Let’s talk about the potatoes a bit, beside the fact, they are good for us. They are fat-free and they are cholesterol-free; they contain a good source of vitamins and minerals such as potassium and sodium. The skins contain many of the vitamins, minerals, and fiber in potatoes, which is so important. Fiber, Fiber, Fiber. They also contain antioxidants, too; however, it’s really what we top the baked potato with that can be either healthy or unhealthy, but we’ll save that for another post at a different time and topic.
What are kidney stones? They are pebble-like crystals that form when certain chemicals build up in our urine.
Who get them? One out of 10 people suffers a kidney stone during their lifetime. It is reported that men are more prone to them than women, but kidney problems and family history also put us at risk.
What are the symptoms?
- cloudy, bloody, burning urine
- urge to urinate often
- stabbing, irregular pain in the back or side
- fever, chills, weakness,
- nausea or vomiting
We need the “the fabulous 4” to help us with kidney stone prevention. The nutrients our kidneys require to stay healthy—magnesium, potassium, calcium, and vitamin B6. The following meal plan teams these nutrients together with other kidney -friendly food components. It’s an example, of how to make the “fabulous 4” a regular part of our daily diet:
- a bowl of oatmeal
- fresh raspberries
Whole grains, like those in hearty oatmeal, are super sources of magnesium. This multi-talented mineral and fantastic group of minerals helps the body recycle oxalate, so the compound doesn’t build-up in our urine.
Besides magnesium, oatmeal is tops in fiber, too. One cup can have as many as 4 grams. Along with the fiber in fresh raspberries, this will put us well on our way to the daily fiber requirement for people age 50 and over. Research shows that even just 10 to 15 grams of fiber a day might help prevent kidney stones.
- a tossed salad with avocado slices
- a baked potato
- a glass of lemonade
The salad and the baked potato will boost our potassium levels. This vital nutrient lowers the calcium levels in our urine, which then lowers our risk of forming stones. Most fruits and vegetables contain potassium, as do legumes, dairy foods, and fish.
The steamy baked potato and avocado come with another stone-stopping nutrient – vitamin B6. Just as magnesium does, vitamin B6 helps our bodies maintain safe oxalate levels. Other major sources are fortified cereals, bananas, and prunes.
For beverages, enjoy refreshing lemonade. Its tartness comes from citric acid, a substance that dissolves stones before they grow painfully big. For homemade lemonade, mix 4 ounces of lemon juice with 2 quarts of water and sweeten lightly. This recipe seemed to do the trick in a recent small study.
As for other citrus drinks, they can’t compare with lemonade. Orange juice has five times less citric acid than its popular counterpart. And grapefruit juice, despite its citric acid, may increase our odds of forming kidney stones.
- low-fat yogurt
- dried-fruit trail mix
Calcium from foods like yogurt may blind with oxalate in our system and make it harmless. Besides yogurt, the mineral’s sources include other low-fat dairy products, sardines, broccoli, black-eyed peas, and turnip greens.
Tell kidney stones to take a hike with the magnesium we get from the dried fruit trail mix. Or snack on the mineral’s other sources –seeds, legumes, artichokes, beet greens, and, rice.
- a salmon filet
- black beans and yellow or almond rice
- wedge of honeydew melon
The least meal of the day will round out your supply of potassium, magnesium, and vitamin B6. By this time, the fabulous 4 will be a real big hit with our kidneys!
PS: I haven’t had another kidney stone in approximately 10 years! When I was wheeled into surgery, my physician said, “I won’t start without you.” :)
1. Inner Healing Power of Foods. Copyright 2004 Frank Cawood Medical Publishing
2. National Kidney and Urological diseases Information Clearing House. http://www.nih.gov ; Accessed October 08, 2010.
3. USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference; http://www.ars.usda.gov/main/site_main.htm?modecode=12-35-45-00;
Accessed October 08, 2010.
Thank you for reading and have a great day!