Pollutants To Blame For Pandemic Kidney Disease In Costa Rica

According to the Costa Rican government, a disproportionately high number of people, and sugarcane field workers in particular, living in the Guanacaste province of Costa Rica have been suffering from a wave of chronic kidney disease with numbers tripling in recent years. 

Many of the causes behind the kidney disease epidemic seem to stem from the toxic after-effects of pesticides and other chemicals used by those in the agricultural industry. This, coupled with the amount of work and excessive heat involved in the act of manual labor create a perfect storm which can frequently culminate in chronic kidney disease. 

Some of the best methods for preventing and/or improving kidney disease in cases where it is already present involve the following:

#1 Avoid Chemicals, Go Natural!

Always make a concerted effort to avoid processed foods, being especially careful to read food labels and limit your exposure to those foods and beverages containing chemicals and other additives. If, like the sugarcane field workers, chemicals aren’t in your diet but are simply a part of your daily job, be sure to take as many precautions as you can. Use a mask, whenever possible and try to keep your work space as adequately ventilated as you can. 

#2 Incorporate More Kidney-Friendly Foods

Some of the best foods for maintaining good kidney health include: apples, cabbage, garlic, onions, lemons, extra virgin olive oil, salmon, cauliflower, refined grains for low potassium and phosphorus levels and fruits like blueberries and strawberries. Look for foods with antioxidants, fiber, anti-inflammatory properties and vitamins. 

#3 Stop With The Soda!

Sugary, syrupy, excessively sweet sodas can cause greater inflammation in the kidneys and put a greater strain on its toxin-filtering ability. Switch to water, lemon water, teas or a natural, organic fruit juice. 

#4 Discuss NSAIDS With Your Doctor

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, also known as NSAIDS, can shrink blood vessels in the kidneys. Always apprise your doctor of all the drugs you are taking and, if you are taking NSAIDS, ask if they are absolutely necessary or if there is a healthier alternative for the kidneys. 

#5 Ask, Ask, ASK!

Always be your own health advocate. Ask copious amounts of questions of your doctor, pharmacist and/or other healthcare professional before beginning any regimen involving prescription medications. Contraindications can be a very serious problem for those dealing with kidney disease and other comorbid conditions. 

#6 Keep Your Blood Pressure Low!

Treating high blood pressure can also benefit the state of the kidneys, so it’s in your best interest to avoid high-sodium foods, stress and other blood pressure triggers. Use stress-reduction techniques like meditation, yoga or some other outlet that relaxes you. 

#7 Keep A Watchful Eye On Blood Sugar Levels

Blood sugar imbalance and diabetes often occur in tandem with chronic kidney disease. Managing one condition can help make it easier to better manage the other. So always follow your doctor’s plan for eating the right foods and taking whatever prescriptions are necessary to manage your diabetes.


We can’t stress this enough! Exercise, even light to moderate exercise can be of great help to your overall health and immune system. This can help your kidneys, along with pretty much every other organ in your body.

#9 Pass On The Coffee

Kidney disease, especially polycystic kidney disease, can be negatively impacted by habitual coffee consumption. Try to find a healthier alternative for your kidneys, like an herbal tea or an organic coffee substitute like Teecino. 

With the right foods, the right supplements and the right knowledge at your disposal, there’s no reason why kidney disease epidemics can’t hopefully one day be a thing of the past.