The Importance of Maintaining Kidney Health

Kidney health has a direct relationship to the quality of life. The foods and liquids we ingest affect their function due to the nutrients and minerals they contain. Consuming a balanced diet can keep these important organs functioning in a robust lifestyle. Here is some background on kidneys and how to maintain their health.

What are kidneys?

These two organs are bean-shaped and located on either side of the mid-section in the back. A good marker for their exact location is the bottom of the rib cage. Kidneys are also known as the body’s renal system. Their composition consists of cells called glomerulus parietal and podocyte along with seven others that are fewer in density. Due to placement, the right kidney is smaller than the left. Finally, they play host to adrenal glands.

What is kidney function?

The kidneys are the blood’s filtration system while regulating the pH balance. Their proximity to the heart is connected by dedicated arteries. One receives blood flow while the other returns it. What most people do not know is the kidneys play a role in maintaining important mineral levels including potassium, sodium, magnesium, and amino acids. In addition, they are responsible for releasing hormones into the blood that manage glucose and insulin levels. Their critical function also controls proper heart rates to prevent heart attacks and high blood pressure.

What damages kidneys?

Certain over-the-counter medications, lifestyle habits, and foods damage the kidneys. This damage manifests in the form of impaired function that may require dialysis. Examples of drugs to limit or remove include anti-inflammatory compounds such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen or aspirin. Consuming alcohol in combination with anti-inflammatory meds increases risks. Smoking cigarettes releases harmful toxins into the blood stream that make the kidneys work harder. Foods high in protein, fructose, and potassium are another culprit to kidney disease.

Signs and symptoms of a problem

Pain and frequent or difficult urination are sure signs of kidney distress. The color of urine is the quickest way to detect problems. For example, dark, cloudy, or smelly urine are red flags that a drastic change is needed. Healthy kidneys produce light yellow urine with little to no smell. Dehydration is another issue that requires an increase of water consumption. Frank or scant blood in urine and burning during urination demands immediate medical attention.

Foods that maintain kidney health

Drinking plenty of clean water throughout the day is the foundation for healthy kidneys. Lemon juice is a deterrent to kidney stones developing. Eating food such as fish are the best proteins to consume. They are low in protein and high in healthy minerals and nutrients. A list of foods that should be included with every diet follows.

  • sweet potatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, and kale
  • cherries, watermelon, apples, grapes, and berries
  • garlic, onions, ginger, and red bell peppers
  • pumpkin seeds

Being diligent with your diet and not ignoring warning signs will bolster kidney health. Researching more foods that cultivate good function starts with a conversation with your doctor. A caveat is to get plenty of rest and exercise.

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