Can Your Diet Affecqnur Kidneys?
Wouldn’t it be sheer bliss, if you could lead a life in which you could eat what you want, where you want, how you want and when you want and still not worry about the consequences? But unfortunately, real life is totally different, as every single morsel you put in your mouth has an impact on your vital organs like the brain, liver, kidneys and intestines.
Also, apart from your lifestyle and medications, food is an important tool to counter many chronic diseases. But sadly, thanks to the World Wide Web, every half-baked individual with a smattering of medical knowledge, professes to be a health guru. These unscrupulous people spout forth their nonsensical advice and ignorant people swallow it, because they believe the printed word is always correct and authentic.
There have been plenty of food fads over the years that inevitably died a natural death. The most well-known failed food fad was the Atkins Diet which was wildly popular in 2003-2004. The Atkins Diet was invented by Robert Atkins and propagated a high protein and very low carbohydrate diet. The major risk of this kind of diet is heart disease. It was indeed poetic justice that Atkins himself developed heart disease after following his own diet. Thus, the Atkins diet fell out of favour in 2005 after the death of its creator.
Similar to the role it plays in heart health, diet plays a major role in influencing kidney activity as well and can influence the behaviour of normal kidneys as well as the diseased kidneys.
Influence Of Food On Normal Kidneys
High protein intake, specifically animal protein, increases blood flow to the kidneys and increases kidney activity. This might seem an attractive proposition initially, but in the long run, increased blood flow puts extra pressure on the kidneys, causing kidney damage.
Increased salt intake (more than 10- 15 grams per day) causes retention of water and rise in blood pressure. This high blood pressure initiates kidney damage. In fact, high blood pressure is the second commonest cause of kidney disease, after diabetes. Salt also causes the kidneys to work overtime in order to excrete the salt loads, leading to overworked kidney injury and damage.
Sugar is a toxin that can damage the kidneys, eyes, brain, heart and blood vessels. Further, if too much sugar is consumed, the kidneys focus on removing the extra sugar and ignore other toxins.
There is a common misconception that one should drink a lot of water to keep the kidneys healthy. The logic here is that drinking more water will make one pass more urine and this, in turn, flushes out toxins from the system. However, this same logic fails to understand that while toxins are being flushed out, even nutritious materials and useful chemicals are also being flushed out!
Thus, in reality, excessive drinking of water can lead to precipitous drops in blood sodium levels which can result in confusion, drowsiness, seizures, coma and even death. Besides, increased water intake puts unnecessary pressure on the kidneys which have to excrete all the water entering the body.
Good Diet For Those With Normal Kidneys
An ideal diet includes the limitation of animal protein to three to four days a week, a limitation of salt to six to ten grams per day, reduction of oil (any kind of oil is bad, be it saturated or unsaturated), consuming plenty of fruits, vegetable proteins and two to three litres of fluids per day. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and carbonated drinks.
There is a common misconception that one should drink a lot of water to keep their kidneys healthy
Influence Of Food On The Diseased Kidneys
Diseased kidneys are unable to efficiently excrete water, salt, protein and many other naturally occurring chemicals which become toxins at high levels. Examples of these chemicals that are needed for normal day-to-day activity, but are toxic at high levels, are potassium, urea, phosphorus, uric acid, etc.
Thus, in those with diseased kidneys, diet should be geared to avoid further kidney damage, as well as minimise intake of these potentially toxic substances. The recommended diet in patients with kidney disease is to reduce salt intake to two to six grams per day, consume 2000 to 2500 kilocalories per day with 60 per cent carbohydrates, 30 per cent fats and 10 per cent proteins and decrease phosphorus, potassium and uric acid intake.
These diet alterations can be easily carried out by avoiding animal protein, fruit juices, coconut water, alcohol and soft drinks. Water intake can be one and a half litres to two litres per day.
Remember, your kidneys are precious organs and everything you put in your mouth can influence them