On the occasion of the World Kidney Day (March 10th), we find it imperative to call attention to some of the steps that can help ensure the healthy functioning of this amazing body organ. Our pair of kidneys consists of two units, each the size of a medium sized apple (cca 150 g each), filtering 1 liter of blood per minute that flows through them. They produce 170 liter of primary filtrate a day, 99% of which gets re-absorbed (just imagine the amount of work that they do day by day!). Kidneys play a role in the processes of secretion, regulation and detoxification as well as in blood formation and blood pressure regulation.
Sensitive as this vital body organ is, we tend to take it for granted, realizing its importance only when we need to go on a diet because of a decline in the kidney function, for instance when we are forced to cut down on the consumption of bread, pasta, oily seeds, meat and cheese, or when the doctor tells us to limit our daily drink intake to half a liter, including yoghurts and soups, too.
There are several factors that have a negative influence on kidney functions such as:
- high blood pressure
- medications excreted through the kidneys, e.g. several OTC painkillers, which more and more people take for headaches, arthritis or various gynecological or dental problems
- insufficient liquid intake
- using too little of good quality fats that would help preserve the elasticity of our veins
- lack of regular, dynamic movement
Symptoms relating to kidney diseases may include:
- high blood pressure
- protein secretion
- blood in the urine
- frequent, abundant urination
- pain in the waist area
- fatigue, feebleness, anemia
- nausea, lack of appetite, weight loss
- disturbances in calcium and phosphorus metabolism
- elevated levels of carbamide and creatinine
So what can you do to preserve the health of your kidneys?
In order to assist the smooth functioning of the kidneys, make sure to drink at least 2 liters of water per day, primarily water containing a low level of minerals.
In order to reduce your salt intake, use dried or green spices, vinegars or spice oils.
In order to sustain the vascular system, make sure that good quality, cold pressed oils are an essential part of your daily meals, e.g. in breads, salads or home- made mayonnaise dressings.
According to statistics, diabetes will affect the kidneys in about 30% of the patients, therefore, to keep blood sugar values under control, the use of white flour should be gradually abandoned.
In order to prevent high blood pressure or getting overweight, make sure to do some dynamic exercises at least four times a week. This can take many forms, such as fast walking, jogging, hiking, swimming, biking, roller-skating or dancing. Check your blood pressure regularly, aiming to keep it below 130/80 Hgmm.
Do some stress management exercises on a regular basis, such as brain control, autogenic training, yoga or body art.
The nutritional condition of chronic kidney disease patients may significantly deteriorate, which can also ruin their general mood and activity. Good quality cold-pressed oils can be of great help in such cases, since they provide nourishment even in small quantities without increasing the protein, potassium or sodium intake, which may have to be curbed at some stage of the disease.