Take Care of Your Kidneys

Your body is full of organs that act autonomously — without your knowledge or effort. Every day these organs carry on thousands of processes that you may not even notice. Two of these quiet workers are your kidneys. Since March is National Kidney Month, let’s take a look at these little guys to see what they do and how you can keep them in tip-top shape for years to come. Take Care of Your Kidneys

What Your Kidneys Do

Your kidneys are the janitorial staff of your body. If they quit, all kinds of waste gets backed up, and vital tasks go unattended. Here are some of the important functions that your kidneys perform:

  • Filtering out waste products from the body
  • Removing drugs from the body
  • Balancing the body’s fluids
  • Regulating blood pressure by releasing hormones
  • Producing vitamin D to promote strong, healthy bones
  • Controlling the production of red blood cells

Your kidneys are made up of an intricate web of millions of nephrons that are charged with the responsibility of filtering your blood. Anywhere from 120 and 150 quarts of blood pass through these every day, and they produce 1-2 quarts of urine that is then excreted from the body. Clearly, the kidneys serve an essential role. You can reward them by taking care of them. The following are changes that you can make to your lifestyle and eating habits to promote optimum kidney health.

What You Can Do

  1. Lower your blood pressure. High blood pressure causes blood vessels to expand to accommodate the extra blood flow. Due to this expansion, blood vessels are more likely to burst, and, when that happens in the kidneys, it can result in more difficulty removing toxins and chemicals from the blood. Strive to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level, about 120/80.
  2. Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol. Smoking causes your blood vessels to harden, which restricts blood flow to your kidneys.
  3. Exercise. Getting in a good routine of “moving it” can stimulate the circulation of your blood and allow your kidneys to eliminate toxins more quickly.
  4. Limit painkillers and steroids. Keep in mind that whatever you put into your bloodstream is going to go through your kidneys to be filtered. Some substances can do serious damage if your kidneys are regularly subjected to them. Therefore, limit the use of such medications if you have kidney problems, and seek other more natural, pain alternatives.

What You Can Eat

  1. Foods low in cholesterol and saturated fat. It’s common knowledge that cholesterol can build up in the arteries and cause problems. Your arteries play a vital role in maintaining the health of your kidneys. If your renal (kidney) arteries are clogged, this cuts off blood flow to the kidneys, resulting in loss of kidney function.
  2. Fluids. Your kidneys are responsible for regulating the volume and composition of bodily fluids. If the kidneys need to excrete toxins by means of these fluids, then they need to have the fluids at their disposal. That’s where your good drinking habits come in handy.
  3. Low protein. Protein is necessary for your body to function properly, but, if you have had kidney problems in the past, you need to be careful. It would be best to reduce your protein intake to the minimum that you need. Protein waste can build up, and your kidneys may not be able to filter and dispose of this waste properly, especially if they have already been compromised by other issues.
  4. Fruits and vegetables. Berries, watermelon, and apples in particular are great for your kidneys. Such fruits are high in fiber and anti-inflammatory properties, which are a great way to promote healthy kidneys.

We never appreciate what we have until it’s gone. Don’t fall into that habit. If you realize the important role your kidneys play and take care of them properly, you can keep them functioning for years to come. Never take them for granted.

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