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When small mineral deposits gather in your kidneys instead of passing through in urine, a kidney stone can form. They will usually pass without a doctor's help, but sometimes medical assistance is necessary. Symptoms can include intense pain in the side and back, nausea, and painful urinating. While there are several different minerals that kidney stones might be made of, the most common is calcium. Those stones are referred to as calcium oxalate stones.
The single most important diet factor to prevent the formation of calcium oxalate kidney stones has nothing to do with food. If you're prone to kidney stones you need to constantly drink water, flushing the kidneys so any minerals that might form stones will be washed out. Never pass a water fountain without taking a drink, and always have a cup of water nearby to sip throughout the day. Plain water is best. Another fluid you should add to your diet is lemonade that's made with real lemons. Don't use powdered lemonade mix; the lemons provide the benefit. Avoid black tea, dark beer, and caramel-colored liquids.
Foods to Avoid
It should be noted that you don't need to limit the amount of calcium in your diet, unless recommended by your doctor. Calcium is important for strong bones, and studies show that a diet low in calcium may actually help the formation of calcium oxalate kidney stones, not hinder it. If you tend to form stones, your doctor may advise a diet that is low in oxalate. These food don't need to be avoided altogether, you just need to limit the amount. Some foods to avoid are nuts, chocolate, spinach, sweet potatoes, refried beans, berries and soy products. Studies suggest that a diet that's very low in animal protein and sodium may also be beneficial.
Foods to Eat
To help prevent the formation of more stones, a diet that's low in oxalate is best. A low-oxalate diet doesn't guarantee that more stones won't form, but it lessens the chances. Foods that are low in oxalate are bananas, white bread, cabbage, mushrooms, spaghetti, rice, oatmeal, cauliflower, melons and onions. Look also for foods that are high in potassium and magnesium.
Diet isn't the only factor involved in kidney stone formation. If there's a family history of calcium oxalate kidney stones, you're at a higher risk. Someone who has had one stone is in danger of developing more. A sedentary lifestyle raises the chance, so get some exercise. Weight and weight gain are also factors, especially in women, although men in general are more likely to develop kidney stones than women are. If you have any questions about kidney stones, their formation or how to prevent them, talk to a doctor.