Posts tagged: kidney care

11 Common Habits That Can Damage The Kidneys

11 Common Habits That Can Damage The Kidneys
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1. Insufficient Water Intake: Severe and frequent dehydration can lead to permanent kidney damage. It is very important to drink enough water, especially in hot and humid weather. [1]

2. High Sugar Consumption: High sugar levels causes the narrowing of blood vessels and blockage or clogging of vessels that results in damage to kidneys.

3. Urinary Retention: Not emptying the bladder early causes urine to flow backward into the kidneys. This backward flow can damage the kidneys.

4. Too Much Salt: A high salt intake in the diet alters the sodium balance, resulting in reduced function of the kidneys.

5. Animal Protein: Eating red meat accelerates kidney damage. People who consumed red meat have 40% more chances of developing end-stage kidney disease. [2]

6. Not Eating Enough: If you don’t eat enough, your body uses muscle protein as an energy source. This weakness can cause damage to the kidneys.

7. Painkillers: Prolonged use of NSAIDs (pain relievers) can damage the kidneys especially taking them when you are dehydrated or during low blood pressure.

8. Contrast Dyes: Exposure to contrast dyes during radiology can cause a rare kidney disorder known as contrast-induced nephropathy (CIN).

9. Too Much Alcohol: High consumption of alcohol can lead to disruption in normal kidney function and make them less able to filter blood. Alcohol affects the ability of kidneys to regulate electrolyte balance in the body. [3]

10. Lack Of Rest: Resting helps the body to recover and alleviates stress. Lack of rest can lead to changes in blood pressure which impacts kidney functions.

11. Smoking: Smoking slows down the blood flow to different organs including kidneys that damages the kidneys.

Learn More:

Top 10 Natural Remedies For Kidney Stones:

Top 10 Herbs For The Kidneys:


[1] Bongers, C.C., et al., Impact of acute versus prolonged exercise and dehydration on kidney function and injury. Physiological reports, 2018. 6(11): p. e13734.

[2] Moorthi, R.N., C.J. Vorland, and K.M.H. Gallant, Diet and diabetic kidney disease: plant versus animal protein. Current diabetes reports, 2017. 17(3): p. 15.

[3] Pan, C.-s., et al., Alcohol use disorder tied to development of chronic kidney disease: A nationwide database analysis. PloS one, 2018. 13(9): p. e0203410. Free full text available.

Top 10 Things You Must Avoid To Prevent Lifestyle-Related Kidney Damage

Top 10 Tips To Avoid Lifestyle-Related Kidney Damage
Top 10 Tips To Avoid Lifestyle-Related Kidney Damage. Graphic © Background image sources – Pixabay (PD)

Kidney disease is now the 9th leading cause of death in the United States with an estimated 31 million people suffering from it. [1] Kidney disease does not happen overnight. Most causes of renal damage occur cumulatively – gradually over several years and often as a result of poor lifestyle choices – however it is known as a “silent killer” because loss of kidney function may not be accompanied by any symptoms until it is too late. Fortunately, lifestyle choices are modifiable so it’s not yet too late. Here are the top 10 deadly habits that can lead to kidney disease.

1. Avoid Smoking

By this time, everyone should know that smoking is bad for your health. It is carcinogenic, triggers respiratory disease, causes hypertension and is bad for your kidneys. Smoking causes vasoconstriction. When blood vessels tighten it impedes circulation towards the kidney. This deprives the organ of nutrients, causing it damage.

2. Avoid Holding In Your Pee

Not voiding when your bladder is full makes you more prone to UTI. When you don’t empty your bladder on a regular basis, your urine becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. Even more dangerous is the fact that holding in your pee can cause the infection to move up from the bladder towards your kidney and consequently leading to kidney damage.

3. Avoid A Diet High In Simple Sugars

Eating a lot of sweet foods like soft drinks and desserts not only puts you at risk of developing diabetes but it can also cause kidney failure. When your blood sugar is too high, some of that sugar spills out into your urine. Normally, there shouldn’t be any sugar in your pee, but when you experience hyperglycemia over a prolonged period, the excess sugar begins damaging the structures inside your kidney. [2] In addition to that, when urine contains sugar it causes bacteria to grow at a faster rate, putting you at a higher risk of developing a UTI.

