Our kidneys silently take care of filtering extra fluids, and toxic chemicals from our body and help maintain balance within our bodies. However, the choices we make on our plates can either support or strain this intricate filtration system.
So in this video, let’s learn about some of the most dangerous foods that could be a part of your regular diet but may be silently destroying your kidneys.
Number 1. High-Sodium Foods.
Your kidneys are like tiny filters that work tirelessly to clean your blood. But when you consume high-sodium foods, it’s like adding extra work to your already busy schedule. Too much sodium can overwhelm your kidneys, making it difficult for them to remove waste products and maintain proper fluid balance.
Sodium has a natural tendency to hold water. So when you eat too much sodium, it increases the amount of fluids in your body. This extra fluid puts extra pressure on your blood vessels, causing your blood pressure to rise.
And high blood pressure is a major risk factor for kidney damage. In fact, it has been estimated that over 27% of all new kidney failure cases in the U.S. alone are due to high blood pressure. This is mainly because consistently high blood pressure can damage the nephrons in your kidneys.
Over time, the constant strain of high blood pressure and fluid retention can cause scarring and damage to the kidney tissue. This can lead to decreased kidney function and, in severe cases, kidney failure.
Experts recommend that most healthy adults should not consume more than 2300 milligrams of sodium salts per day. But can you believe that most Americans consume much more than this? In fact, the average American has been estimated to consume about 3,400 mg of sodium per day.
Probably this is because most people among us feed on processed meats, such as bacon, ham, sausage, and hot dogs, in addition to canned vegetables, salty snacks, and even certain types of cheese and bread.
So it’s best to limit your intake of these high-sodium foods to keep your kidney health in check.
Number 2. Processed Meat.
Processed meats are often high in sodium, saturated fats, and preservatives. All these things put extra strain on your kidneys and can increase the risk of kidney damage.
Processed meats are often high in sodium and as I said a while ago, too much sodium can increase your blood pressure which can be very risky for kidneys.
Another thing is that processed meats break down into acidic waste products when our body digests and metabolizes them. These acidic products can increase the pH value of your blood, making it more acidic, and that puts your kidneys at risk too, as they try to filter them out of the blood.
Processed meats also often contain preservatives and additives that can harm your kidneys. Some of these substances can damage the kidney’s filtering mechanisms and reduce their ability to remove waste products effectively.
So it’s best to avoid processed meats as much as you can and go for healthier, natural, grass-fed varieties of beef, turkey, and chicken. And do ensure that the meat you are purchasing is at least 80% ground lean meat. Well, ground meat with an 80/20 lean-to-fat ratio means that 80% of the meat is lean and 20% is fat.
Number 3. Sugary Foods and Drinks.
First of all, let me tell you that the recommended intake of added sugars for adults is 6 teaspoons or 25 grams per day for women, and about 9 teaspoons or 36 grams per day for men. This amount makes up for about 10% of the total daily calories for a 2,000-calorie diet.
Surprisingly, a 2017 study by the American Heart Association (AHA) found that the average American consumes about 11 teaspoons or 44 grams of added sugar per day, which is way too much than we usually need.
But what does that added sugar do? Well, that extra sugar simply adds to the burden on your kidneys when they try to filter it out. This can overwhelm your kidneys and make it difficult for them to function properly.
Most sugary drinks, especially sodas and cola drinks also act as diuretics, causing your body to lose fluids more quickly. This can lead to dehydration, which can further strain the kidneys and make it difficult for them to function properly.
Even worse, sugar also tends to increase your blood sugar levels; and high blood sugar levels contribute to inflammation, which can seriously damage your kidneys over time.
By limiting your intake of sugary foods and drinks, you can help protect your kidneys from the harmful effects of excess sugar.
Always read food labels carefully and choose products that are low or free from added sugar.
Replace sugary drinks with water, unsweetened tea, or black coffee.
Replace sugary treats like candies, sweets, muffins, and cookies with fruits and vegetables.
And lastly, cook more meals at home so you can effectively control the amount of sugar you add.
Number 4. High-oxalate foods.
When it comes to kidneys, you don’t just need to be careful about “unhealthy” foods, but some of the healthy ones too, especially if your kidneys are already not okay.
Now, oxalates are naturally present in many plants, including certain vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. While oxalates play a role in various bodily functions, excessive consumption can lead to the formation of calcium oxalate kidney stones, which can cause kidney pain, blockages in urine flow, and even kidney failure.
In fact, many studies show that regularly eating a diet high in oxalates increases the risk of developing kidney stones. And not just kidney stones, oxalates can also potentially reduce the amount of calcium in your body, reducing its availability to keep your bones strong.
That’s because oxalates have a tendency to bind with calcium, and when oxalate levels in your body are high, they bind with calcium and form calcium oxalate crystals. These crystals can accumulate in your kidneys and bladder, and eventually form kidney stones.
Calcium oxalate crystals can also irritate and damage the lining of the tiny tubes inside your kidneys that filter out waste products from your blood. This damage can impair kidney function and lead to chronic kidney disease in severe cases.
Some of the most common high-oxalate foods are spinach, rhubarb, beets, dark chocolate, almonds, cashews, peanuts, and sesame seeds.
But you don’t have to completely keep them off your diet. Just don’t consume them too much and have them as a “balanced” part of your daily diet.
Number 5. Caffeine.
Caffeine is a diuretic, meaning it can increase urine production. In large amounts, this diuretic effect can contribute to dehydration, which can be bad for your kidney health.
Caffeine can also temporarily raise your blood pressure, which you might want to avoid especially if you already have hypertension or kidney disease.
Some studies also suggest that caffeine promotes the excretion of calcium in urine. This cannot just increase your risk of developing kidney stones, but can also be very bad for your bone health.
But again, you don’t need to eliminate caffeinated drinks from your diet. Just make sure not to drink them too much and watch out for the added sugar that usually comes with them.