Almost everyone knows that the major functions that the kidneys perform is removal of wastes and excess fluids from the body. But how many of us know that – how important is the extraction of wastes from the body to maintain a stable chemical balance and how complex is the process? Moreover, from the vital function of waste removal our kidneys have numerous other important tasks to perform to keep us health and active, such as:
- Maintains a stable body fluid balance.
- Produces hormones to regulate blood pressure.
- Produces an active form of vitamin D, which is vital for strong and healthy bones.
- Controls the production of RBCs (Red Blood Cells).
The World Kidney Day being observed on the 8th of March every year, is an initiative to focus on the health and importance of this vital body organ; to reduce the occurrence of kidney diseases and related health problems across the globe. An effort is being made to raise awareness among common mass, that kidney diseases are preventable and curable.
Kidney Fast Facts
Know these important facts about your kidney to keep them healthy:
A. Kidneys are important because:
- Filters the blood.
- Maintains the correct amount of fluids in the body.
- Produces Red Blood Cells.
- Keeps blood pressure under control.
B. Risk factors that affects kidneys:
- High blood pressure.
- Age beyond 60 years.
- Family history with kidney diseases, diabetes, or high blood pressure
C. Valuable ways to keep the kidneys protected:
- Maintain a healthy weight and lose if required.
- Maintain a healthy diet.
- Quit smoking and limit alcohol intake.
- Exercise regularly.
- Avoid over the counter medicines and take only prescribed drugs.
Diet, nutrition and your kidneys
Diet and nutrition are an integral part of prevention against kidney ailments and living well with your kidneys. It is an important consideration for people with depleting kidney functioning. An overview on dietary changes and nutritional alertness is as mentioned below:
- In conditions of impaired kidney functions, the kidneys are unable to remove excess water, salt, or potassium from the blood, hence foods high in potassium salt substitutes may need to be consumed in limited quantities.
Foods rich in potassium are: Bananas, Apricots, and Sweet potatoes, Yogurt, Spinach and Avocados.
- Under conditions of acute kidney problems and its failure, levels of phosphorous gets elevated which is caused by calcium metabolism. Excess amounts of phosphorous leech out calcium from the bones resulting in osteoporosis and bone fractures.
Foods high in phosphorous are: Milk, Cheese, Nuts, Dark cola drinks, Canned iced teas, Yogurt, Baked beans, Black beans, Lentils, Kidney beans, Soy beans, Bran cereals, Caramels and Whole grain products.
- Keep a watch on your protein intake. Too much of protein can cause waste build up in the blood making it harder for the kidneys to remove them.
Foods rich in protein are: Seafood, Poultry, Eggs, Dairy, Beans and Soy.
Do’s that are must of a kidney diet
- Intake enough fluids and water to keep the concentration of minerals like sodium and calcium low on the kidneys. This will certainly aid in proper kidney functioning and as well detoxify the kidneys.
- Adopt to a healthy and balanced diet as prescribed by a dietician rich in fresh vegetables, whole grains, and lean meat as well as water. Greens and fruits rich in vitamins improve cell metabolism and functioning of the organs.
- Incorporate fiber rich foods in the diet which are low in carbohydrate and boosts kidney functions.
- Eat moderately and develop healthy habits to ensure that the body gets its correct supply of minerals and nutrients.
- Eat vegetables and fruits to boost cell metabolism and immunity.
- Use low fat milk products over milk with cream or fat.
- Measure and control the amount of fat intake in your daily meals. Use mono unsaturated fat or natural fat.
- Exercise regularly and try to be physically active as much possible to control obesity and excessive body weight to boost metabolism and kidney functioning. It also ensures proper blood circulation to the kidneys thereby boosting activities like detoxification and filtering.
By: Sheela Seharawat