Staying healthy is a choice but not compulsory. We can eat and drink what we want just like we can do whatever we want. But it is also paramount to be mindful of our health and well-being as we don’t want to be ridden with regret when it’s too late.
One of the most important organs in our body is our kidneys. They are not just two bean-shaped organ. It is known for being an amazing organ because they have multiple functions such as reproduction of hormones, filtration of blood, absorption of minerals, and removal of all the toxins in our body. There’s no life without our kidneys. Kidneys must be checked from time to time as we check our overall health. If we want our kidneys to serve us very well until they can, here are the bad habits that we should be mindful to avoid:
Over the counter pain medicines, such as NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), may alleviate your aches and pains, but they can harm the kidneys, especially if you already have kidney disease. Reduce your regular use of NSAIDs and never go over the recommended dosage.
Diets high in salt are high in sodium, which can increase blood pressure and, in turn, harm your kidneys. Flavor your foods with herbs and spices instead of salt. Over time, you may find it easier to avoid using added salt (sodium) on your food.
Processed foods are significant sources of sodium and phosphorus. Many people who have kidney disease need to limit phosphorus in their diets. Some studies have shown that high phosphorus intake from processed foods in people without kidney disease may be harmful to their kidneys and bones. Try adopting the DASH diet to guide your healthy eating habits.
Staying well hydrated helps your kidneys clear sodium and toxins from the body. Drinking plenty of water is also one of the best ways to avoid painful kidney stones. Those with kidney problems or kidney failure may need to restrict their fluid intake, but for most people, drinking 1.5 to 2 liters (3 to 4 pints) of water per day is a healthy target.
A good night’s rest is extremely important to your overall well-being and, it turns out, your kidneys. Kidney function is regulated by the sleep-wake cycle which helps coordinate the kidneys’ workload over 24 hours. Research shows that people who sleep less usually have faster kidney function decline.
Animal protein generates high amounts of acid in the blood that can be harmful to the kidneys and cause acidosis – a condition in which kidneys cannot eliminate acid fast enough. Protein is needed for growth, upkeep and repair of all parts of the body but your diet should be well balanced with fruits and vegetables.
Sugar contributes to obesity which increases your risk of developing high blood pressure and diabetes, two of the leading causes of kidney disease. In addition to desserts, sugar is often added to foods and drinks that you may not consider “sweet.” Avoid condiments, breakfast cereals, and white bread which are all sneaky sources of processed sugar. Pay attention to the ingredients when buying packaged goods to avoid added sugar in your diet.
Sure, smoking isn’t good for your lungs or your heart. But did you know that smoking may not be good for your kidneys either? People who smoke are more likely to have protein in the urine – a sign of kidney damage.
Regular heavy drinking – more than four drinks a day – has been found to double the risk chronic kidney disease. Heavy drinkers who also smoke have an even higher risk of kidney problems. Smokers who are heavy drinkers have about five times the chance of developing chronic kidney disease than people who don’t smoke or drink alcohol to excess.
Sitting for long periods of time has now been linked to the development of kidney disease. Although researchers don’t know yet why or how sedentary time or physical activity directly impact kidney health, it is known that greater physical activity is associated with improved blood pressure and glucose metabolism, both important factors in kidney health.
Most of the time, we forget that our habits may harm our body and well-being. We may be too busy with our work and activities of daily living, but we must not forget to look after our well-being. Our goal is to live long and enjoy our lives so let us not forget that health is wealth and we cannot let our simple habits to harm ourselves. Instead, learn to live healthy and happy.