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Stones That Stick

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Remember hearing “Sticks and stone may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”?

Well, I know two words that can: kidney stones.

A new study in the Journal of Urology says about 6% of the US population will suffer a kidney stone at some point. And I do mean suffer. If you ever had one, you know. If you never had one, you’re lucky.

Most stones are made of calcium oxalate. Taking calcium supplements increases risk of kidney stones, as well as heart disease.

So the US Preventive Services Task Force no longer recommends calcium supplements for healthy post-menopausal women.

But we all need calcium to stay healthy.

So where should it come from?

Your diet.

Calcium rich foods are protective. The study found those who consumed the most calcium containing food, from both dairy and non-dairy sources, had 20 to 30% fewer stones than those who ate the least dietary calcium.

So to reduce risk of kidney stones, cut out calcium supplements, but keep eating calcium-rich foods. Dairy products are great: milk, yogurt, and cheese. So are non-dairy calcium sources: figs, sesame seeds, nut, and the new green du jour, kale.

Click here for more dietary sources of calcium.