Eat This Tropical Fruit To Help Reduce Your Risk Of Kidney Stones

You might not know it, but you could have a kidney stone developing inside you. Kidney stones are rather common, with about around one in 10 people experiencing a kidney stone in their life, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Some kidney stones can be the size of a grain of sand and pass through your body without symptoms. Larger kidney stones can cause symptoms such as lower back pain, blood in the urine, fever, or smelly urine. This means the kidney stone is having trouble passing through your body, which often requires medical help.

While low urine volume as a result of dehydration is a major risk factor for developing a kidney stone, your diet also plays a role. Diets high in sodium and meat and low in calcium and fluids increase your risk of kidney stones because they increase the concentration of urine and make it more acidic. This allows crystals to form in your kidneys.

Fruits and vegetables are not only hydrating, but they also provide key nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, and citric acid to prevent kidney stones from forming. One ideal fruit to choose is pineapple, which is 86% water and has 685 milligrams of citric acid per 100 grams, which can actually help reduce your body's acidity levels.

Pineapple makes your urine less acidic

It might sound confusing that fruits high in citric acid can turn your urine less acidic, but the acid in foods doesn't necessarily equate to more acid in your body's metabolic processes. That has to do with how much protein, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and calcium are being consumed, all of which contribute to the potential renal acid load, or PRAL. High PRAL scores mean high acidity, and low or negative PRAL scores mean the food is more alkaline.

Protein and phosphorus in foods make your body more acidic and can stress your kidneys, whereas potassium, magnesium, and calcium bring your body's acid levels down.  A cup of pineapple has a PRAL score of minus 3.67, which helps create a less acidic environment in your body and so decreases your risk of kidney stones. Compare that with a roasted chicken leg, which has a PRAL score of 33.33. Generally speaking, fruits and vegetables tend to have a negative PRAL score, which is good for your kidneys.

A diet to prevent kidney stones

Even though calcium oxalate stones are the most common type of kidney stone, diets too low in calcium can increase your risk. Dietary calcium attaches to excess oxalates in your digestive system, allowing them to be processed out of your body before they reach the kidneys. Therefore, foods high in oxalates, such as nuts, rhubarb, and chocolate soy milk, should be avoided or limited unless you include more calcium-rich foods.

In addition, high-sodium foods can cause calcium oxalate kidney stones by pulling more calcium into your urine, so check the label on foods such as cheese, canned soups, chips, and salad dressings for their added sodium. The same is true of diets high in animal protein, which also increase the oxalate and calcium in your kidneys. Meat-eaters should be doubly careful, as meat that's high in purines — such as red meat, organ meat, and sardines — can break down as uric acid in your kidneys and increase your risk of uric acid kidney stones, and this applies to alcohol, too. And of course hydration is an effective defense, so to increase your urine volume and reduce the risk of most types of kidney stones, be sure to drink at least 2.5 liters of water a day.