Without a doubt, kidneys are one of the most vital organs in your body. In fact, life and death depends on them in many serious cases. They produce white blood cells, detoxify internal organs through urine, regulate blood pressure, and eliminate excess water retention in the body. The kidneys also control the essential minerals in your blood as well. That’s why it is sacrosanct that you keep your kidneys healthy and functioning properly by following healthy dietary habits and a wholesome lifestyle.
However, there are certain kidney-damaging habits which you tend to make in your everyday life.
1. Not drinking enough water
Drinking water and remaining hydrated keeps your kidneys fit as a fiddle. Staying hydrated helps kidneys produce enough urine to remove toxins, and excess sodium from our systems. If these aren’t flushed out properly and on a regular basis, they end up becoming the prime reason for kidney stones.
It has been recommended to drink round 1.5 to 2 litres of water daily. But, keep in mind soda or cold drinks are not included in this estimate. It’s only water which will do the trick. If your pee is light yellow in colour you can be assured that you are properly hydrated.
2. Holding your pee
If you have to go to the bathroom, you should go immediately and empty your bladder. Holding up urine for a long time causes kidney problems because if urine stays longer in your system it becomes a playground for harmful bacterial growth which can multiply at an alarming rate. Such kidney-damaging habits will eventually lead to kidney infections and urinary incontinence.
3. Consuming too much salt and sugar
Nearly 95% of sodium intake of your body is metabolized by your kidneys. Eating excessively salty foods will only make your kidneys work overtime to process it. This can lead to loss of kidney efficiency thereby causing water retention in your body which increases blood pressure.
Besides salt, excess sugar consumption also leads to high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes. These triads of conditions lead to kidney failure. To avoid this ensure that you don’t exceed the recommended salt intake which is 3.75 grams and sugar intake which is 25- 38 grams per day. Exclude all sorts of processed and packaged food items with have high sugar and sodium content.
Too much training and work out can also be harmful. Rhabdomyolysis is a medical condition which develops if you over-strain your body. In this condition the muscles get injured and the dead muscle fibers flow right into your blood stream. These kinds of kidney-damaging habits can lead to kidney failure. So, if you notice dark colored urine after an extra workout, then it’s time to take it slow and perhaps, visit a doctor.
5. Chronic sitting
Having a sedentary lifestyle whether at home or at work, doesn’t change the fact that sitting in one position for a long time without any physical movement can increase the risk of kidney disease by 30%.
Regular physical activities like running, jogging or even brisk walking improves blood pressure and glucose metabolism which keeps the kidneys active and healthy. If you spend 8 hours sitting at your office, then try to be more active at home. Walk around the block and hit the gym at least 2 times a week.
6. Eating a lot of meat
Consuming a lot of red meat and animal protein creates an acid in your blood called acidosis. This is a serious condition in which your kidneys cannot maintain its normal Ph balance. Slowly this problem turns into serious digestive issues and chronic kidney problems.
Don’t exceed the daily recommended intake of protein which is 1-1.6 grams per kg of your body weight. You can even switch to more vegetarian options and, fruits and nuts. You can include different sources of protein in your diet like cottage cheese, tofu, eggs and fish.
7. Not getting enough sleep
A proper night’s sleep also does have a significant impact on the health of the kidneys. The regular sleep/wake cycle regulates and coordinates the kidney functions. Moreover, when we sleep and our body is at rest the kidney tissues are repaired and renewed. If we are insomniac or have irregular sleep patterns this process of repair and renewal of the kidney tissues are hindered and increases the risk of kidney damage.
Improper sleep causes a medical condition called atherosclerosis which means hardening and clogging of arteries. This condition causes high blood pressure and kidney failure over the time.
8. Ignoring common infections
Our body makes antibodies to fight when we develop common illnesses like coughs, colds, sniffles, flu, or tonsillitis. These disease-causing molecules usually settle themselves on the filtering parts of the kidneys and cause inflammations. Choosing to ignore them can cause kidney infections. You need to treat bacterial infections as soon as possible with antibiotics, rest and sleep to allow your body to repair and fight the bacterial invasion.
9. Drinking diet soda
According to medical studies, there is a direct relation between drinking diet soda and kidney problems. In a study it was proven that women who drank 2 or more sodas a day witnessed a significant decline in kidney efficiency. Here artificially sweetened drinks proved to be more harmful than sugar sweetened drinks. It would be wise to watch what you drink. Soda drinking can even turn into one of your kidney-damaging habits.
10. Over-dosage of painkillers
Regular or over use drugs like ibuprofen or aspirin can damage kidneys or even lead to complete kidney failure. Although moderate usage of the same drugs is safe, it should always be consumed as per the prescribed dosage. Drug-addiction can be one of the most fatal kidney-damaging habits
Over-the-counter analgesics decrease the blood flow to the kidneys and worsen the situation if you already have kidney problems. So even if you are suffering from pain try to practice some self-restraint and take the medications in moderation as per the doctor’s prescription, but don’t make the mistake self-medicating.