Roughly one in 10 Americans will deal with kidney stones in their lifetime, and anyone who’s passed one can confirm it’s not a pleasant experience. They often come with sharp pain for days at a time, a burning sensation when urinating, nausea, and so many other symptoms. However, according to new research coming out of Europe, adding green tea to your regular beverage rotation could make a significant difference in keeping those kidney stones at bay.
Your kidneys play a critical role of filtering waste that comes through your body, and if mineral deposits accumulate over time during that process, they can form a hardened mass that can’t pass through your urinary system as easily. This is what causes that debilitating pain when you have a kidney stone. While they can happen to anyone, factors like age, weight, diet, and certain health conditions and medications could increase your likelihood of forming one.
Based on the prevalence of kidney stones and the fact that popular sugary beverages like soda could actually accelerate their formation, scientists from France and the UK wanted to see if any common drinks could have the opposite effect. Looking at 13 previous studies on the subject, they discovered that drinking a combination of coffee and tea could prevent kidney stones over time. But in particular, they found that green tea was especially effective at keeping kidneys in working order and protecting them from developing those bigger mineral sediments.
Why is green tea so helpful? Researchers say that more work is needed before they can definitively report what mechanisms are at play, but they believe that green tea is ultra-hydrating, and caffeine’s status as a natural diuretic is important to kidney function. Plus, the drink’s cell-protecting antioxidants may also keep mineral deposits from collecting over time. Scientists still haven’t determined the exact amount of green tea needed daily or weekly to aid in kidney stone prevention.
Even though it’s still relatively warm outside during this time of year for a piping hot green tea, an iced version could do the trick — and keep those kidney stones away.
For more on the health benefits of green tea: