We all know about the typical summer hazards: sunburns, heatstroke, grill & pool safety, but did you know that summer is also prime time for kidney stones? According to William Haley, M.D., the uptick in kidney stones during the hotter months is attributed to inadequate hydration, heat and humidity. Other factors, such as diets high in calcium oxalate and protein consumption, contribute to kidney stones year-round. So what can you do to keep your kidneys healthy in the heat?
Drink Enough Fluids
The number one recommendation for preventing kidney stones is to make sure you’re drinking enough fluids, but choosing the right fluids to drink is also key. Sodas and sugary soft drinks have been strongly linked to the production of kidney stones and development of other health problems (see the infographic to the right for more on what too much cola can do). Water is naturally your best bet for getting hydrated, but that doesn’t mean your only options are still or sparkling at every summer barbecue. In fact, lemonade, orange juice, coffee, tea, wine and even beer have been shown to reduce the risk of kidney stones.
Keep the Burgers in Check
Animal proteins can have a dramatic effect on your digestive process. Most animal proteins contain purine, which turn to uric acid and contribute to most kinds of kidney stones. The sodium content of hot dogs, processed foods (including the tortilla chips you use to feast on salsa) and lunch meats doesn’t help much either, causing calcium to be secreted into the urine which can later form kidney stones.
Healthy kidney function is easy as a summer breeze as long as you stay mindful of your diet and fluid intake. Drink when you’re thirsty, but remember to drink some extra water after prolonged physical activity or heat exposure (bonus: this will help prevent dehydration, heat stroke, and nasty headaches as well). If you’re concerned about your diet, hydration, or are prone to kidney stones read more on prevention here and of course, talk to your doctor.
(Sources: Mayo Clinic, Huffington Post, Livestrong, National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse, Infographic from The Transformation Spot, Featured cover photo by flickr user gfpeck)