It may be thought that the only function of the kidneys is to filter harmful and toxic substances produced by the body, but in reality, they also regulate blood pressure, protect the bones and maintain the balance between minerals and liquids in the body.
Unfortunately, one in three people in western countries is at risk of developing chronic renal failure. This disease occurs most of the time as a result of another disorder (such as diabetes or heart disease) and progresses over several months or years. However, there are initiatives you can take to reduce the risk of developing disorders that can affect kidney function.
Consume less salt.
Watch for the amount of sodium you take daily and limit it to 2,300 mg, about one teaspoon of salt. If the sodium is consumed in excessive amounts, fluids accumulate in the body, causing shortness of breath and swelling.
Try to season your meals with herbs or other spices and not with salt and stop eating foods high in sodium. These include :
- salty snacks
- salty foods and cold meats
- canned and cooked dishes
Limit your sugar consumption.
Studies have shown that sugar promotes the development of diabetes and obesity, two causes of chronic kidney failure. One trick to reduce sugar consumption is to always read food labels. Indeed, many of them contain sugar, even if they are not considered sweet foods.
For example, breakfast cereals, white bread, and condiments contain many of them.
Remember to limit your consumption of soft drinks because they contain a very large amount of sugar. They also contain phosphorus additives that are harmful to the kidneys and have no nutritional value.
Keep in mind that sugar comes under different names. In fact, there are at least 61 different names for sugar. These include saccharose, high-fructose corn syrup, barley malt, dextrose, maltose, rice syrup, glucose, cane juice, etc.
Prepare your meals.
When you prepare your own meals, you have the option of choosing whole grains, fruits, and vegetables that have undergone little processing.
Packaged and industrial foods contain a large amount of sodium and phosphorus, which is harmful to the kidneys. Strive to eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
In general, the size of a portion of fruit or vegetables is equivalent to the size of the palm of the hands. A serving is about the amount of food you can hold in your hand.
Avoid foods high in protein and saturated fats.
Studies are still being conducted to establish the link between high protein diets and chronic kidney disease.
Although you should not avoid fat or protein, you should limit your consumption of red meat, whole milk products, and saturated fats to just a few times a week. If you have kidney disease, your kidneys have to work harder to get rid of body waste after eating and digesting meat.
Among the food products rich in saturated fats, there is :
- processed meats: sausages, sausages, and salted meats,
- butter, ghee, bacon,
- hard cheese,
- palm oil and coconut oil.
Eat foods containing unsaturated fats.
You should not completely avoid fats. Unsaturated fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids (which include omega-3 fatty acids), can lower cholesterol naturally and, as a result, reduce the risk of heart disease, which can lead to kidney problems.
To include unsaturated fats in your diet, consume:
- fatty fish: salmon, mackerel, sardines
- nuts and seeds
- sunflower, rapeseed and olive oils
Overweight and obesity increase the risk of chronic renal failure. You should exercise to lose weight and lower your blood pressure, two factors that help reduce the likelihood of developing nephropathy.
You should have at least two and a half hours of moderate physical activity each week.
Studies show that obese people are twice as likely to develop chronic kidney failure. If your body mass index (BMI) is greater than 30, you are considered an obese person.
Walking, cycling and swimming are some examples of moderate exercise.
You might think that smoking mainly damages the lungs, but it can also cause heart disease.
Heart disease, heart attack and stroke are all problems that can compromise kidney function, leading to the development of nephropathy.
Fortunately, if you stop smoking, you can reduce the occurrence of this disorder.
Limit your alcohol consumption.
When you drink alcohol, your blood pressure and cholesterol increase, which promotes high blood pressure and can also cause kidney failure. You do not have to stop drinking completely, but you should limit your intake to 2 drinks a day (for men under 65) or 1 drink a day (for women ).
Do health checks regularly.
Since it is difficult to detect nephropathy until you are at an advanced stage, you should see a doctor and have regular checkups.
If you are in good health, are not predisposed to this disorder, are not overweight with a BMI less than 30, make an appointment every 2 or 3 years.
If you are in good health and you are between 30 and 40 years old, go to the doctor every two years. If you are in good health and you are 50 years old, you can do your checkup every year.
If you have ever been diagnosed with another chronic condition, such as high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes, it is important to see your doctor regularly to manage the disease and prevent chronic kidney disease.