This amazing post was written by Jenn Ryan, a freelance writer, and editor who’s passionate about natural health, fitness, gluten-free, and animals. You can read more of her work at thegreenwritingdesk.com.
Are you one of the many Americans have a magnesium deficiency and don’t know it?
Magnesium is an essential mineral that serves countless functions in the body. From helping you produce energy to keeping your enzymes, DNA, and cholesterol in top shape, magnesium is one mineral you don’t want to miss out on.
But perhaps one of the most important roles magnesium has is preventing kidney stones. If you don’t think kidney stones are important, consider that women say they’re more painful than giving birth, and they’re known to make grown men curl up into a ball and cry.
Here’s how a magnesium deficiency can lead to kidney stones (and don’t worry, I’ll tell you how to avoid that fun phase in your life).
What Are Kidney Stones?
Kidney stones are small stones that form in the kidney, these stones are formed out of minerals that are leftover from your urine. Usually, these minerals don’t cause a problem, but in the case of kidney stones, the buildup of these minerals caused by an improper ratio of water to these minerals causes kidney stones to form.
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The minerals that are responsible for kidney stone formation include calcium, oxalate, and phosphorus.
When you don’t drink enough water, get enough minerals, or if you have certain medical conditions, kidney stones can happen. The most common types of kidney stones are made of calcium oxalate. When there’s not enough water to flush this mineral out of your kidneys, it can build up there and cause kidney stones.
How Magnesium Helps
Prevention in the name of the game when it comes to kidney stones and magnesium is a key player in that game. Magnesium can essentially stop kidney stones from forming.
Magnesium impacts how the calcium in your body is absorbed and distributed, so calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D are often best taken together. Eating too much calcium with too little magnesium can actually be harmful to your body and contribute to the formation of kidney stones.
Bottom line: magnesium prevents kidney stones and helps your body better manage its calcium, which is essential to stopping those little stones from hurting your urethra.
Foods High in Magnesium
Eating foods high in magnesium yet low in oxalates is also essential, although you may choose to take a quality magnesium supplement to help you get the proper amount in your diet. Look here to find the recommended amount of magnesium for you.
Foods high in magnesium yet low in oxalates include:
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Swiss chard
Many of these can be paired together, for example:
- Avocado chocolate pudding using cocoa powder topped with raspberries
- Cooked spinach or Swiss chard
- Bananas and almond butter
- Cooked okra and beets
- Don’t forget to eat your pumpkin seeds!
Other Practices to Avoid Kidney Stones
Drink Plenty of Water
Water helps to flush out your kidneys as well as to restore the balance of water to minerals. This is one of the most common reasons that kidney stones form, so be sure to drink plenty of water—it’s so important for your body.
Make Friends with Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits are excellent for kidney stones. These include oranges, lemons, and limes. You can add these to that water you’re now sipping on throughout the day (ahem), or you can eat them by themselves. These fruits contain citrate which helps to break up kidney stones. Just pass on the lemonade—sugar can increase your risk for kidney stones!
Get Enough Calcium
It’s a paradox—calcium oxalate is known for causing the majority of kidney stones, yet if you don’t get enough calcium, this can actually increase your risk for kidney stones! This is because calcium binds to oxalate and prevents it from building up in the urinary tract. Take a quality supplement if you can’t get the recommended amount of calcium in your diet every day.
Pass on the Salt
Salt can actually trigger kidney stones: this happens because it leads to higher amounts of calcium in your urine. Try to minimize your salt intake and be aware of how much you’re consuming—eating out is a great way to increase your sodium intake, so cook at home more often.
Kidney stones can be painful—if you’ve had them once, you definitely don’t want to have them again! You can essentially prevent kidney stones by following these best practices as well as making sure you get enough magnesium in your diet. A diet with the proper amount of magnesium yet low in oxalates can help keep you kidney-stone free!
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