WE’LL DRINK TO THIS
Why Lemonade Is a Sweet Idea for Healthy Living
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade—doctor’s orders! Two studies indicate that drinking the tart treat may fight kidney stones. The traditional treatment is for doctors to give potassium citrate in pill or liquid form, but the citrate content in natural lemons may be a viable alternative.
One cup of concentrated lemon juice with seven cups of water is recommended, with the goal being to increase urinary output to 1.5 to 2 liters a day. But this isn’t a simple cure-all. Both studies targeted only people with low urinary citrate, so not everyone with kidney stones may benefit. Don’t think you can just drink some lemonade and be done with it, says Joseph Vassalotti, MD, chief medical officer for the National Kidney Foundation. “Anybody with kidney stones or who’s had them,” he says, “should absolutely talk to his doctor before doing anything.”
According to the NKF, people at kidney-stone risk should talk to their doctor about consumption levels of salt, calcium, oxalate and protein, as well as supplements containing vitamins C and D, and fish-liver oils. Plus, the lemonade must contain real lemon juice, and there’s the danger of increasing calorie intake for those who enjoy their lemonade sweet.
“People with kidney-health issues need to be careful about their diet,” says Dr. Vassalotti. “In particular, people on a low-potassium diet must be careful of their intake of food high in potassium—including lemons.
“The simple thing is to increase fluid intake to dilute the constituents that cause kidney stones,” he continues. “Water can accomplish that, too.”