
"Protein and oxalates in the body have more to do with causing kidney stones than calcium does," write Dr. George Kessler and Col. Leen Kapklein in their book The Bone Density Program: 6 Weeks to Strong Bones and a Healthy Body. "[T]he more natural calcium you get from the foods in your diet, the less likely you are to develop kidney stones."