The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, located against the back muscles in the upper abdominal cavity just below the rib cage, one on each side of the spine. The kidneys detoxify the blood and aid the body in filtering out waste products through urine.
Another primary function of the kidneys is to remove excess water from the body. They also help retain water when the body needs more.
Moreover, the kidneys help regulate the levels of minerals like calcium and phosphate in the body. They also produce important hormones that help regulate body functions like blood pressure and making of red blood cells to carry oxygen and important nutrients throughout the body.
To stay healthy, it is essential to keep the kidneys functioning properly. Some common symptoms that can indicate kidney problems are a change in color and quantity of your urine, dizziness, vomiting, anemia, breathing issues, feeling cold most of the time, tiredness or fatigue, itchy skin, bad breath and sudden pain in the body.
Looking after your kidneys goes hand in hand with looking after your health and well-being. If you want your kidneys to thrive and serve you well for the foreseeable future, here is a list of habits you should avoid:
Cigarettes contain a very large amount of harmful substances. While we usually just think about our lungs, it’s much more than that.
Toxins travel through your body through your blood. When they get to your kidneys, they have to work overtime to remove what’s hurting you.
Of course, they can’t get rid of 100% of the toxins: particles get deposited in them, thus weakening them.
2. Vitamin B6 deficiency
A healthy diet is important for good kidney function. Vitamin B6 deficiency increases your risk of kidney stones. For optimal kidney function, you should consume at least 1.3 milligrams of vitamin B6 daily. The richest sources of this vitamin include fish, chickpeas, beef liver, potatoes and starchy vegetables, and non-citrus fruits.
3. Magnesium deficiency
If you don’t get enough magnesium, calcium can’t get properly absorbed and assimilated, which can result in calcium overload and kidney stone formation. To prevent that, consume green leafy vegetables, beans, seeds and nuts. The mighty avocado is a good source of magnesium as well.
In this case, the process is similar to what happens with smoking. However, alcohol affects your liver and kidneys in equal proportions.
Renal function worsens when your body continually receives high amounts of toxic or harmful substances.
5. Not sleeping enough
Overnight, your muscles, cells, and organs are revitalized and recuperate from all the work they do during the day.
If you don’t sleep enough (7 to 9 continuous hours), the recuperation process won’t be enough.
Think about how you feel in the morning when you go to work after not sleeping well… The same thing happens to your kidneys.
6. Waiting to empty your bladder
Holding it in too long when you have to go to the bathroom is very bad for your health, both for your kidneys and for your urinary tract and bladder.
This can lead to incontinence or kidney failure. Don’t wait until you can’t any longer. Go as much as you need to.
7. Drinking a lot of coffee
Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in today’s society. While it may be beneficial when consumed in moderation, the problem comes when there is too much caffeine in your system.
Remember that coffee dehydrates you and makes your kidneys work extra. This additional work can be very harmful.
Also keep in mind that soda (especially cola), contains high amounts of caffeine and has the same effect as coffee.
8. Consuming a lot of salt
In excess, sodium is not good for your kidneys. These organs regulate the metabolism of salt in water, and if there is too much of the former, they can’t do their job well.
For an adult, daily salt consumption should not exceed 5 grams (half a tablespoon).
It is essential to pay attention to this, since most processed food today contains a lot of sodium.
We also recommend not eating foods with high amounts of potassium, because it cannot be completely removed by your kidneys and builds up in your blood.
9. Regular Use of Analgesics
Many of us have the habit of taking analgesics (over-the-counter painkillers) to control pain and reduce fever and inflammation. But this can damage different body organs, including the kidneys.
Research shows that analgesics may reduce blood flow to the kidneys and deteriorate kidney functioning. Moreover, heavy or long-term use of over-the-counter analgesics can cause acute renal failure or chronic kidney disease known as chronic interstitial nephritis.
If you have decreased kidney function, do not take painkillers without asking your doctor. Even with normal kidney function, analgesics should be used as directed, at the lowest dose possible and for the shortest time.
10. High Protein Diet
Protein is good for your health, but excessive consumption of red meat and other protein-based foods can increase the risk of developing kidney disease.
One of the roles of the kidneys is to metabolize and excrete nitrogen by products from protein digestion. High protein intake increases the metabolic load of the kidneys by chronically increasing glomerular pressure and hyperfiltration. This in turn increases the risk of kidney problems.
So, limit your intake of red meat for the overall health of your kidneys. Moreover, those who have kidney problems must avoid eating red meat as it can worsen the condition.