Ask the Doctor
Questions about kidney disease? Risk factors? Signs and symptoms? Are you concerned about yourself, a friend or family member? Ask Dr. Spry.
If you're cleaning house this March, start in the kitchen. Besides dust bunnies and canned fruits that have outlived their expiration dates, get ready to clear out some common grocery items that could be wrecking your body's filter—the kidneys. The kidneys work 24/7 to clean out toxins in the body, so keep them healthy by cleaning out your kitchen. March is National Kidney Month, March 14 is World Kidney Day—the perfect time to trash the following, according to the National Kidney Foundation:
The salt shaker. Believe it or not, Americans today consume 50% more than the recommended daily quantity of sodium. Diets high in sodium increase blood pressure levels and high blood pressure damages the kidneys over time. It's 2,300 mg of sodium that amounts to about one teaspoon of salt per day that should be the limit.
The red meat. High protein diets, especially those containing large quantities of animal protein, may harm the kidneys. Red meat is also high in saturated fat—another no-no.
The soda. Sugar-sweetened beverages, such as sodas are high calorie and contain no nutritious value. Consumption of these beverages has recently been linked to the presence of protein in the urine, one of the earliest signs of kidney disease. Colas also have phosphorus additives which can harm the kidneys.
The processed food. Crackers, potato chips, deli meats, cheese spreads, instant potato mix are all examples of processed foods that are high in sodium and phosphorus additives – both which can have negative effects on the kidneys.
Sugar. An overdose of sugar can lead to health problems such as diabetes and obesity. These are risk factors for kidney disease so eliminating or reducing sugar intake can reduce your risk as well.
For more information on kidneys and kidney disease risk factors, visit kidney.org.