You’ve had a mental couple of weeks working and socialising and basically burning the candle at both ends. You wake up exhausted and cranky most mornings and can’t operate until you have had 1/2/3 cups of coffee. Work is stressful and a bit too fast paced then you would like. Most evenings you have a strong craving for salty products. There are large dark circles under your eyes, your nails are cracking and your hair is dull and lifeless.
Does this sound like you? Then keep reading cos I think you could do with some info on yer kidneys.
The poor old kidneys, most people have a general understanding of what the liver, lungs and heart do for us and how to look after them but when it come to the kidneys a lot of people don’t even know what they actually do for us, never mind how to take care of them. I for one used to be clueless, I didn’t even realise we had two… true story.
Quick run through: The kidneys are two small organs in your lower back under your adrenal glands. Their functions include:
- Filtering waste out of the blood
- Regulating the body’s salt, potassium and acid content
- Removing of drugs from the body
- Balancing the body’s fluids
- Releasing hormones that regulate blood pressure
- Controlling the production of red blood cells
See they are useful little fellas after all?! (not sure why, but they are male in my mind)
The past 10/ 20 years have seen a massive increase in people suffering from kidney disease, the need for dialysis and kidney transplants due to kidney failure. The reasons for this is closely linked to the skyrocketing rates of obesity and diabetes. In fact dialysis centres are becoming so normal in the US they are popping up in shopping malls like a Starbucks…
The other scary thing is that many people who have kidney disease don’t even know they have it. Therefore it’s important to recognise the signs your kidneys are under additional pressure and help them out.
So what can I do to help my kidneys?
- Eat more magnesium-rich, hydrating foods, e.g. Raw almond butter/ Dark, leafy greens, e.g. kale/ Spirulina- I’m going to do a blog on this superfood shortly/ Brown Rice/ Avocado
- Be informed: the next time you’re doing a shop have a read of the ingredients, especially the salt content of products before buying. I don’t want to ruin the surprise for you but deli meats, pre made soups and most sauces are laden with salt.
- Regularly eat the following ‘kidney booster’ foods: red grapes/ cranberries/ apples/ garlic/ red peppers.
- Try and eat your 5 fruit and veg- everyday! This takes preparation and forward planning. I try to do a big veggie shop twice a week so I don’t go without when things are busy.
- Quit smoking: Duh…
- Find a type of exercise you find fun and get moving!
- Prevent kidney infections by drinking lots of water and staying away from those terrible ‘ Feminine Hygiene Sprays’.