Coffee and Kidney Stones – The Truth
Coffee is the most popular beverage imbibed by people from all over the world. Beans stripped from the coffee berries are roasted and pounded into a powder form to be brewed and served as a beverage. Drinking a cup of coffee or even several cups has its own benefits as well as risks, but the benefits outweigh the risks. This popular beverage, studies reveal, seem to assist in protecting our nervous system against degenerative diseases, increase mental alertness, reduces the risk of developing liver cirrhosis, and the tannins present in coffee can prevent the formation of dental caries to a great extent. Coffee also has a high content of caffeine, which is a bitter alkaloid that acts as a stimulant as well as a diuretic.
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There is a popular belief that since coffee has a diuretic effect; it can cause dehydration due to excess fluid loss; more so in individuals who cease to drink required amounts of water on a daily basis. It is a well known fact that the chances of kidney stone development among human beings increase twofold when the body is in a dehydrated state and remains so for longer periods of time on a regular basis. Minerals, normally found in human urine become crystallized when urine is highly concentrated and lacks natural substances that prevent them from forming into crystals.
An individual who have gone through the pain of passing a kidney stone would look for ways to prevent any further development of stones. Small stones can pass out of the system with ease. Bigger stones, though, can cause urinary obstruction making urination a painful process, and the person may experience frequent urge to urinate due to incomplete urine voidance from the obstruction. Build up of urine in the kidneys can make them swell, placing increased pressure around its surrounding organs and structures that can also be the cause of pain and discomfort that the individual normally experiences with kidney stones.
Women who have voided stones at some point in their life state that the pain generated from this is worse than the childbirth process. This torturous pain is enough for sufferers to realize that there is an immediate need to reform their lifestyle habits as well as bring about some dietary changes to prevent any further stone formation. This is because certain foods and addictive habits have been found to contribute towards the production of kidney stones. Some popular beverages too are discovered to be the culprits. So does coffee fall into this category? No. Actually, coffee drinking may help in preventing kidney stone formation because of its diuretic effect. The urine volume produced increases after coffee drinking, since it interferes with the body’s ability to reabsorb water. The water is eliminated in urine which reduces the uric acid levels, which is ideal for prevention of uric acid kidney stones. Moreover, minerals that crystallize into stones in concentrated urine become completely dissolved in alkaline urine. While some fear of dehydration from regular coffee drinking, studies have revealed that the diuretic effect is very mild and can cause dehydration only when approximately 6 to 7 cups of coffee or more is consumed in a day.
However, as is with all good things in life, one is to observe reasonable limits while drinking coffee. Anything in excess is bad.