Citric Acid And Its Health Benefits
Citric acid is an organic acid and a natural component of numerous fruit juices and fruits. It is not a vitamin or mineral and is not necessary in the diet. However, citric acid, not to be mixed-up with ascorbic acid (vitamin C), is helpful for people with kidney stones. It inhibits stone formation and breaks up small stones that are beginning to form.
Citric acid is protective; the more citric acid in your urine, the more protected you are from forming new kidney stones. Citrate, used in calcium citrate supplements and in some medications (such as potassium citrate), is closely related to citric acid and also has stone prevention benefits. These medicines may be prescribed to alkalinize your urine.
How does citric acid protect against kidney stones?
Citric acid makes urine less ideal for the formation of stones. In its organic form, such as from citrus fruits, citric acid doesn’t alkalinize the pee as citrate (from medication) does. Rather, it prevents small stones from becoming “problem stones” by covering them and preventing other material from connecting and building onto the stones.
What are the best sources to get Citric Acid?
Citric acid is most common in citrus fruits and juices. Of these fruits, lemons and limes have the most citric acid. While grapefruits, oranges, and berries also contain appreciable amounts, lemons and limes will most significantly contribute to the citric acid content of your pee.
A one half cup (4 ounces) of pure lemon juice per day or 32 ounces of prepared lemonade provide about the same amount of citric acid as does pharmacological therapy. In addition to increasing your citric acid consumption, drinking adequate fluids (at least ten 8-ounce glasses per day) – more in summer or when physical activity promotes heavy perspiration – may be the most powerful way to lower your risk of developing stones.
10 Easy Tips to Increase Your Citric Acid Intake
1. Consume 5 or more fruits and vegetables everyday.
As limes and lemons provide the most citric acid per gram, concentrate on them. Remember, though, that increasing your intake of all fruits and vegetables – especially the citrus variety – will add to your citric acid intake and provide otheralso. For example, the magnesium, potassium, and phytate contained in fruits and vegetables protect you against forming new stones. Other phytochemicals in plant foods may prevent cancer and other chronic conditions.
* Here’s some advice to get more juice from lemons – roll them on a hard surface while pressing down with your palm.
2. Squeeze fresh lemon (or reconstituted lemon juice) into ice cube trays before freezing.
Directions: Fill trays nearly full with water. Then, squeeze half a lemon or more over the tray, and freeze. Use these cubes for spicing up water and other beverages. If you like the taste of lime, use lime instead of, or in addition to, lemons. Remember to drink at least 10 glasses of liquid every day to keep your urine dilute enough to prevent stones.
3. Squeeze Fresh lime or lemon juice directly into your fruit juice, tea, or water.
4. Use lemon juice. Water down 2 ozs. lemon juice with 6 ozs. water and drink twice a day – once in the morning and once in the evening – to achieve the goal of 4 ozs. lemon juice per day.
5. Drink lemonade every day. Depending on your urinary citrate concentration, 16-32 ozs. daily may be recommended, distributed throughout the day. To prepare homemade lemonade, squeeze a cup (4 ounces) of fresh lemon juice into a pitcher of cold water. Add sugar or sugar substitute, if desired.
6. Make a lemon or lime spritzer.
7. Use fresh lemon on spinach or lettuce salads.
8. Use freshly squeezed lemon or lime on fruit salads. Besides adding a zesty taste, the acid in the juice will prevent cut fruits, such as apples, from browning with exposure to air.
9. Use lemon or lime juice in marinades. When searching for marinades and other recipes, try the ones that call for lime or lemon juice, and include them into your menus at home.
10. Read the label. Choose products that are high in citric acid.