Kidney stones are rock-hard accumulation of crystal deposits, usually composed of calcium and oxalates that can grow and obstruct the flow of urine through the kidneys. About a million Americans are hospitalized every year for treatment of kidney stones. Men are three times as susceptible to kidney stones as women. Once you have kidney stones, the chances of a reoccurring stone are about forty percent in the next five years, and eighty percent in the next twenty-five years. Whether you develop stones depends on many factors, including heredity, metabolic abnormalities, infections, medications, and diet.
The formation of kidney stones is affected by your diet. Crystals of minerals, including food supplies of calcium and oxalates, are dissolved in the urine that passes through the kidney. When the urine becomes supersaturated, the crystals fall out and collect into tiny masses that accumulate into hard stones. What you eat helps determine the crystal content and crystal saturation of your urine. About 80% of all stones afflicting people in industrialized nations are made of calcium oxalate. How do you use your diet as weapon to fight kidney stones? The answer is to eat in a way that keeps high levels of calcium and oxalates out of urine.