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Fruits, vegetables could ward off kidney stones

MASSACHUSETTS, Aug 18 – A diet rich in fruits and vegetables could stave off kidney stones, say US researchers reporting in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Researchers from Maine Medical Center and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts performed a large study on nearly 250,00 people over a period of 18 years to see if certain eating habits determined the likelihood of developing kidney stones.

Adhering to the DASH eating plan (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), was found to be effective against the formation of kidney stones, the study said. The DASH diet limits intake of salt and sodium, red and processed meats as well as sweetened beverages. It advocates eating a lot of fruits, vegetables, nuts and low-fat dairy products as well as whole grains and limiting alcohol intake.

Because kidney stones are linked to higher rates of hypertension, diabetes, increased body weight, and other risk factors for heart disease, the findings have important health implications, the researchers wrote.

The study included nearly 46,000 men, some 95,000 older women and over 100,000 younger women. Those who had adhered to the DASH plan were 40 to 45 percent less likely to develop kidney stones than those who didn’t follow the diet. Of the study participants, only 5,645 people developed kidney stones over the study period.

The reductions were also independent of age, body size and fluid intake, the report said.

According to the study authors, adopting a DASH-style diet could also be an effective alternative to treating kidney stones, particularly since many of the medications that are used to treat them have unpleasant side effects.

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