Best and Worst Beverages In Fighting Painful Kidney Stones

Looking for tasty ways to “liquidate” painful stones?


If you want to combat kidney stones, you’d better be. Harvard studies show that people who drink the most fluids have a better chance of avoiding these painful nuisances.

In one study, women who drank at least 11 8-ounce beverages a day were 38 percent less likely to develop kidney stones than women who drank less than six. Similar results were found in another study of men.  The men who drank the most fluids had a 35 percent lower chance of getting kidney stones than those who drank the least.

But that’s not the whole story. What beverage you choose also makes a difference. Here are the best – and worst – beverages to drink if you want to minimize your risk for kidney stones.

A piping hot cut of coffee might be just what you need to wake up – and bring down your chances of getting kidney stones by 10 percent. Like alcohol, caffeine waters down your urine and makes you go to the bathroom more often. That gives kidney stones little chance to develop. Oddly, decaf coffee also lowers your risk by 9 to 10 percent. This lead researchers to believe that something other than caffeine is at work.

Even though tea was suspected to be high in oxalate, a substance that can contribute to kidney stones, the Harvard studies found that tea lowered men’s  kidney stone risk by 14 percent and women’s risk by 8 percent. That’s probably because very little of the harmful oxalate is absorbed by the body. Researchers figure the increased flow of diluted urine caused by the caffeine in tea counteracts the small increase in oxalate.

This refreshing beverage contains a lot of citric acid, which is part of of citrate. Because citrate stops calcium-based stones from forming, of the common causes of kidney is a lack of citrate in the urine. A University of California at San Francisco study tested lemonade on a small group of people with low levels of urinary citrate. Lemonade more than doubled the amount of citrate in the urine while also cutting down on the calcium. So next time you sip a cool glass of lemonade on a hot day, remember you’re also putting kidney stones on ice.


Not all citrus fruits make good kidney stone-fighting drinks, however. Grapefruit juice actually increases your risk for kidney stones by as much as 44 percent. Researchers aren’t sure why, but suspect that grapefruit juice might increase your body’s  absorption of oxalate from other foods. Another beverage you might want to avoid is apple juice, which increased men’s risk  for kidney sotnes by 35 percent but did not affect women’s risk.

Wine and beer were actually the most effective beverages in preventing kidney stones in the Harvard studies. Alcohol likely helps fight kidney stones by making you urinate more often and by diluting your urine. However, alcohol contributes to so many health problems – including liver disease, pacreatitis, high blood pressure, and congestive heart failure – that it’s not wise to take up drinking just to battle kidney stones. If you don’t drink, don’t start. if you drink, limit your alcohol intake to one or two glasses of wine or beer a day.

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