4. Avoid Hypertension

The kidneys are our body’s filter for the blood. High blood pressure can damage the delicate blood vessels within the kidney making the organ work harder to filter and clean the blood. Eventually, the blood vessels become scarred and weak with all the trauma hypertension has caused, and this ultimately leads to kidney disease. [3]

5. Avoid Inappropriate Use Of Over The Counter Medications

Some OTC medications are known to be nephrotoxic aka. damaging to the kidneys, when taken in excess. OTC pain relievers like acetaminophen and aspirin, when abused, can damage the insides of the kidney. Hyperacidity medications like omeprazole have also been listed as a cause of nephritis aka. inflammation of the kidneys, when taken in high dosages. [4]

6. Avoid Lack Of Exercise

This one is bad news for people who sit in a chair all day. Sorry but it’s true: Not moving enough can be bad for your body in several ways. It can increase your chances of getting a stroke, pneumonia, blood clots and yes you’ve guessed it, even damage your kidneys. When you don’t move a lot or you don’t exercise regularly, the flow of urine is not helped by gravity. This makes it easier for kidney stones to form inside your body. In fact, the relationship between a sedentary lifestyle to kidney disease is so strong, researchers have figured that just as little as 80 minutes a day of inactivity can increase the likelihood of renal disease by 20 percent. [6]

7. Avoid Drinking Too Much Alcohol

It’s a well known fact that overindulgence in alcohol affects our bodies drastically. It can cause blood pressure to shoot up and can damage our liver over time. When both blood pressure and liver function deteriorate, it makes the job for the kidneys harder. [7]

8. Avoid Not Drinking Enough Water

Staying well-hydrated is good for your body. It prevents kidney stones, flushes out toxins, makes it hard for bacteria to grow inside our urinary tract, and ensures our kidneys are functioning properly. Not getting enough water to drink throws a wrench in the works and can significantly decrease kidney function.

9. Avoid Excess Sodium

A diet high in salt leads to hypertension. Hypertension, as mentioned previously, can damage the circulation of blood in our kidneys. Excess sodium in the body causes water retention and makes it hard for our kidneys to regulate fluid balance.

10. Avoid Excessive Stress

Normal levels of stress are necessary for us to grow as a person but when it becomes unchecked, it can cause serious life-threatening conditions. Chronic stress can cause your blood pressure to increase and makes you more likely to eat unhealthy foods. It can also trigger you into drinking alcohol and using medications inappropriately.

Summary: Your kidneys won’t necessarily warn you that you are harming them. Be good to yourself. Taking care of your internal organs through good lifestyle is an investment in your future, take the steps now and get the benefits later.


[1] 2015 Kidney Disease Statistics (2015)

[2] Diabetes and Kidney Disease (2014)

[3] High Blood Pressure & Kidney Disease (2014)

[4] Drug-Induced Nephrotoxicity (2008)

[5] People with Sedentary Lifestyles Are at Increased Risk of Developing Kidney Disease (2015)

[6] Alcohol consumption and 5-year onset of chronic kidney disease: the AusDiab study (2009)

Top 10 Natural Remedies For Kidney Stones

Top 10 Natural Remedies For Kidney Stones
Top 10 Natural Remedies For Kidney Stones. Graphic © Background illustration © AdobeStock 41346264 (under license)

There are various reasons for the formation of kidney stones. It could be that your diet is too high in calcium, meat protein, salt (increases urate), purines (found in alcoholic beverages) or oxalate (cranberry, apple, orange juices). Insufficient water consumption is also a factor. Other causative factors are existing medical problems such as urinary tract infection, gout, inflammatory bowel disorders, sedentary lifestyle and genetics.

People with kidney stones experience extreme discomfort, with several episodes of sudden sharp and excruciating pain in the lower abdomen or groin that can sometimes be relieved by movement. The pain may or may not radiate, depending on whether the stones move. Signs and symptoms associated with kidney stones include abdominal pain, fever, chills, nausea and vomiting. Larger stones are often treated by using ultrasound or X-rays to locate them and then shock waves or laser treatment to break them down. In fewer than 1% of cases they will have to be surgically removed.[1]

Once it is medically confirmed that you have kidney stones, doctors will more than likely send you home with a prescription for heavy duty pain killers. However, medications are not the only tool that can relieve you of your suffering from kidney stones. In fact, there are natural remedies that may be able to provide additional comfort as you and your body duel with kidney stones.

10 Natural Remedies For Kidney Stones

1. Increase Your Hydration – This is by far the best natural remedy for any type of kidney stones you have. People diagnosed with kidney stones should be consuming a minimum of 10 glasses of fluids on a daily basis. People who are at risk of developing cystine stones should drink more fluids, at least 14 glasses every day. To determine if you are drinking enough fluids, check if your urine is colourless. If not, then you ought to increase your hydration and must be consistent with it.

Water remains the best fluid for everyone and should comprise at least half of their hydration routine. Although there is calcium concentration in water in general, it plays a diminutive role in stone formation. Lemon juice (up to half a cup per day) is a wonderful ingredient that can be added to your water or food (especially good with meats or fish) and is proven to be beneficial in the prevention of kidney stones because it contains citric acid. As citrate levels in the body increase, your protection against kidney stones also increases. The high content of vitamin C will also boost your immune system. [2]

2. Dandelion – A taproot perennial that grows abundantly in North America, Europe and Asia, dandelion (Taraxacum Officinale) has anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties [3] that contribute to the prevention of kidney stones. On top of that, dandelion is a natural diuretic which makes it a great tonic and cleanser for our kidneys, often helping to dissolve stones and to prevent further formation of them. You can make an infusion of dandelion leaves or a decoction of the root, either by harvesting your own plants (the roots can be dried slowly in a warm oven for storage) or by buying ready-made dandelion tea bags or tincture. It is best taken unsweetened as the bitter taste stimulates the digestive system.

