You can seriously damage the function of your kidneys if you have bad lifestyle habits such as physical inactivity, being dehydrated, lacking vitamins and minerals, holding your pee in, drinking too much alcohol, eating a lot of sugar or protein, and having high blood pressure.
Around 20 million Americans are affected by kidney diseases and more at risk of developing some kind of kidney issue. The damage to the kidneys doesn’t happen overnight. It happens slowly, but it becomes worse as the number of bad habits increases.
Here are the 17 habits that lead to kidney damage:
- Excessive sugar intake
You will surely damage the kidneys if you eat too much candy, snacks, desserts, or sodas.
- Insufficient water intake
When you don’t keep your body hydrates, it will accumulate toxins and waste in the body and damage the kidney or cause kidney stones.
- Constantly Holding It In
When you hold the pee for a long time, you are actually retaining the toxins in your body that need to be eliminated. This can damage the kidneys and cause kidney stones.
- Not Monitoring Your Blood Pressure
You should keep your blood pressure under control because high blood pressure can damage the kidneys.
- High salt intake
If you eat a lot of salt without being aware and you also suffer from hypertension you may damage your kidneys. You should ditch the junk food, packaged foods, snacks, or canned food because they are full with salt. You should eat more fruits and veggies, as well as nuts and homemade snacks.
- Excessive Protein intake
When you eat too much protein, especially from red meat, you can increase the risk of damaging the kidneys. The kidneys are there to eliminate the toxins, and some of them come from protein sources. So, when you eat too much protein, the kidneys start to work too much and become damaged.
- Poor dietary habits
You shouldn’t take a lot of potassium and phosphorus, and you should stay away from:
- Vegetables and fruits such as potatoes, tomatoes, bananas, and oranges
- Nuts, lentils, meat, fish, and poultry
- Whole-grains that are rich in phosphorus
But, you should eat more of these foods:
- Protein in moderate quantities
- Veggies and fruits, such as green beans, peaches, carrots, apples
- Foods rich in magnesium and vitamin B6
- Rice milk instead of dairy
- Corn and rice-based cereals
- Not Treating Infections on time
Any infection you have such as cold, flu, pharyngitis, tonsillitis, or a viral infection can be treated on time since the virus can cause kidney damage and spread to other organs.
- Medication use
When you incorrectly use medications such as ibuprofen, aspirin, antibiotics, and acetaminophen, you might do a serious harm to the kidneys.
- Excessive use of Artificial Sweeteners
If you regularly consume drinks that contain artificial sweeteners you will increase the risk of kidney failure.
- Skipping Exercise
When you exercise your blood circulation improves and you are able to fight more diseases.
- Not Sleeping Well
When you sleep the body heals itself. So, when you don’t get a proper rest you can damage the kidneys, block the arteries, and increase the blood pressure.
- Genetically Modified Foods
GMO has been linked to kidney and liver damage. Therefore, you should stick to organic food and avoid packaged foods that might be GMO.
- Excessive Caffeine intake
If you regularly drink a lot of coffee you will raise your blood pressure and damage the kidneys, which may lead to kidney stones or kidney failure.
- Vitamins and Mineral deficiencies
If you lack certain vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B6 or vitamin D you will surely increase the risk of damaging the kidneys.
- Excessive alcohol intake
If you drink alcohol excessively you will apply pressure to the organs and dehydrate your body. In that case the organs won’t function properly and you will be left with a lot of health issues.
If you are a smoker you can increase the risks of damaging your cardiovascular health, affect your blood pressure, have a fast heart rate, and narrow the blood vessels in the kidneys. If you are a diabetic, this is particularly dangerous because you can increase the risk even more of getting kidney issues.
The best foods in terms of the health of the kidneys:
Buckwheat: You can find a lot of vitamins in buckwheat such as B vitamins, phosphorus, iron, fiber, and magnesium. It is also great if you are gluten intolerant or you have celiac disease.
Olive Oil: Olive oil contains healthy fats that have anti-inflammatory properties, which is great if you have a kidney disease.
Garlic: Garlic contains a lot of vitamin C, vitamin B6, and manganese which are essential vitamins for proper functioning of the organs.
Egg Whites: The yolks in the eggs are very nutritious, but the whites provide proteins that are great for the kidneys. They are also great for people who are on a dialysis treatment.
Cauliflower: This veggie contains a lot of vitamin C, vitamin K, fiber, folate, and other compounds that are anti-inflammatory. When you consume them you will support the kidney function and prevent any damage.
Red Grapes: Red grapes are fruits that are good for the kidneys because they contain vitamin C, flavonoids, and resveratrol.
Blueberries: They contain a lot of antioxidants that are great if you have diabetes, heart disease, cancer, or cognitive decline. They have low amounts of phosphorus, sodium, and potassium, which makes them great for the kidneys.
Pineapple: This fruit contains fiber, vitamin B, manganese, and bromelain, which are all known to fight inflammation.
Onions: Onions are full with vitamins B, vitamin C, and manganese which feed the healthy bacteria in the guts.
Shiitake Mushrooms: These mushrooms can be used as substitute for meat for those who don’t eat meat or need to reduce the protein intake. They are full with selenium, B vitamins, manganese, and copper, as well as fiber, and protein.
Sea Bass: This fish is full with omega-3s that fight anxiety, depression, and inflammation.
Cabbage: Cabbage contains a lot of vitamins, minerals, and other compounds such as vitamins B, C, and K, as well as fiber. It is great for the kidneys because it is low in phosphorus, sodium, and potassium.
Arugula: Arugula is a green veggie that is high in vitamin K, calcium, and manganese. It is full with nitrates that can lower the blood pressure which is also great if you have kidney disease.
Bulgur: This grain is rich in iron, vitamin B, magnesium, fiber, and manganese, which are all kidney-friendly nutrients.
Macadamia Nuts: If you have kidney issues you can treat them with macadamia nuts because they are full with vitamin B, healthy fats, iron, magnesium, manganese, and copper.
Radish: Radishes contain a lot of vitamin C and other essential nutrients that lower the risks of many diseases.
Skinless Chicken: When you have kidney issues you should eat high-quality protein in moderate amounts. Skinless chicken breasts are a great option because they are low in sodium, phosphorus, and potassium.
Cranberries: Cranberries are great if you have an UTI or a kidney disease. They contain phytonutrients that prevent infections by fighting and preventing bacteria from sticking to the bladder and the urinary tract. Those with kidney issues also have a higher risk of UTIs.
Bell Peppers: These veggies contain a lot of vitamin A and C, and they are low in potassium. These vitamins are essential for the treatment of kidney diseases.
Turnips: Turnips are also a great food for the kidneys because they contain a lot of fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C, manganese, and calcium.