Anyone who has ever had to endure kidney stones will tell you that they are extremely painful. This is natural because stones can move out of your kidneys and block your urinary pathway, leading to a build up of waste fluids which can result in infections and severe pain. Kidney stones are a result of concentrated substances in the urine, which end up accumulating in the kidneys while they are on their way out of your body. Here are 5 ways you can avoid the formation of kidney stones.

Increase your water intake

The easiest way to discourage kidney stone formation is to keep your urine diluted. This is naturally the case if you are drinking enough water. While an average person needs about 8 glasses, if you have a history of kidney stones or live in a hot region, increase your intake according to your needs. A good way to see if you are drinking enough water is to monitor your urine. Concentrated urine is yellow while clear urine indicates high water content.

Cut back on sodium and proteins

Remember, your body is naturally programmed to flush out whats not used. If you are eating a lot of animal products or meat and not exercising much either, your body is likely to have an excess of protein, which has to be flushed out through the kidneys. This protein can lead to stone buildup, which is also linked to high sodium levels in your body. The best way to go is to use less salt in your food and try to eat a more balanced diet.

Be careful with dairy products

Dairy products are high in calcium, which in itself is responsible for kidney stones if your blood has a high calcium level. However, balancing your calcium intake will ensure that you don’t run the risk of stones. Supplements on the other hand, are linked with increased chances of forming kidney stones and should be avoided unless prescribed by your doctor.

Avoid oxalate rich foods

Calcium oxalate stones are one of the most common types and can be avoided by cutting down on oxalate-rich foods like beets, spinach, nuts, chocolate and tea.

Drink real lemonade

Citrate is believed to be effective against the formation of kidney stones and lemons are an excellent source for this. However, don’t go for flavored drinks, because you need real lemon juice to take advantage of the citrate present in it.