Baby Your Kidneys with This Winter Stew

When the mercury starts to dip, warm up your insides with an all-bean chili. Your kidneys will be happier.

Why? Because all beans means no meat -- and animal protein is hard on kidneys. In fact, a study suggests that getting most of your protein from meat -- be it poultry, pork, or ground beef -- could boost the risk of kidney cancer by 20 to 30 percent.

A Small but Growing Problem
Kidney cancer, although rare, is on the rise in the United States and Europe. And it has even spiked significantly in years. Unfortunately, over half of the people diagnosed with kidney cancer die from it. So there are some extremely compelling reasons to think about how much meat you eat and where you might cut back. You don't have to give up meat entirely, but a little less could do your body good in more ways than one. (Read this article for additional good reasons to cut back on the cow.)

How Meat Is Hard on Kidneys
It's possible that the sodium and nitrates in processed meats, and the heterocyclic aromatic amines that are produced when any meat is cooked, somehow set the stage for kidney cancer. One study even suggested that exposure to viruses from eating meat -- like the bovine papilloma virus -- may be involved in the kidney cancer process. But more research is needed to know precisely.

Worried you'll miss meat too much if you cut back? Try these red meat-nixing tips from the YOU Docs.