Summer is kidney stone season! Try these suggestions to avoid kidney stones this summer.

1. Stay Hydrated

The most common cause of kidney stones is easily preventable: dehydration! The Mayo Clinic recommends adults get between two and four liters of fluids each day, even if you’re not prone to kidney stones. If you exercise, live in a hot and humid climate, or are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should increase your water intake.

One way to keep hydrated is to buy a 20-ounce bottle, take it everywhere you go, and work up to filling it up three times a day.

2. …The Right Way

What you drink is just as important as staying hydrated. Quenching your thirst can actually increase your chance of forming kidney stones. They have a lot of sodium added.

Choose water, green tea, lemonade, or limeade. Lemonade is an especially good choice because lemonade made with fresh lemons has citrate, an inhibitor of kidney stones. Some drink mixes have citric acid as a primary ingredient, so they’re a good choice, too.

3. Watch Your Sodium Intake

Salt makes things taste delicious, so it’s no surprise that restaurants use a ton in their food. High levels of sodium in your body can cause your kidneys to work in a way that makes it easier for stones to form. Even something as simple as a chicken breast prepared in a restaurant can have lots of salt, so it’s better to prepare your own food at home.

4. Avoid High Oxalate Foods

Oxalate is found in many foods, and it contributes to the formation of kidney stones. Lots of people think that reducing their calcium intake is important for reducing kidney stones. They should be reducing their oxalate intake. High oxalate foods include:

  • Beans
  • Beer
  • Beets
  • Berries
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Cranberries
  • Dark green vegetables, such as spinach
  • Nuts
  • Oranges
  • Rhubarb
  • Soda (cola)
  • Soybeans
  • Soy milk
  • Spinach
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Tea (black)
  • Tofu
  • Wheat bran

5. Keep Calcium in Your Diet

Calcium is an important part of preventing kidney stones. It binds with oxalate and then is flushed from the body. Without calcium, oxalate can build up, which causes stones. Eat a healthy, varied diet and take a multivitamin to ensure you’re getting enough calcium.

6. Know What’s In Your Supplements

Have you read the labels for your supplements? Knowing what’s in your supplements is important, especially if you’re prone to kidney stones. For instance, you shouldn’t be taking an extract that’s derived from a high oxalate-food. Check with your urologist if you’re unsure about the ingredients in your supplements — and their effect on kidney stones.

7. Stay Away from Alkaline Water

None of the claims about alkaline water have been proven. There is no evidence that alkaline water can prevent diseases, boost metabolism, or slow aging. It’s rare, but drinking alkaline water has coincided with the development of kidney stones. Drink plain water instead.