Our kidneys barely catch a break. The pair slogs round the clock to keep our body healthy by filtering out toxins and flushing out extra fluid from the body. And that’s not all! They detoxify the blood in our body and also produce essential hormones. The mantle of regulation of blood pressure rests on the bean-shaped duo too. So it goes without saying that kidneys have a bearing on our health. Therefore, damage to these vital organs could be irrecoverable. Yet, some of our everyday habits stand in the way of its healthy functioning. Starting with drinking less water to skipping breakfast – such lifestyle choices may seem trivial. But in the long run, these habits can damage our kidneys faster than we can imagine.
But it is not too late to unlearn these damaging habits and replace them with healthy ones. Here is a list of 8 common practices that are putting pressure on your kidneys along with tips on how to stop them.
1. Consuming too much of NSAIDs
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs are over the counter painkillers that help in alleviating aches and pains. We often tend to pop these pills even at the slightest twinge. You may not understand initially but painkillers can affect your kidney tissues in the long run and reduce its longevity. Prolonged use of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs accounts for 3% to 5% of cases of chronic kidney failure every year. Moreover, consumption in high doses at frequent intervals can affect the structure of the kidney and reduce the blood flow to the organ.
Pro Tip: Reduce your regular consumption of NSAIDs. And if you have no way out but take the painkillers, make sure that you never go over the dosage recommended by your doctor. But if it can be avoided altogether, then you better opt-out from taking painkillers. Use hot waters pads or pain relief sprays to soothe your cramps.
2. Eating a lot of salt
If you have a salt-inclined palette, then the chances are high that your kidneys are being harmed due to high blood pressure. Salts are high in sodium, which tends to affect our kidneys, thus leading to kidney failures. Eating salt in large quantities, especially uncooked, can raise the amount of sodium in the bloodstream and wreck the balance, thus reducing the ability of the kidneys to remove the water. As a result, there is extra fluid on the blood vessels that lead to the kidneys.
Pro Tip: Start with replacing salt with other taste enhancers. You can switch to herbs and spices to flavour your foods instead of salt. Even when a dish tastes bland, try to avoid putting raw salt on the food. Add some butter alternatively or eat it with pickles or some sauce.
3. Eating Processed Foods
Processed foods come with significant sources of phosphorus and sodium. This is precisely why doctors advise people with chronic kidney diseases to limit intake of fast foods and food items that contain preservatives. The phosphorus in processed foods also affects bones. Moreover, processed foods are high in carbohydrates, which lead to body fat.
Pro Tip: Try to eat fresh food. Chuck the juice boxes and opt for freshly squeezed juice. I know processed foods are easy to get your hands on but think about the long run and avoid such food. Switch to healthy eating habits. Here is a diet chart that you can move to.
4. Not Drinking Enough Water
Staying hydrated helps our kidneys flush out sodium and toxins from the body. This is why doctors swear by drinking plenty of water to avoid painful kidney stones. And even when a patient is diagnosed with kidney stones, and the severity isn’t much, doctors make patients pass out the stone from the kidneys by making them drink water in huge quantities. So make sure that you drink at least 1.5 to 2 litres of water per day. However, make sure that you don’t drink too much water at a time. Divide the 2 litres into 8 glasses and even it out by drinking every glass through the day after an hour and a half.
Pro Tip: If you don’t like to drink water, then try infused water. Put your favourite fruits, put it in a jug of water and let it sit. Or, maybe shake up your favourite smoothies or sip on coconut water. You can also try Kombucha. Here is the recipe for it.
5. Eating Too Much Meat
Animal protein generates high amounts of acid in the bloodstream. This, in turn, can affect the kidneys and cause acidosis. Acidosis is a condition in which the kidneys fail to eliminate the residual acid in our bloodstream fast enough. Yes, protein is essential for growth, but too much of it can harm your kidneys, and for that matter, all your organs.
Pro Tip: Maintain a well-balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables. Replace the meat in your food with tofu or mushrooms. And if you are an avid meat lover who cannot think of giving up meat altogether, then I suggest that you stick to poultry and try to give up red meat.
6. Smoking too much
I know that lighting up a smoke while doing a problematic financial statement analysis assignment help you ward off some stress. But you have no idea how badly it affects the vital organs. It is just not the lungs or the heart we are talking about here. Did you know that smoking isn’t good for your kidneys either? Smokers are more likely to have higher concentrations of protein and urea in their urine, which signifies kidney damage. Tobacco contains a compound called nicotine which weakens our body tissues. This leads to the need for dialysis or (God forbid) kidney transplants.
Pro Tip: To be honest, there are no tips to dish out when it comes to smoking. If you want to hold on to your dear life, just quit smoking altogether. That’s it!
7. Drinking Alcohol in Excess
If you are a heavy or a regular drinker, then you run double the risk of being diagnosed with chronic kidney diseases. And if you smoke as well, then even higher the risk of having a damaged kidney right in the prime of your life. Most distilled spirits are high on compounds that the kidney cannot break into simpler compounds and flush out of the body. As a result, the alcohol stays as a residual inside our body.
Pro Tip: Replace spirits with wine, if you may. As mentioned earlier, you can also switch to cultured beverages like Kombucha. The drink, like beer, tastes a little vinegary. I know that’s not even a match, but you have to sacrifice if you want to stay healthy for long.
8. Sitting still in one place
Sitting in one place for long periods can lead to several kinds of ailments. Researchers have found out that sedentary time or lack of physical activity has a direct impact on the health of our kidneys. When you lack movement in your daily life, your blood pressure increases and your glucose metabolism decreases. This leads to hypertension and diabetes, which in turn affects your kidneys.
Pro Tip: Stuck in our 9 to 5 jobs in front of our laptops, you cannot avoid sitting in one place for a long time. So try to go for walks in the morning. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. You can also do some light cardio or yoga.
Last but not the least, don’t make the mistake of ignoring symptoms. We are all guilty of neglecting flu and temperatures. But the kidney is way more delicate. So give it rest and allow it to heal properly. Get frequent checkups done to make sure that everything is fine.
Remember – it is your body – the temple that your soul lives in. So take care of yourself.