3. Pomegranates – Since pomegranates are low in potassium, they are great for people who are on a renal diet. A renal diet is generally low in protein, salt, phosphorus and potassium and is recommended for people who are suffering from renal problems like kidney stones and kidney failure. So if you are concerned about the risk of kidney stones, start your day with a glass of fresh pomegranate juice or make a habit of eating pomegranates.

4. Basil – Basil is commonly found in our kitchen, but did you know that basil is a known natural remedy for kidney stones? Basil can strengthen our kidneys. [4] Make a tea or juice out of fresh basil leaves, adding some raw honey. Drinking this delicious concoction everyday can help to alleviate the discomfort of kidney stones.
5. Grapefruit – Grapefruit ranks as one of the most powerful sources of antioxidants among fruits therefore the regular consumption of grapefruit can help you ward off urinary tract infection. Grapefruit juice is another powerful tool that reduces calcium oxalate kidney stones. [5] In a study published in The British Journal of Nutrition, the incidence of calcium oxalate stone formation lowered among their subjects who drank half to one litre of grapefruit juice daily due to an increased urine pH and increased citrate levels.

6. Marshmallow Root – Marshmallow root has strong anti-inflammatory properties. This herb contains mucilages, which form a protective coating to soothe tissues that have become inflamed and irritated. This coating protects the digestive and urinary tract when kidney stones pass. Dr. James Balch, author of The Super Antioxidants, recommends a daily intake of two pints of marshmallow root tea to effectively flush out kidney stones from the body. [6]

7. Green Tea – Perhaps everybody agrees that green tea is a wonder drink. A group of doctors from Nagoya City University Graduate School of Medical Sciences conducted a study in 2005 about the preventative effects of green tea in the formation of renal stones. The study showed that the antioxidant properties of green tea actually lowered the formation of calcium oxalate deposits thus preventing calcium oxalate urolithiasis. [7] Opt for the caffeine free green tea, and drink at least 2-3 cups a day.

8. Wild Carrot (Leaves and Seeds) – As an aromatic herb, wild carrot (Daucus Carota) is not to be confused with the common vegetable carrot. Wild carrot is a known diuretic, which means it encourages toxins and waste to be flushed out from our kidneys. [8] It has been said that a herbal infusion of the wild carrot leaves and seeds is a good natural antidote to kidney stone formation. Even if stones have begun to form, the same concoction is still reported to be capable of diminishing those harmful stones and reducing their recurrence.

9. Eat for the benefit of your kidneys – Too much salt, alcohol and preservatives top the list of food items to avoid. Go for meals that contain a minimal amount of salt and as much as possible cook your own food from fresh ingredients. Buying canned goods is not only more costly but also potentially dangerous to your kidneys. Invest in fruits and vegetables that have high antioxidant properties such as tomatoes, blueberries, squashes and carrots. Beware of red meats (such as pork and beef), oxalate rich foods (nuts, spinach and beans), cold water fish, refined foods like white bread and commercial fast foods like French fries and burgers.
10. A healthy lifestyle means healthy kidneys – Before taking any prescription drugs, always consult your doctor first. There are medications that can do more harm to your kidneys than good. Start a habit of doing at least 30 minutes of exercise every day – this will help your body’s fluids to circulate and to keep your system free from kidney stones.
More: – Note that we also have a page all about Herbs For Kidney Stones.

[1] “Kidney stones.” NHS Choices., n.d. Web. 21 July 2013.
[2] Penniston, Kristina. “Citric Acid and Kidney Stones.” UW Hospital Metabolic Stone Clinic. UW Health. UW Hospital and Clinics, n.d. Web. 21 July 2013.
[3] Roizman, Tracy. “The Benefits of Dandelion Leaf & Root for the Kidneys.” Popular Herbal Supplements. Livestrong Foundation, 7 Oct. 2011. Web. 21 July 2013.
[4] “Medicinal Uses and Health Benefits of Basil.” Natural Health. Off The Grid News. N.p., 21 Apr. 2011. Web. 21 July 2013.
[5] “Grapefruit.” The World’s Healthiest Foods. George Mateljan Foundation, n.d. Web. 21 July 2013.
[6] Marx, Natalie. “Alternatively Speaking: Kidney stones.” Lifestyle. The Jerusalem Post. N.p., 31 May 2012. Web. 21 July 2013.
[7] Itoh, Y, et al. “Preventive effects of green tea on renal stone formation and the role of oxidative stress in nephrolithiasis.” The Journal of Urology 173.1 (2005): 271-75. Abstract. Web. 21 July 2013.
[8] “Wild Carrots.” Plants. Preparing To Survive. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 July 2013.