Unlike your liver, the kidneys cannot repair themselves.19 This is why some people believe we have two of them. Chronic kidney disease affects 10% of the world’s adult population, and worldwide it’s one of the top 20 causes of death.1 Sorry for the negative vibes, but we’re hoping these facts help spread awareness about caring for this pair of organs, that sometimes get overlooked.
Kickin’ it with your kidneys
Let’s get to know these two little beans a bit better! Yes, your kidneys are shaped like beans. They are located below the rib cage and connect to the bladder via two ureters. Every single day these 2 organs filter about 120 to 150 quarts of blood to produce around 1-2 quarts of urine, extra fluid and other wastes.2
Your kidneys are so important because they keep the composition of your blood consistent, prevent wastes from building up in the body, regulate levels of electrolytes,2 maintains blood pressure 4 and they look like cute little beans!!!! Did we mention that already? The kidneys also produce and release many different hormones that are needed in order for your body to run gloriously!3 Or at the very least, smoothly. This is why many hormonal problems will likely affect your kidney, as it’s a production zone for hormones.
Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)
The two main causes of CKD are diabetes and high blood pressure.14 However polycystic kidney disease, lupus and repeated urinary infections also affect the kidneys.14
CKD leads to kidney damage which results in your kidneys being unable to filter blood the way your body needs them to.5 This damage normally happens slowly over a long period of time, which means it’s preventable in most cases. This destruction of the kidneys also leads to wastes building up in the body, because as you might remember from the last paragraph, your kidneys filter out wastes and fluids daily. When they’re not working, these toxins build up, which puts even more stress on your body.
Symptoms to watch out for:
- You’re more tired than usual
- Trouble concentrating
- Poor appetite
- Muscle cramping at night
- Swollen feet and ankles
- Urination patterns have increased
Contact a healthcare practitioner as soon as possible if you think you may have CKD.
Protect those beans & prevent CKD
Preventative measures are key to avoiding chronic kidney disease. This means adopting healthy lifestyle habits as soon as you can. There are of course straight forward protocols like lowering your alcohol and caffeine consumption, reducing the amount of refined foods you eat, and exercising regularly.
Regular exercise doesn’t have to consist of intense workouts daily in order to work. For example, one study found that walking briskly 3-4 hours a week could reduce the risk of a coronary related disease or illness by 30-40 times.6 Although that is an example pertaining to heart and artery health, studies show exercise can significantly play a role in preventing CKD too.7 And after all, your body works in synchrony, meaning a healthier heart and arteries will certainly help keep your body’s health as a whole!
The preventative measures
Keeping your heart and body healthy will certainly aid in helping your kidneys, but mental health is also crucial in preventing any kind of chronic illness or disease. One study found a link between poor mental health and unhealthy sleep patterns which lead to more stress and an increase in risk to chronic illnesses.8 As this study shows, stress and mental health affect all aspects of your life.
In other articles we’ve written, you can blatantly see the links between stress and digestion and stress and sleep. For example, stress can cause major short and long term digestive issues.9 As outlined in detail in our Stress and Gut Health article, daily stressors can impact your digestive system so severely, it can actually lead to your stomach being unable to absorb nutrients from food. Again, as stated above, we know that proper nutrition is key in preventing CKD, so this poses a problem.
Your boss isn’t going to suddenly stop demanding things, your kids will always have disagreements and don’t even get us started on the political climate or the environmental destruction happening in today’s world! The point is, you can’t control stressors, fortunately you can control how you react to them. Incorporating a daily meditation can significantly help with stress and brain development (recommended reading: How Meditation works – the science behind the practice). Additionally self care should be prioritized; do things for your enjoyment, pleasure and health. You have to take care of yourself before you take care of others. Lastly, adopting a healthy diet that focuses on fresh, organic, plant based foods is a must.
Medicine that grows in the garden
Altering your current diet to one that centers around organic, plant-based foods will help your body stay healthy, immune and supported. Organic foods on average contain 20-40% more antioxidants 10 and 50% more anthocyanins and flavonols which are naturally occurring compounds that give fruits and veggies their pigment.11 They too, have health benefits such as antioxidative and antimicrobial powers.12,13
The SAD diet (Standard North American Diet) also known as the Western Diet is generally heavy in protein and low in fibre. A high protein (especially animal protein) diet leads to more acid secretion via the kidney.16 More acid = more work for them. Additionally this acid excretion increase can contribute to the onset of osteoporosis due to calcium loss.17 An organic, plantbased diet is not only higher in many different antioxidants, it’s also much higher in fibre. Fibre is beneficial in the preventative process of CKD as well as benefits those who are diagnosed.18
Specific foods that help with kidney health:
- Filtered water: Helps flush out toxins that could lead to kidney stones or kidney infections.15
- 100% cranberry juice, organic or just organic cranberries: helps clean out the kidneys and prevents bacteria from growing.15
- Mushrooms: Vitamin D is very important for good kidney health. Our PureFood A to Z has 70% of your Daily Value of absorbable vitamin D from portobello mushrooms! Did you know our mushroom supplier actually flips the shrooms on their back so their gills can be exposed to sunlight? This allows them to synthesize vitamin D at an accelerated rate. Learn more about this process by reading Magical mushrooms for vegan vitamin D.15
We know it’s hard to get all of your organic fruits and veggies in daily, which is why we’ve developed a product that helps. Our PureFood A to Z contains therapeutic amounts of organic fruits, veggies and superfoods that have high quantities of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and other healing compounds. Why settle for a multivitamin pill, when food offers so much more?
4. Mukoyama M, Nakao K. Hormones of the kidney. In: Melmed S, Conn PM, editors. Endocrinology: Basic and clinical Principles. 2nd ed. Totowa, New Jersey: Humans Press; 2005. pp. 353–66.