It's hard to notice when we do our kidneys damage. Even if 80% damaged, kidneys can still do their job, and so we rarely realize they're on their last leg. Often, even common daily habits can cause your kidneys continual damage, and when you finally discover something's wrong, it's too late.
Our kidneys are incredible organs that work very hard. By themselves, they absorb minerals and nutrients, produce hormones, act as a filter for toxins in our blood, produce our urine and maintain a normal acid to alkaline ratio. We cannot live without our kidneys functioning properly. The Chinese, for example, have looked at the kidneys as a site of essential life force for centuries.
If you're serious about looking after yourself, then taking care of your kidneys should be one of your primary concerns. If you want to make sure your kidneys thrive and continue to serve you in the coming years ahead, here's a helpful list of habits you should definitely avoid:
1. Drinking Sodas
A study conducted on employees working at Osaka University in Japan found that drinking 2 or more soda drinks a day (either diet or regular) may well be connected to a higher risk of kidney disease. The study included 12,000 people, and those who drank larger quantities of soda were found to have protein in their urine, which is one of the first signs of kidney damage. However, early detection can reverse the disease with proper treatment.
2. A Deficiency in Vitamin B6
The healthy function of our kidneys also depends on a healthy diet, especially one that contains certain nutrients. According to a study performed at the University of Maryland, a vitamin B6 deficiency increases the risk of the formation of kidney stones. For healthy kidney function, a person should have at least 1.3 milligrams of vitamin B6 in their food every day. The best sources for this vitamin are fish, beef liver, potatoes, starchy vegetables, chickpeas and non-citrus fruits.
Perhaps not surprisingly, smoking has been linked to arthrosclerosis - the narrowing and hardening of blood vessels - which influences the blood supply going to all the major organs, including the kidneys. According to a study published in Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, just 2 cigarettes a day are enough to double the number of endothelial cells (the cells that line our blood vessel walls) present in your bloodstream. This is a sign of arterial damage.
In addition, the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology references a number of different studies conducted in the last decade that link smoking to decreased kidney function.
4. Lack of Exercise
Another good way of protecting your kidneys is to get some exercise. A comprehensive study published in 2013 in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology found that postmenopausal women who exercised had 31% (!) less risk of developing kidney stones.
5. Magnesium Deficiency
Magnesium is what helps our body to properly absorb and assimilate calcium. If we don't get enough magnesium, we get overloaded in calcium and, once again, develop kidney stones. To prevent this from happening, add some leafy vegetables, seeds, nuts or beans to your diet. Another good source of magnesium is fresh avocados.
6. Disrupted Sleep
I just love a good night's sleep and, as it turns out, so do my kidneys. According to Science Daily, a chronic disruption in our sleep can cause kidney disease. According to Dr. Michael Sole, Cardiologist and Professor of Medicine and Physiology at the University of Toronto, kidney tissues get renewed during the night while we're sleeping, so when we can't sleep without constant interruptions, the kidneys suffer direct damage.