Avoid These Foods to Ensure Good Kidney Function

A primary function of the kidneys is to eliminate waste and toxic matter. As such, it only makes sense that certain foods would put an additional strain on these vital organs. Some foods are more harmful than others, which is why we have compiled the following list of foods to limit or avoid.

#1. Excessive Protein

Protein is an essential nutrient for building muscle. However, the average American consumes far more protein than he or she needs. The ideal amount for adults is one gram of protein for every 2.2 pounds of body weight. Ensure you do not go over that amount by learning the protein content of your favorite meats and weighing portions if necessary. You should also remember that protein is found in other sources such as dairy, beans, and nuts.

#2. Salt

We all know that too much salt is harmful, yet most of us greatly underestimate the amount of sodium in our diet. Processed foods in particular are very high in sodium, in which case a single serving could put you over your daily limit. Read labels carefully to determine how much salt different foods contain. When cooking, season with herbs and spices rather than salt, and avoid sprinkling table salt on top of prepared dishes.

#3. Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose have been shown to have a detrimental effect on the kidneys. A study performed by nurses showed that kidney function declined after drinking just two diet soft drinks per day. Artificial sweeteners may also cause blood sugar levels to spike, despite the fact that they contain no sugar. This is the reason why the American Diabetes Association recommends using caution when consuming any sugar substitutes.

#4. Genetically Modified Foods (GMO)

Research performed on mice showed that genetically modified corn posed negative effects on the liver and kidneys of rodents. This resulted in liver and kidney toxicity. Soy is one crop that is often modified, and is a hidden ingredient in a variety of foods and “natural” remedies. For this reason, you should be aware of the soy content in everyday foods you buy, as what you are consuming is very likely GMO soy.

#5. Carbonated or Caffeinated Beverages

Caffeine acts as a diuretic, causing your kidneys to work harder than they normally would.  It might also elevate blood pressure, which in turn can negatively affect the kidneys. The effects are even more profound when consuming carbonated, caffeinated beverages such as cola. That doesn’t mean that non-caffeinated sodas are okay, as carbonation in general leads to an increased risk of kidney disease and kidney stones. Water is naturally the best choice to help flush out your kidneys and keep them operating at peak performance.

What you consume on a daily basis can affect your kidneys more than you might think. Consume the above foods sparingly to ensure your kidneys remain as healthy as possible. Even small changes can make a big difference in the health of your kidneys as well as your overall well-being.