Lets be honest: No one really cares about their kidneys until there’s a problem… In fact, all most of us tend to know about these organs is that they have something to do with urine production… right? …ew!
However, the reality is that our kidneys are SUPER important for our health. Some of their many (other) functions include; filtering our blood, producing hormones, absorbing minerals, eliminating toxins, and neutralizing acids. Bottom line; we need our kidneys! So how about we show them a little bit of love!?
Just a minute…
Before we go on, I just have to mention that kidney damage can often go unnoticed for years. Did you know that these amazing little organs can still do their job on as little as 20% of their capacity? Its no wonder then that kidney disease is often referred to as the “Silent Disease”… Even more reason to take care of them before it is too late!
Not sure how to take care of your kidneys!?
First up, here’s a list of 8 common habits that (you may not have realised) put enormous pressure on your kidneys:
1. Not Drinking Enough Water
Your kidneys act like a filter. However, when you don’t drink enough water during the day, toxins and waste materials start to accumulate and can cause severe damage to your body.
2. Delaying the Urge
We often ignore the call of nature because we’re too busy or want to avoid public bathrooms. The problem is though, that retaining urine on a regular basis increases urine pressure and can lead to kidney failure, kidney stones, and incontinence. Rather listen to your body and go when you need to go!
3. Say NO to Sugar
Sugar overconsumption increases urinary protein. And having excess protein in your urine is an early sign that your kidneys are not functioning correctly.
4. Too Much Dietary Salt
Your body needs salt to work properly however, too much may raise blood pressure and put a lot of stress on the kidneys. To be safe, no more than 5 grams of salt should be eaten on a daily basis.
Many vitamin and mineral deficiencies can increase the risk of kidney stones or kidney failure. In particular, Vitamin B6 and magnesium are super important to maintain kidney health.
6. Too Much Protein
Regular over-consumption of protein (common in body builders) dramatically increases the metabolic load on your kidneys. This means your kidneys have to work harder than normal which may lead to kidney damage or dysfunction over time.
7. Coffee Crazy
While many scientific studies are highlighting the numerous health benefits of coffee, the fact remains that caffeine raises blood pressure which puts extra stress on your kidneys. Over time, excessive consumption of caffeinated beverages (such as coffee) can cause major damage to your kidneys.
8. Alcohol Consumption
Don’t get me wrong, the occasional glass of wine or beer wont do you any harm however, many of us battle to stop after just one drink. Alcohol (in excess) is actually a toxin in the body that puts a lot of stress on our kidneys and liver.
Adjust any of the above habits you feel you need to. Then, eat a clean, whole food, nutrient-dense diet and take targeted supplements to maintain overall good health and optimal kidney function. Foods in particular that benefits kidney health include;
- Asparagus: rich in a substance called asparagin which acts as a gentle stimulant to improve kidney function. Aim to eat asparagus 3 times a week.
- Beetroot juice: Beets have a balanced iron and copper content that helps build good blood as well as cleanse the liver and kidneys.
- Watermelon: A wonderful kidney and bladder flusher.
- Lemon: Fresh lemon juice in warm pure water, sweetened with a little raw honey, first thing in the morning will keep your liver and kidneys healthy.
- Parsley: Raw parsley juice is helpful in most kidney and bladder problems. However, never drink alone. Rather mix fresh juiced parsley with some carrot, beet, or any other salad vegetables and drink three times a day.
- Pine nuts: Contain naphtha which has a cleansing effect on the kidneys.
- Cranberries: Unsweetened cranberry juice twice a day helps get the urine more acid and provides manganese.
- Herbs such as Golden Seal (blood purifier and kidney tonic), Horseradish (potent herbal diuretic that helps keep the kidneys healthy) Raspberry Leaves & Juniper Berries all promote kidney health. Best taken in combination.
- Bitamin B6 (pyridoxine) works with magnesium to help the kidneys excrete unwanted oxalic acid. Deficiency increases the oxalic acid content of the urine which promotes alkalinity and leads to calcium oxalate stones. Vitamin B6 should always be taken with a B-complex.
- Magnesium: A deficiency in magnesium is believed to be the main cause of kidney stones. This is because it leads to an alkaline urine that can result in the formation of calcium phosphate stones. Thus magnesium and B6 are essential nutrients to take if you have kidney problems.
- Vitamin E: Assists the kidneys in clearing out cellular debris.
- Potassium: Adequate potassium in your diet is as important as restricting sodium (salt) for good kidney health. This is because a potassium deficiency will also cause the urine to be too alkaline which leads to kidney stones.
- Water: I cannot overemphasize the importance of drinking water Sufficient pure water is necessary to help the kidneys filter out debris and toxins. Never ignore the feeling of thirst and satisfy it as soon as possible!
I am adamant that ‘kidney problems’ will never become one of my health issues and it certainly never need become one of yours either. Simply cut the bad habits, eat clean, supplement smart and enjoy an abundant, healthy and kidney-problem free life.