Summer is a time for outdoor adventures, barbeques, fireworks, and sun. Of course, it is important to stay hydrated no matter the season or your activity level, but the soaring temperatures outside make it especially important this time of year. Aside from staving off dehydration, taking in plenty of fluids is also vital to the proper function of your kidneys.
While drinking plenty of water is the no-nonsense go-to for keeping all of your body’s systems healthy, research suggests that tipping back a couple glasses of lemonade this summer could have a beneficial effect as well—especially for those who struggle with kidney stones.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, “obstructions caused by problems like kidney stones, tumors or an enlarged prostate gland in men” can increase risk factors for developing Chronic Kidney Disease. These risks are already heightened for individuals with Diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or a family history of any of these conditions. Furthermore, if you have had even one kidney stone in your lifetime, you are at an increased risk of developing a second.
Potassium citrate is a common treatment for people who experience chronic kidney stones. However, studies show that juices high in natural citrate may have a similar effect. This includes beverages like lemonade and limeade. Citrate helps prevent crystal formation in the kidneys, reducing your likelihood of developing stones.
Real lemon and lime juices are the most effective sources of naturally occurring citrate, but unfortunately, these juices are often laden with sugar, which increases stone risk. Limiting the amount of sugar that you add to your citrus drinks, or using a sugar replacement, can help to balance out the benefits. Additionally, a squeeze of lemon atop certain foods can be a zesty way to add flavor to your meals and reap the benefits of citric acid, and a few ounces of fresh citrus juice can go unnoticed in smoothies.
So, if you have had issues with or are concerned about kidney stones, don’t hesitate to stop at that lemonade stand on your way home or whip a citrusy smoothie to help you cool down from the summer heat. Your kidneys will thank you!