Kidney stones used to be considered a problem mainly for older men, but Mayo Clinic researchers say women of every age are getting them now too — and our risk has shot up by 75 percent in the last few years (experts suspect an increase in weight and blood-sugar issues).
To guarantee that you never develop one, check out these doctor-approved tips.
Does caffeine cause kidney stones?
Quite the opposite! This wake-me-up slows the absorption of a compound in food (oxalate) that fuels stone formation. A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found a few cups of caffeinated coffee or tea daily helped cut kidney stone risk by up to 26 percent.
Prevent Kidney Stones by Gardening
Moving around for 30 minutes daily will cut your kidney stone risk by 33 percent, say Yale University researchers. Explains integrative medicine physician Alan Gaby, MD, exercise improves blood flow to your kidneys, so wastes are flushed out before they can form painful crystals.
Tip: Get your exercise by tending to your vegetable garden — and eat 2 cups of fresh produce daily — and your kidney stone risk could drop by an additional 20 percent, three studies show.
Lemon Juice for Kidney Stones
Mix 4 oz. of lemon juice into 24 oz. of water, sip this refresher throughout the day, and your kidney stone risk could drop by 87 percent! That’s the word from researchers at Georgia’s Augusta University, who say lemon juice is packed with citrate, a natural kidney stone inhibitor, while water dilutes urine, so crystals are less likely to form.
Magnesium for Kidney Stones
Taking 400 mg. of magnesium daily could cut kidney stone risk by 80 percent, British scientists say. “Magnesium helps calcium stay firmly attached to bones, so it doesn’t trickle into the kidneys and encourage stone formation,” explains Carolyn Dean, MD, author of The Magnesium Miracle ($34, Amazon).
Note: Check with your doctor before supplementing.
Beer for Kidney Stones
Cheers! Sipping one beer daily will cut your kidney stone risk by 41 percent, Italian researchers say. Thanks go to plant compounds (polyphenols) in beer, which help your kidneys flush out wastes before they can clump together and kick-start stone formation.
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This article originally appeared in our print magazine.