Kidney stones are incredibly uncomfortable and can cause severe pain in a person’s sides, back, rib area, abdomen, and groin. There are actually several types of kidney stones that affect the body, including the common calcium stones, uric acid stones, and cystine stones caused by a hereditary disorder. Kidney stones cannot always be prevented, but there are lots of things you can do to reduce your risk and promote a healthy kidney through diet and natural remedies.
Here are some tips for kidney health and a well-functioning urinary tract system.
Check Your Blood Pressure
High blood pressure doesn’t just affect your heart; it impacts your kidneys too. When the body’s blood pressure gets too high (140/90 or above), you are at a greater risk of kidney damage. To keep tabs on your own blood pressure between sporadic doctor visits, test yourself at local pharmacies when you see those blood pressure machines by the prescription counter.
Drink Lots of Fluids
The body relies upon a steady supply of water to function well, and this is especially true for the kidneys. At least eight glasses per day can help clear excess sodium from the kidneys and put you at a lower risk of kidney disease. When you get tired of plain water, occasionally switch to citrate-rich fluids, such as 100 percent orange juice or lemonade made from real lemons.
Reduce Your Ibuprofen Intake
Over-the-counter medications, especially ibuprofen, have proven to cause kidney damage when relied upon regularly. If you deal with chronic pain and take such pain relievers frequently, talk to your doctor about what alternative options are available that don’t put your kidneys at such a great risk.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Being overweight puts extra strain on your entire body, including your kidneys. Daily exercise is a good way to help control your weight and prevent kidney stones, just as long as you don’t overexert yourself and put too much strain on your kidneys unexpectedly. Diets filled with fruits and vegetables, including carrots and pomegranates, can help you stay full for longer so you aren’t tempted to snack on unhealthy foods and pack on the pounds.
Eat Calcium-Rich Foods
Since the most common kidney stones are made from calcium, lots of people think they should steer clear of calcium-rich foods if they are prone to kidney stones. However, this is not true because diets too low in calcium may actually increase you risk for not only kidney problems, but also bone density issues. Low-fat yogurt and nut milks are food good sources of calcium to incorporate into your diet for kidney health.
Reduce Your Sodium Intake
Meanwhile, certain diseases like diabetes are associated with kidney disease, and too much dietary salt makes things worse. Nutritionists recommend having no more than about a teaspoon (five to six grams) of salt per day, but it can be hard to determine how much salt you’re eating when you aren’t shaking it directly onto your meals. As a general rule, cut processed and pre-packaged foods out of your diet and replace them with fresh ingredients that you make yourself at home.