Filtering and excreting waste products in the bloodstream is your kidneys job. They also maintain the body’s overall fluid balance and release hormones that make red blood cells, ensure bone health, and regulate blood pressure.
We put our kidneys through a lot – via diet, medications, and environmental toxins. The result can be a struggle with kidney cancer, stones, polycystic kidney disease or even kidney failure. Even if we can trust that our kidneys are tough, we should help them do their job by avoiding the following foods:
If you are prone to kidney stones, nuts are not the best snack. They contain a category of mineral called oxalates, which are found in the most common type of kidney stone. If you’ve had stones in the past, skip the nuts all together.
They come with a high dose of potassium, which controls fluids, electrolyte balance, and pH level. Kidneys rely on the right balance of potassium and sodium to do their job properly; too much of either means trouble.
Hyperkalemia is the name for having too much potassium in the blood, and this happens in people with advanced kidney disease. It often causes nausea, weakness, numbness, and slow heart rate.
This is a rough one if you rely on your morning cup of coffee or tea to get going each day. Soda and energy drinks are similarly dangerous if you already have issues with your kidneys. Studies show that long-term caffeine consumption can worsen chronic kidney disease and may increase the risk of kidney stones.
Caffeine is a mild diuretic, which affects the kidneys’ ability to absorb water. In reasonable amounts, this shouldn’t stop your kidneys from accessing enough water to do their job, but in excess it can be a problem.
Dairy products, including milk, cheese, and yogurt, are loaded with calcium and increase the level of calcium in your urine. This has been linked with a higher risk of kidney stones. For people who already have kidney disease, reducing consumption of dairy has been found to make the filtering work done by kidneys easier on them. This can delay the need for dialysis.
Butter is a dairy product high in saturated fat, which ups the risk of heart disease. Unfortunately, heart disease is a major risk factor for kidney disease, and kidney disease presents similar risks to the heart.
Meat contains a significant amount of protein. Now, protein is very important to growth processes and the health of our muscles, but metabolizing it is one of the hardest jobs our kidneys do. A diet high in animal-based proteins also increases the risk for kidney stones. For those reasons, a high protein diet is not recommended for people with kidney disease.
Meat, especially organ meat like liver, also has a high concentration of purine. Purine stimulates the production of uric acid, a waste product that is normally processed out by the kidneys. Too much is overwhelming and can cause stones.