Boost Your Kidney Health With These Hints And Tips

February 2019

World Kidney Day 2019 is celebrated on the 14th March. The aims of the campaign are to raise the awareness of kidney disease as well as to promote kidney health.

Our kidneys are bean-shaped organs, located in the lower back on either side of the spine. They are important as they work hard to dispose of all the excess salt and waste products.  In addition, our kidneys release hormones that regulate blood pressure and stimulate red blood cell production. Kidney failure leads to excess water, salt and toxins which can really negatively affect the body, often resulting in debilitating kidney conditions.

The kidneys act as a sieve, filtering excess fluids and waste from our blood. The sizes of the holes in our kidneys are therefore very important as they regulate which substances remain in our bodies and which are filtered out.   There are many factors that influence the sizes of these holes, such as fever and certain diseases, eg diabetes.  In addition to balancing the fluid levels in the body and filtering the blood, the kidneys also produce different chemicals and hormones that are responsible for performing key functions in the body.  ₂

Chronic kidney disease is a ‘silent killer’ as it does not normally show any symptoms.  It is possible for people to lose most of their kidney functionality before getting any symptoms.  Below are some signs that may indicate reduced kidney functionality:

  • Blood in your urine.
  • Pain in the kidney area.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Difficulty in sleeping.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Changes in the number of times that urine is passed.
  • Pins and needles in your fingers and toes.
  • Metallic taste in the mouth.

“The kidneys play an important role in the daily functioning of our bodies as they help maintain our general health and wellbeing,” says Gert Coetzee, Pharmacist and Diet pioneer, who founded The Diet Everyone Talks About.  Below he lists some hints and tips that will help you take care of your kidneys.

Choose your food wisely:

The food that you eat plays an important role in maintaining your health.  Healthy eating tips include:

  • Eating a lot of fruits, vegetables, legumes, wholegrain rice and bread.
  • Limit your consumption of take-aways and fast food.
  • Eating lean meat such as chicken and fish.
  • Look at food labels and try to choose food that has a low percentage of salt, sugar and saturated fats.

Drink a lot of water:

Water should be your first choice when it comes to hydration.  Sugary and acidic drinks contain a lot of sugar and add no nutritional value to your body.  Some fruit juices are also high in sugar and do not contain the fibre that a whole fruit has.

Keep your blood pressure under control:

Over time, uncontrolled blood pressure can result in the narrowing and weakening of the arteries around the kidneys.  The damaged arteries will not be able to supply blood to the kidneys.  Your kidneys and circulatory system need each other for good health.

Quit smoking:

One of the most important things in the prevention of kidney disease.  Smoking causes hardening of the arteries which can lead to both coronary disease and the hardening of the kidneys due to the infected blood vessel in the kidneys.

Get physically active:

Being physically active comes with many health benefits which include decreasing blood pressure, lowering of blood fat levels and helping you to maintain a healthy weight.  These all contribute to kidney health as well as your overall health.