Kidney stones are one of the most painful medical conditions to experience. They are also one of the most common, affecting around 1 in 10 people at some point in their lives.
There are a few things you can do to reduce your risk of developing kidney stones, including:
1. Drink plenty of fluids
Staying hydrated is one of the best ways to prevent kidney stones. Aim to drink at least six to eight glasses of water a day, or more if you’re sweating heavily or have another condition that causes dehydration.
If you are at risk for developing kidney stones, be sure to drink at least eight glasses of water a day. This will help to keep your urine diluted and will make it less likely that crystals will form in your kidneys.
2. Avoid certain foods
Certain foods and drinks can increase your risk of developing kidney stones. These include salt, animal protein, sugar, and certain types of fruits and vegetables.
If you’re prone to kidney stones, limit your intake of salt, animal protein, and sugar. You should also avoid eating large amounts of oxalate-rich foods, such as spinach, rhubarb, and nuts.
3. Get enough calcium
It may seem counterintuitive, but getting enough calcium can actually help prevent kidney stones. That’s because calcium binds to oxalate in the digestive system, preventing it from being absorbed into the bloodstream.
Be sure to include plenty of calcium-rich foods in your diet, such as milk, yogurt, cheese, and leafy green vegetables. If you don’t get enough calcium from food, you may need to take a supplement.
4. Avoid taking certain supplements
Certain supplements can increase your risk of developing kidney stones, including vitamin C and calcium supplements. If you take any supplements, talk to your doctor about whether or not you need to avoid them.
5. Exercise regularly
Exercise can help to prevent kidney stones by keeping your urine diluted and preventing constipation. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week.