What we drink can be just as important as what we eat when it comes to kidney health.
Consuming certain beverages regularly can affect kidney function, causing waste and fluid to build up in the body. Find out here which are the drinks that most damage the kidneys and why you should avoid them.
What is kidney disease?
The kidneys are two organs, each about the size of a fist, that are located in the middle of your back, just below your ribs.
Inside each kidney there are a million small structures called nephrons, which are responsible for filtering waste and excess water from the blood, which eventually ends up becoming urine.
Chronic kidney disease, chronic kidney disease, or chronic kidney failure is a condition that involves the gradual loss of kidney function.
This can lead to the buildup of dangerous levels of waste, fluids, and electrolytes in the body, which can eventually cause:
- Nerve damage.
- bone weakness
- Decreased sexual desire.
- Heart disease.
- Lower immune response.
Certain factors can increase the risk of chronic kidney disease:
- Family history of kidney disease.
- Abnormal kidney structure.
- To smoke.
- High blood pressure.
- Overweight or obesity.
- Frequent use of medications that can damage the kidneys.
What drinks should you avoid?
In addition to the previously developed risk factors, health professionals warn that the frequent consumption of certain beverages can affect the function of the kidneys and thus increase the probability of kidney disease occurring. The most harmful are:
An alcoholic beverage is any one that contains ethanol, also known as ethyl alcohol, in its composition. This can be found naturally or acquired, the important thing is that it is equal to or greater than 1% of the volume of the drink.
Among the harmful substances that the kidneys are responsible for filtering, is alcohol. When consumed in excess, it can affect kidney function in different ways, since:
- Impairs the ability of the kidneys to maintain an adequate amount of water in the body. This can lead to dehydration, and thus alter the functioning of the different cells of the body.
- Increases blood pressure.
- It hinders the ability of the kidneys to filter the blood.
- It increases the risk of liver disease, which means a greater burden on the kidneys, since the flow of blood flowing to them is disturbed.
Industrial fruit juices
Generally, fruit juices are seen as nutritious and easy drinks to incorporate into the diet to obtain all the benefits of fruits.
However, experts warn about the types of juice we drink, since freshly squeezed juice, which does not contain water or other added substances, is not the same as industrial or commercial juice.
Colorants, preservatives, and sugars, among other substances, are usually added to the latter to make them more attractive and extend their useful life. Therefore, when this type of juice is consumed in excess, there is an increased risk of kidney disease.
Experts also warn that care should be taken with those juices, both industrial and freshly squeezed, that are very acidic, such as lemon, orange or grapefruit, as they can irritate the bladder and end up damaging the kidneys.
Soft drinks or sodas are beverages that are made with carbonated water, sweeteners (natural or synthetic), colorants, and preservatives, among other additives.
These ingredients, as well as the presence of caffeine, mean that their regular consumption is linked to different conditions, such as cavities, loss of bone density, or high blood sugar levels.
Consuming soft drinks regularly can also raise your risk of developing kidney disease. Experts believe that this is due to the important level of sugars and phosphorus that these drinks provide.
Although phosphorus is a mineral necessary for health, added phosphorus is used in these products and is used to improve flavor, extend shelf life and prevent discoloration.
Unlike natural phosphorus, the one used as an additive does not bind to proteins, so it is mainly absorbed by the intestinal tract, which represents a greater load for the function of the kidneys.
When to consult the doctor
Kidney disease is often referred to as “the silent condition” since it shows no symptoms during its early stage. Depending on its severity, loss of kidney function can cause:
- Muscle cramps.
- Decreased mental acuity.
- Chest pain, if fluid builds up on the lining of the heart.
- Shortness of breath, if fluid builds up in the lungs.
- Fatigue and weakness.
- Swelling of feet and ankles.
- More or less abundant urination.
- loss of appetite
- Itchy and dry skin.
- High blood pressure (hypertension) that is difficult to control.
- Sleeping problems.
- Maintain a healthy diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products.
- Eat foods with little or no salt.
- Regularly check blood pressure.
- Control blood sugar levels, especially if you have diabetes.
- No Smoking.
- Lose the overweight.
- Exercise frequently.
It is important to carry out regular medical check-ups, since, although it is usually asymptomatic, this disease can be identified in its early stages through blood or urine tests.
To protect the kidneys and keep them healthy for longer, experts advise, in addition to avoiding or limiting the consumption of alcoholic beverages, industrial juices or soft drinks, to incorporate the following habits:
Sources consulted: Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, US National Library of Medicine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mayo Clinic, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.