This organ is actually composed of two parts and are filtration factories for waste, water, and other materials in the blood and urine. They have these little structural units called nephrons. The nephrons include tiny coiled tubes of capillaries and their associated tubules and there are approximately 1 million of them in each of these organs!
Have you guessed what they are yet? I bet you don’t think much about your kidneys unless you have a kidney infection or a kidney stone, ouch! But you want to pay attention to them, take care of them, and prevent any future problems with them because your life depends upon them.
What Do They Do?
- Regulated blood pressure
- Filters 120-150 quarts of blood a day
- Direct production of red blood cells
- Activates Vitamin D
- Remove waste products from the body
- Balance the body’s fluid
They also regulate the salt, potassium, calcium, and acid content of the body. This is why kidney disease puts you at high risk for cardiovascular disease. Did you know that your kidneys have to be healthy to have good blood pressure? All these electrolytes regulate your heart rhythm and blood pressure.
What Damages Them?
This get’s really interesting, because it’s not talked about much in regards to kidney disease, and that is Insulin Resistance. I’ve written numerous articles on this, and it’s epidemic in our country (and around the world.) Most folks aren’t even aware that they have it because Western Medicine is slotted into “ranges” on labs and if you are 1 point below the “range” your doctor won’t even address the problem.
I’ve had clients come to me with lab work showing their fasting blood sugars are over one hundred and yet, because they are not “diabetic” nothing is said. The range for pre-diabetes is 100 to 125 mg/dL, but by the time you get over 100mg/dl, you are already insulin resistant.
What’s this got to do with your kidneys you ask? A whole lot! Have you ever heard of Advanced glycation end products (AGEs)? Most folks have not, but you’re about to learn what they are and why you don’t want them.
The first time I heard this term AGE’s it really stuck with me because it will lead to advanced aging and it’s a great acronym. Basically what it is, is when you get high blood sugars the sugar in the bloodstream binds to the proteins, and you “caramelize”, no joke. Your cells become thick and hardened, and all those millions of nephrons get rigid.
Insulin resistance equals high blood sugars, which equals a much higher risk for kidney disease. So first things first, it’s essential you get your blood sugar numbers below 100mg/dl.
Right now we have 34.2 million Americans with Diabetes, and at least that many with insulin resistance. The is a health crisis because both of these lead to higher inflammation, weight gain, gut imbalances, vitamin D, C and magnesium deficiency, acidic blood, and anemia.
What Do I Eat?
If you are not currently treating kidney disease then the best thing to do is prevent this from happening. Here are some foods to support kidney health.
- Dandelion Greens
- Limes and lemons
- Leafy greens
Avoid refined flour products such as bread, pasta, pancakes, sweets like cookies, cakes, and muffins. Make soda’s a “treat”, not a daily habit, liquid sugar is the biggest culprit to insulin resistance and diabetes.
Avoiding Kidney Stones
I’ve never had a kidney stone but once witnessed a man being wheeled into an emergency room while he was passing a stone. I thought I was loud when I was having a baby, but he was in excruciating pain and very vocal about it. So, my guess is you don’t want a kidney stone!
Water, water, water can’t be emphasized enough. Tea and coffee dehydrate you, so they don’t count. Get a good water filter that removes chlorine and chemicals because many of our water supplies are contaminated. We love our Berkey Water Filter. Avoid drinking out of plastic bottles, get a glass one and fill it with your filtered water.
Avoid a high protein diet, especially if you’ve ever had a kidney stone. The Keto or Carnivore diet would not be a good choice for you. Moderate protein, about 30% of the diet would be the maximum. Too much protein creates an acidic environment in your blood which then requires the body to pull calcium and magnesium out of bones and tissues to try and regulate the pH, which in turn can dump a large load of calcium into the kidneys.
Eat alkaline foods such as leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables daily. It may seem counterintuitive, but lemons and limes are not acidic in the body, they break down into an “alkaline ash” and can help bring you back into a pH balance. I like to juice 1/2 lemon into 4oz. of pure water first thing in the morning and the side benefit, this is a liver cleanse too!
Avoid eating foods high in oxalic acids daily such as spinach, rhubarb, tomatoes, collards, eggplant, beets, celery, summer squash, grapefruit/grapefruit juice, sweet potatoes, peanuts, almonds, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, parsley, and cocoa. These are wonderful foods, just don’t get in the habit of putting blueberries and spinach in your smoothies seven days a week, rotate your food groups.
Avoid taking high-dose calcium supplements, as calcium is a very hard mineral to break down and absorb. Never take it alone, always with magnesium at half the dosage of the calcium. Avoid calcium carbonate supplements, that is essentially chalk!
Avoid over-the-counter antacids such as Tums. They have calcium carbonate in them, and on top of that, they prevent you from breaking down the minerals in your stomach because they lower stomach acids.
(If you want to read an article on getting off these go here)
Some supplements can help prevent kidney stones.
- Magnesium – this is a balancing mineral and 250mg twice daily can help keep the body in the proper pH balance.
- B complex- B vitamins can help remove excess calcium and oxalates from forming in the body. Take a B complex that includes at least 50mg B6, B6 is a natural diuretic.
- Cranberry Extract – avoid drinking sweetened cranberry juice (the unsweetened is super tart!) 400mg twice daily of a cranberry supplement can help prevent not only kidney stones but urinary tract infections.
About 80% of kidney stones are “calcium oxalate” stones. Some can be a build-up of uric acid. Uric acid is a chemical created when the body breaks down substances called purines. Purines are normally produced in the body and are also found in some foods and drinks. Foods with high content of purines include liver, anchovies, mackerel, dried beans and peas, and beer.
Herbs and Teas
Nature has many things that can support your kidneys. A great way to get these into the diet is to cook with culinary herbs such as parsley (a natural diuretic) and cilantro.
There are also herbal formulations that include kidney support herbs such as burdock root, milk thistle, stinging nettle, and horsetail.
There are kidney teas available as well but be careful to make sure it’s a “clean” tea as many teas come in from China and are heavily sprayed with pesticides. There are two that I like that are made in America.
- Traditional Medicinals Dandelion Tea is a good place to start
- To brew your own, try KB Tea from Dr. Schultz
You can drink these daily for some great kidney support.
Your kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped organs that help to filter and remove waste and toxins from your body. Protecting your kidney health is critical for your energy, skin health, and overall well-being.
In good health,
- 10 Day Kidney Cleanse for Better Energy and Health, Dr. Jockers, https://drjockers.com/kidney-cleanse/?ck_subscriber_id=790605958
- What’s Causing Your Kidney Stone Symptoms?, Jillian Levy, CHHC, Decermber 17, 2015, https://draxe.com/health/kidney-stone-symptoms/
- Uric Acid Blood, https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003476.htm