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Drink this, not that - to avoid kidney stones

by , 18 February 2014

If you're at risk of kidney stones, you've got some important choices when it comes to what you drink.

Certain beverages lower your risk, while others increase it dramatically.

Here's a quick guide if you want to avoid developing kidney stones.

Drink up! These will protect you from kidney stones
Coffee: If you can't live without your morning cup, you're in luck. Both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee reduces the risk of kidney stones by up to 10%. Decaffeinated coffee is the better choice since caffeine has a diuretic effect, which could offset some of the protective benefits.
The “Lemonade therapy”: Drinking a cup of dilute lemon juice every day raises levels of citrate in the urine which helps to prevent kidney stones. 
A study that lasted four years showed that when kidney stone patients drank lemonade every day, stone formation slowed and the number of stones reduced.
Beer: Surprisingly, one study showed that people who drink beer have a lower risk of kidney stones. A study in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, compared the effects of certain drinks. It found that a glass of beer a day could reduce the risk of kidney stones. 
Water: Still, the best choice of drink to prevent kidney stones is water. Try drinking eight glasses of water a day.
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Avoid these three drinks to prevent kidney stones
Soymilk: A few years ago, research found high oxalate content in soybeans, tofu and processed soy products. Oxalate is a compound that binds with calcium in the kidneys and promotes kidney stone formation. Researchers concluded that soy products are unsafe for anyone at risk of developing kidney stones.
Fruit juices to avoid: Some fruit juices may be protective against certain types of kidney stones - but two are not. A study showed that drinking a daily glass of grapefruit juice increased the risk of kidney stones by 40%. Apple juice is another fruit juice to avoid if you have a history of kidney stones.
Tea: Black tea is high in oxalates. Almost 80% of all kidney stones are made up of calcium oxalate - and a diet high in oxalates increases the risk of getting another one. To be safe, avoid drinking black tea if you've had a kidney stone in the past.
If you have a history of kidney stones, water is still the best choice for preventing them, but a little coffee, lemonade and an occasional beer may work in your favour. 
Whatever you do - stay well hydrated - it could keep you out of the emergency room.
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