Friday, July 25, 2008

Iced Tea & Kidney Stones

Get rid of the soda and sugary drinks. Choose tea to boost intake of those heart-healthy antioxidants and otherwise beneficial flavonoids. We've all heard the good news about tea.

What is not so well known is that iced tea contains high concentrations of oxalates, which are chief culprits in creating kidney stones. Oxalates are found in many plant foods and are particularly concentrated in some foods: spinach, chocolate, nuts, strawberries, wheat bran, beets, rhubarb -- and tea.

For more information on diet, check out this University of Pittsburgh Medical Center article on the Low Oxalate Diet.

Meanwhile, a colleague recently had a most painful experience with kidney stones (she spent "ten grueling days" recovering from the pain of it all). Hearing her story was enough to make me want to give up oxalate-rich foods (some of my favorites are oxalate rich no-no's!).

The good news is that staying hydrated (lots of fresh water, ideally with fresh lemon, which brings kidney-stone busting citrates to the rescue) makes a huge difference. According to Dr. John Milner of the department of urology at Loyola University Chicago, Stritch School of Medicine:

"Lemonade, not the powdered variety that uses artificial flavoring, actually slows the development of kidney stones for those who are prone to the development of kidney stones."

In addition to drinking more fluids, Milner also advises people prone to kidney stones to ease up on foods high in oxalates, sodium, and animal proteins.

Jackson-Siegelbaum gastroenterologists in Pennsylvania also recommend a Kidney Stone Diet that includes insoluble fibers, which whisk unabsorbed calcium safely through the bowels versus the kidneys.

Alas, summer is apparently the worst time for kidney stones, as people sweat more, become more frequently dehydrated, and drink more oxalate-rich iced tea, especially in our southern states!

Right about now, some of you are perhaps thinking, "Hmm...how much lemon will it take to neutralize those oxalates in my beloved iced tea?" :-)

P.S. After I first posted this blog entry, my brother said, "I'm going to stop reading your blog." Apparently, he stopped drinking diet soda after reading Dr. Rodier's blog entry Diet Soda also Makes You Gain Weight - A Lesson in Sweeteners. Stephen switched to iced tea promptly.

Now Stephen is upset to learn that iced tea can lead to kidney stones. Stephen said rather sarcastically this afternoon,"Great. So it's all bad for you, right? Why don't you just tell people to stop breathing. Oxygen can't be so good for you if it oxidizes things!"

Teri and I had a good laugh. And, I told Stephen to go ahead and drink the tea, just drink more water with lemons too! :-)

1 comment:

David said...

Health problems are one of the dilemmas of the people. Every single one of us, or someone we know, is facing some health challenges. It seems like everywhere you turn, there’s a story about how unhealthy most Americans have become. One of the main threats in our health is the kidney problem. Obesity and diabetes are some of the major health issues we see. Both are, no doubt, on the rise among both adults and children. In a recent report from the New York Times, kidney stones are becoming more and more common in children as young as 5 or 6. Back in the ‘70s and ‘80s, a child with kidney stones was a rare case; nothing compared to what it is today. Two of the biggest risk factors are children (and adults) not drinking enough water and eating too much salt. It is hard, however, for parents to regulate their children’s intake 24-7 especially when parents are at work and while the children are at school. There’s really nothing more to do than to educate your children about the issue and healthy eating and most importantly, set a good example as well. Kidney stones are harmful to your children. In addition to that, it can also leave a major strain on your budget. Let’ face it, in this world where all of the cost of the products and the medicines cost an arm and leg. It’s very difficult to all of us to deal with money problems. If you are unable to cover those unexpected doctor bills, payday installment loans can get you the immediate cash you need to accommodate you or your child’s journey to recovery. We want to have not only a happy but also a healthy lifestyle for our family.
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