Foods That Can Cause Kidney Damage
Kidney disease is a common problem among Americans. In fact, it is the 8th highest cause of mortality in the US, and 10th leading cause of life years lost. These sobering statistics signify the importance for one to be educated not only on what kidney disease is, but also on how to prevent it. Interestingly enough, the foods that you eat can have a major impact on the well-being of your kidneys. Therefore, it is important to be aware of how your diet can be affecting your kidneys. Improving your diet can either be the start to preventing further kidney damage, or a prevention method altogether.
First Things First, What Even Is Kidney Disease?
Prior to delving into the foods that cause kidney disease, it is important to understand what kidney damage is. The kidneys play a critical role in the body’s overall function and can become damaged in a multitude of ways. These various causes can be acute or chronic, meaning they may be due to something that happened suddenly or something that has slowly occurred over time. Diet, for example, is one of the causes that can over time harm your kidneys and prevent them from functioning properly.
How Does Food Impact Kidneys In The First Place?
In order to understand how what you eat can impact your kidneys, you have to know the purpose of the kidneys. The kidneys filter nearly everything in the body; this can range from the toxins that various cells produce to medications that you ingest. With this in mind, as you eat food, your body absorbs it. The kidneys task is then to filter out the nutrients that your body needs while excreting the ones it doesn’t.
Is There Anything In Food That Is Especially Bad For The Kidneys?
Great question! In particular, high amounts of sugars and salts strongly impact your kidneys. For someone without kidney disease, their bodies are able to handle the general filtration of high-salt and sugar meals. However, if a person has a long history of foods and drinks that are high in sugars and salt, their kidneys can begin to not function as well. As kidney function decreases, if you continue to not adjust your diet, this will cause your kidney function to worsen even further. Therefore, throughout this list, the common theme will be foods that are high in salt and sugar.
What Foods Are High In Salt And Sugar?
Unfortunately, several of our favorite foods are high in both of these. Particularly, junk food such as chips, cookies, and ice cream, can negatively impact your kidney function. Of course, the key is good balance. While high-sugar and high-salt meals can negatively impact your kidneys, it does not necessarily mean that you must cut them out completely. Rather, it is striking a balance of not excessively indulging in these meals, while also not keeping yourself from having a delicious treat every so often.
What Other Sorts Of Foods Should I Avoid?
In addition to the role that the kidneys play in filtration, they also have the critical function of regulating the body’s electrolytes. These electrolytes, which include potassium, sodium, calcium, and phosphorus amongst others, are critical to keeping your body functioning properly. If your electrolyte levels are outside the normal limits, you may find yourself exhibiting a vast array of symptoms. Certain foods, such as bananas, dairy, and brown rice are exceptionally high in particular electrolytes. Whereas with healthy kidneys, this will not impact the body’s electrolyte levels, a person with kidney disease is more susceptible to electrolyte shifts due to food intake.
Well, What Can I Eat?
If after reading this article you are left feeling as though there is nothing healthy to eat, have no fear. There are several alternatives within food groups that are equally tasty to those listed above, and will not have the same negative impact on your kidneys. For example, rather than grabbing a banana the next time you are at the store, try a pineapple instead. Pineapples, while also being a fruit like bananas, are packed with less electrolytes which will be easier on your kidneys. Another example is instead of eating brown rice, substitute it with white rice.
This All Seems Backward. So I Shouldn’t Eat Healthily?
It can seem as though the foods that we are taught to eat in order to be healthy should be limited in patients with kidney disease. The key to deciding on a diet with kidney disease is to limit large fluctuations in your body’s nutrients, electrolytes, and toxins. The healthy foods that a normal person can consume with no problem, are unfortunately detrimental to damaged kidneys. Therefore, while it seems backward to suggest eating less healthy foods such as brown rice, patients with kidney damage are operating under different circumstances.
Is This The Same Concept As Drinks?
Absolutely! Drinks that are high in salts, sugars, or electrolytes should be avoided. This includes dark sodas and orange juice. In order to keep track, we suggest keeping a daily log of your drink intake, so you can monitor what is entering your body.
What Should I Do If I Have More Questions?
At Cassena Kidney Care, we specialize in the prevention, treatment, and education of kidney disease. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with kidney disease, or have any questions in regards to the kidneys, please contact us! Our dedicated team of providers and staff provide a comforting atmosphere to get you feeling better quickly, and answer any questions you may have. We look forward to speaking with you soon!