Show Your Kidneys Some Love

27 Jun

I’ve been wondering if there are things I can do to help my kidneys do their job.  It seems logical to me that there might be foods that are better than others for kidney health, much like there are foods that are good for your heart health and foods that are harmful to your heart.

source: thinkstockphotos.com

In order to better understand what our kidneys need for good health, I needed to know what our kidneys actually do.

Kidneys are bean-shaped organs located near the middle of our backs below the rib cage on either side of the spine.  Each kidney is about the size of your fist.  On an average day, our kidneys process about 200 quarts of blood to filter out waste and extra water.  Can you believe that??  Those little guys are busy beavers!  The waste and water become urine which travels down the ureter tubes and into the bladder.

Our bodies use food for energy.  When the body has used what it wants of the food we put into it, the remainder of the food (waste) is sent to the blood system which is then filtered through the kidney.  Without the kidneys, our bodies could not filter out waste and the resulting build up of toxins would be harmful not only to the kidneys, but to our entire bodies.

Have I bored you to sleep yet?  You never knew reading this blog would be like going back to 8th Grade Biology, did you??  :)

So, what should we eat in order to protect and preserve our kidneys?

I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that foods that are good for your heart and other parts of your body are also good for your kidneys.  This is also tied to the fact that the two leading causes of chronic kidney disease are high blood pressure and diabetes – two conditions that can be positively or negatively impacted by your diet.

Some of the best foods for overall good kidney health are:

Berries such as cranberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries contain antioxidants that can promote healthy kidney function.  Cranberries protect against bacteria, blueberries reduce inflammation, strawberries prevent oxidative damage, and raspberries protect against cell damage.  Berries are a source of vitamin C which helps out our immune systems which can be impaired by reduced kidney function.

Protein is necessary for a healthy body, but too much protein from the wrong sources can be a problem for kidneys.  Select low fat/lean protein food sources such as fish, poultry, low-fat dairy products, and egg whites.  A few good fish options are salmon, tuna, and mackerel because they contain the healthy omega-3 fatty acids.  Be sure to watch the portion sizes, too.  One to two ounces of fish or poultry is sufficient for a meal.

Let veggies take center stage.  Instead of letting your meat be the largest portion of food on your plate, load up on veggies and let your meat serve as a side item.  When selecting vegetables, the best choices for kidney health are those that are low in potassium.  Some good options are bell peppers, onions, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, squash, corn, kale, peas, and alfalfa sprouts.

Water, water, water.  For good kidney health, drink plenty of water.  The suggested amount varies quite a bit, but many sources recommend 64 ounces a day.  If you have a history of kidney stones, drinking a glass of orange juice or some type of caffeinated beverage each day can help to prevent future ones from developing.

While a person can survive with limited or reduced kidney function, it is impossible to survive with no kidney function – without medical intervention in the form of dialysis or a kidney transplant.  Neither of those sound very appealing, do they?  So it’s probably a really good idea for us to take care of our kidneys – before there is a problem.  If you take better care of your kidneys now, they will likely take better care of you!

Class dismissed.  ;)
♥ Rachel

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3 Responses to “Show Your Kidneys Some Love”

  1. Tranquil Moments Photography June 27, 2012 at 9:11 am #

    You really could be a Biology teacher :) For me, I think it’s a good idea to follow your tips for good kidney health esp with the fact that my grandmother had one of her kidneys removed years ago.

    • rachturner June 29, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

      Yes, you should definitely take care of your kidneys. Hope your grandmother is doing well since having one of hers removed.

  2. Jennifer June 28, 2012 at 9:29 pm #

    Great post and good information to know!

    Love you.
    Jennifer

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