Kidney stones are abnormal accumulations of mineral salts found in the kidneys, bladder or anywhere along the urinary tract, and can range in size from a grain of sand to a fingertip. There are various kinds, but 80 per cent of kidney stones are calcium oxalate stones. Excessive calcium in too alkaline urine crystallises and stones begin to form. By far the most important thing to do to prevent kidney stones is to drink plenty of filtered or bottled water – at least 2 litres per day – to flush the kidneys and urinary tract regularly. Nutrient deficiencies can also contribute to the formation of kidney stones, especially magnesium, vitamin B6, vitamin D and potassium, all of which are involved in proper calcium metabolism.
Green leafy vegetables, wholegrains, bananas, nuts and seeds, and should be consumed regularly. Vitamin A, abundant in carrots, red peppers, sweet potato and green leafy vegetables, also benefits the urinary tract and helps inhibit the formation of stones. Avoid antacids and minimise your consumption of animal protein, as they cause the body to excrete calcium and uric acid, the key components in the two most common forms of kidney stones.