Kidney stones are a really painful experience so best to avoid if possible. A study of almost 80,000 women found that too much refined salt, not enough calcium* and not enough water increased the risk of kidney stones.
Kidney Stones are developed by susbtances in the urine that can cause crystals (remember the experiments when you were a child - grow your own crystals, taken to a whole new level). Water can dilute these substances and resist the formation.
Many have linked too much calcium with kidney stones but the opposite has shown to be true.
Those with high intake of salt were shown to have the highest chance of developing the stones. Some of the biggest sources of sodium include fast food, processed meats and canned foods. So people prone to kidney stones need to become good label-readers and be careful when eating out.
Similarly, the group who drank the most fluid had a 20-percent lower risk of kidney stones than women with lowest intakes. Average water intake was about one and a half liters per day.
If you are not sure if you are drinking enough pure water a good test is the colour of your urine. Ideally it should be a pale straw colour, though certain foods will colour your urine and some supplements if absorbed properly will also darken your urine. Beetroot makes urine red and vit b sups turn it a dark yellow for instance. However, generally if your urine is dark you need to drink more water.
More sodium, meanwhile, meant a higher risk. The one-fifth of women with the saltiest diets were 61 percent more likely to develop stones than the fifth with the lowest sodium intake.
LESS DAIRY, MORE STONES?
As for calcium, it's important for everyone -- but particularly older women -- to be aware that cutting out dairy foods may actually contribute to kidney stones.
*Calcium supplements are different, and it may be because they provide a large, isolated dose of the mineral.
People prone to stones should be "cautious" about calcium supplements, But if a woman is on calcium to protect her bones, she should talk to her doctor about whether she can stick with it. Calcium supplements should be prescribe by your nutritionist and a manageable doseage agreed. Some tend to over react and take them like smarties.