Your kidneys are located in the back of the abdominal cavity slightly above the waist. They are kidney bean-shaped and roughly the size of a fist. They are extremely complex organs whose primary role in keeping you alive is to filter waste products of metabolism out of the bloodstream and ultimately out of your body. They are also responsible for numerous other bodily functions including maintaining your pH, the volume of water in your body and your blood pressure.
When it comes to the health of your kidneys, they are most prone to the side effects of other health problems, many of which are avoidable and treatable. Common offenders are high blood pressure and diabetes.
Keeping your kidneys healthy can be achieved through basic measures that you would undertake for maintaining overall good health, such as maintaining a healthy weight, reducing sugar intake, keeping active and staying hydrated. Lifestyle factors like smoking, recreational drug use and overuse of over the counter medications can really stress your kidneys. They also suffer if they get chilled, which is why your mum always made you wear a singlet in winter!
Superfoods for your kidneys
Cranberries – No 1 when it comes to urinary tract health and healthy kidney function. The tannins in cranberries prevent bacteria from adhering to urinary tract and kidney tissue, preventing infection and also reducing inflammation if it is present. You must always choose 100% pure organic cranberry juice if you are using it for these purposes, as the extra sugars or artificial sweeteners in non-organic varieties can aggravate the situation. You can also choose fresh or dried cranberries (without added sugar).
Beetroot – Beetroot contains betaine which can increase the acidity of urine and subsequently remove calcium build up in the kidneys that can lead to the formation of kidney stones. Again, choose 100% pure organic juice, powders or fresh produce.
Other nutritious kidney-loving foods – lemon juice, watermelon, bananas, sprouts, cucumbers, spirulina and other algae, ginger, turmeric, and parsley. Parsley tea is a great tonic for urinary tract, sore kidneys or kidney stones as is cornsilk tea, made from the silk on your sweetcorn.
Herbs that are helpful to kidneys include – stoneroot, uva ursi, dandelion leaf and root, cornsilk, goldenrod and hydrangea root. Because of the nature of their function, your kidneys respond well to herbal teas.
Come in and talk to one of our friendly and knowledgeable naturopaths if you want to know more about being kind to your kidneys - our team are always happy to help.