HEALTH: Foods to avoid to keep your kidney healthy

Processed meats are dangerous to the liver

The first step in healthy eating is having the right foods stocked in your kitchen. Many foods are hidden sources of sugar and sodium, so it is important to know what is really in your fridge in order to stave off kidney disease.

The two leading causes of kidney disease are diabetes and high blood pressure, which is why it is prudent to keep these five foods out of your diet to keep your kidneys healthy:

Soda: Soda provides no nutritional benefit and is packed with sugars and this equates to extra calories in your diet and can ultimately result in unwanted weight gain. Diet sodas may be lower in calories, but still often contain additives/artificial sweeteners. Skip the soda and reach for water instead.

Processed meats: Scrap cold cuts like ham from your diet! Processed meats can be significant sources of sodium and nitrates, which have been linked to cancer. Choose leaner meats like fresh roasted chicken and always opt for the low sodium, low nitrate meats.

Butter: Butter is made from animal fat and contains cholesterol, calories and high levels of saturated fat. Margarine is not much better either, but, if you opt for a spread, go for one that is lower in calories and saturated fat and contains no trans fats.

Mayonnaise: One tablespoon of mayonnaise contains a whopping 103 calories! But not only is it loaded with calories, but it also contains high levels of saturated fat. A healthier swap could involve replacing your mayonnaise with plain non-fat Greek yoghurt, which is high in protein and mixes nicely to bind salads.

Frozen/canned food: Studies have shown that processed foods may contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes. Heavy processing can hide sugar, sodium and fat, which is why it is always a good idea to prepare fresh and whole foods when you can. If that is not possible, balance out the meal by adding fresh fruit and veggies to it.