Combat Kidney Stones With These 8 Natural Solutions
Sometimes real life gets in the way. Other times it gives me ideas for blog articles.
Last week my husband woke up at 3:30 am with severe side pain. Usually my husband is tougher than nails but I could tell from his voice and his shakiness that this was REALLY painful. After several hours in the emergency room, we discovered he had a kidney stone.
So that propelled me to find the best way to help him – and others – who may experience the same thing.
What are Kidney Stones?
Kidney stones are hard deposits of minerals and salts located in your kidneys. Now while your body does contain some minerals and salts, it’s when combined with other chemical compounds (and too much that your urine can’t dilute) that a stone can form.
There are different types of kidney stones – calcium, struvite, uric acid and cystine. And unfortunately, for the most part, you don’t know what type you have until it comes out. Fun!
If you research or ask your doctor what causes kidney stones, you’re most likely to find that there is no definitive trigger. But there are factors that contribute to your risk:
- Family history
- Eating too many foods that are high in oxalate (see below)
- A diet high in protein, salt or sugar
- High BMI (body mass index)
- A diet low in calcium (but be cautious, research shows that while eating foods rich in calcium is good, taking calcium supplements can increase your risk of getting kidney stones).
- Digestive issues
Foods to Avoid
Foods high in oxalate can cause kidney stones when eaten in excess.
Oxalates are naturally-occurring substances found in a wide variety of foods and they play a supportive role in the metabolism of many plants and animals and in our human metabolism as well.
Oxalates themselves are not the problem, it’s when the concentration of oxalates increases in our kidneys, that kidney stones can form.
According to a University of Chicago article, “typical diets contain upward of 200 – 300 mg of oxalate. For stone prevention, a reasonable goal is below 100 mg of oxalate daily. An ideal would be about 50 mg daily if that can be accomplished”.
Here is a list of foods that have been categorized as “very high” in oxalates by the Department of Urology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center:
|Food Group||Food Item||Serving Size||Oxalate Value|
|Canned Fruit||Canned Pineapple||1/2 cup||24mg|
|Dried Fruit||Dried Figs||5 pieces||24mg|
|Dried Pineapple||1/2 cup||30mg|
|Bamboo Shoots||1 cup||35mg|
|Fava Beans||1/2 cup||20mg|
|Navy Beans||1/2 cup||76mg|
|Red Kidney Beans||1/2 cup||15mg|
|Refried Beans||1/2 cup||16mg|
|Spinach, Cooked||1/2 cup||755mg|
|Spinach, Raw||1 cup||656mg|
|Tomato Sauce||1/2 cup||17mg|
|Potatoes||French Fries||1/2 cup||51mg|
|Baked Potato w/ skin||1 medium||97mg|
|Mashed Potatoes||1 cup||29mg|
|Potato Chips||1 oz||21mg|
|Potato Salad||1/3 cup||17mg|
|Sweet Potatoes||1 cup||28mg|
|Breads||French Toast||2 slices||13mg|
|Pasta, Rice & Grains||All-Purpose Flour||1 cup||17mg|
|Brown Rice, Cooked||1 cup||24mg|
|Brown Rice Flour||1 cup||65mg|
|Buckwheat Groats||1 cup cooked||133mg|
|Bulgar, Cooked||1 cup||86mg|
|Corn Grits||1 cup||97mg|
|Millet, Cooked||1 cup||62mg|
|Rice Bran||1 cup||281mg|
|Soy Flour||1 cup||94mg|
|Wheat Berries||1 cup cooked||98mg|
|Wheat Flour, Whole Grain||1 cup||29mg|
|Meat & Meat Alternatives||Tofu||3.5 oz||13mg|
|Veggie Burger||1 pattie||24mg|
|Nuts & Seeds||Almonds||1 oz||122mg|
|Candies w/ Nuts||2 oz||38mg|
|Mixed Nuts w/ Peanuts||1 oz||39mg|
|Pumpkin Seeds||1 cup||17mg|
|Trail Mix||1 oz||15mg|
|Cakes, Candies, Cookies & Pudding Snacks||Brownies||1/2 brownie||31mg|
|Cake (store brand)||1 piece||15mg|
|Cake (homemade)||1 piece||16mg|
|Candies w/ Nuts||2 oz||38mg|
|Chocolate Syrup||2 tbs||38mg|
|Fudge Sauce||2 tbs||28mg|
|Beverages||Carrot Juice||1 cup||27mg|
|Hot Chocolate (homemade)||1 cup||65mg|
|Lemonade (frozen from concentrate)||8 oz||15mg|
|Rice Dream||1 cup||13mg|
|Tea, Brewed||1 cup||14mg|
|Tomato Juice||1 cup||14mg|
|V8 Juice||1 cup||18mg|
|Spreads, Sauces & Toppings||Peanut Butter||1 tbs||13mg|
|Peanut Butter, reduced fat||1 tbs||16mg|
|Ingredients||Coca Powder||4 tbs||67mg|
|Soy Protein Isolate||1 oz||27mg|
|Soups||Clam Chowder||1 cup||13mg|
|Lentil Soup||1 cup||39mg|
|Miso Soup||1 cup||111mg|
|Breakfast Items||Cream of Wheat||1 cup||18mg|
|Red River Cereal||1/4 cup||13mg|
|Farina Cereal||1 cup||16mg|
|French Toast||2 slices||13mg|
|Pancakes (homemade)||4 pancakes||22mg|
|Pancakes (dry mix)||4 pancakes||37mg|
|Danish Pastry (homemade)||1 pastry||14mg|
|Sweet Rolls (low fat)||1 pastry||13mg|
Treatments for Kidney Stones
Doctors often consider the size, location and possible type of stone you have before deciding on a treatment plan. Small stones will simply pass through your urinary tract and no treatment is needed. Note, this is not a painless option, so they may prescribe a pain medication.
Larger stones (greater than 6mm), can be blasted into smaller stones with shock wave lithotripsy. Or a doctor can insert a cystoscope ureteroscopy to remove or breakup the stones. There is also the possibility of actual major surgery to remove large kidney stones. Obviously, it would be best if you can avoid surgery.
These treatments may come with a prescription for diuretics (to help rid your body of water), potassium citrate (to increase citrate and pH levels in your urine), and antibiotics.
Natural Treatments for Kidney Stones
As always, I look to natural alternatives first. Here are a few that are effective and safe:
1. Hydrate – drinking enough water can actually prevent kidney stones because the water flushes out toxins from your system. To treat stones, increase drinking to 12 glasses per day (instead of the usual 8). Adding lemon essential oil to your water will step-up your citrate levels.
2. Basil – add fresh, dried or even basil essential oil to a cup of tea or a smoothie. Basil contains acetic acid, which can help break down kidney stones.
3. Apple cider vinegar – I’m a huge fan of ACV for so many natural remedies, and it alkalizes your blood and urine, which can prevent new stones. ACV also flushes out your kidneys and can ease the pain a bit. Simply add 2 tablespoons to 8 ounces of water and drink once per day.
4. Celery juice – blend celery with water and drink to clear out toxins.
5. Kidney bean broth – cook kidney beans and drink the drained liquid to dissolve the stones, as well as improve the overall health of your kidneys.
6. Magnesium supplement – By taking 250 mg 2 times per day, it can prevent the formation of kidney stones.
8. Essential oils – Lemon oil, juniper berry, and helichrysum oil are the three that I found are highly recommended. You can put 2 drops of citrus oils like lemon (or you can use lime, wild orange or grapefruit) to your water 2 times per daily. For juniper berry or helichrysum oil, rub topically (may need a carrier oil) over lower abdomen or add to your bath.
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