Your kidneys play an important role in the overall health of your body. They help remove waste and extra fluids from your body. They also remove acid to maintain a healthy balance of water, salts, and minerals. Without a healthy balance, your nerves, muscles, and other tissues in your body may start to not function normally. Here a list of common habits that you might not realize are putting pressure on your kidneys. 

1. Eating Too Much Meat

Red meat, such as beef, lamb, and pork, can be included as part of a healthy diet. Consumption of red meat was associated with a dose-dependent increased risk of ESRD. People who ate the highest amounts of red meat – the richest 25% – had a 40% higher risk of developing ESRD than those who ate the least red meat – the lowest 25%. Red meat intake — in this case, mostly pork — was strongly associated with an increased risk of end-stage renal disease, the loss of normal kidney function. The relationship was also “dose dependent” — meaning the higher the consumption, the greater the risk.Ninety-seven percent of red meat intake in the study population consisted of pork. Other protein sources included poultry, fish/shellfish, eggs, dairy products, soy and legumes.

2. Overusing painkillers

Many drugs can affect kidney function and cause kidney damage. And if your kidneys aren’t working well, drugs can build up in your body. If you have chronic kidney disease, your doctor may advise you to keep taking the medicine, but may change the amount you take. Or you can change the medicine. Do not stop taking prescription drugs without first talking to your doctor. Heavy or long-term use of some of these medicines, such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and higher dose aspirin, can cause chronic kidney disease known as chronic interstitial nephritis. The warning labels on over-the-counter analgesics tell you not to use these medicines for more than l0 days for pain and more than three days for fever. 

3. Using too much salt

Your body removes unwanted fluids by filtering your blood through your kidneys, by osmosis, to extract excess water from your blood. This requires a balance of sodium and potassium to pull water through the wall of the bloodstream into a collecting duct in the kidney. A diet high in salt will alter this sodium balance, which will reduce kidney function and remove less water, which will lead to increased blood pressure. This puts a strain on the kidneys and can lead to kidney disease. High salt intake has been shown to increase the amount of protein in the urine, which is a major risk factor for deterioration of kidney function. There is also growing evidence that high salt intake may increase the deterioration of kidney disease in people who already have kidney problems.

4. Eating Processed Foods

Food is not just the fuel that makes your body run. What you eat forms the building blocks for your cells. You really are what you eat. So, your food can, and does, affect your health. Foods close to nature like fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, beans and peas, whole grains, and lean meats are best for your body. Foods that come in a box, box, jar or bag have been processed in a factory. Most processed foods contain a lot of chemicals, preservatives, and fillers. Some, like natural peanut butter, canned beans, or frozen vegetables, are good choices. How do you know which ones are good. When a food contains more than a few ingredients – or a “fresh” food, like meat or fish, has an ingredient list at all – beware. Look for foods that contain no more than five or six ingredients. You might want to make a new choice.

5. Not Drinking Enough Water

We are at the greatest risk of dehydration when we are too hot or too dry, have limited access to water, or lose more water than usual. Hot or dry environments, such as centrally heated homes, tend to increase our fluid requirements. We can lose more fluid through sweating (due to exercise or hot climates), or through episodes of vomiting and diarrhea. The color of our urine can clearly indicate whether we are absorbing enough fluids. We should aim to produce urine that is straw colored or paler in color, but if it is darker than that, it may suggest that we are dehydrated. Dehydration, especially chronic dehydration, results in the production of urine which has a higher concentration of minerals and wastes. This can cause crystals to form which can affect kidney function and contribute to certain kidney diseases, such as kidney stones.