March is National Kidney Month, a great opportunity to learn more about these miraculous organs. The kidneys filter about a half cup of blood every minute, removing waste and excess water for urine. These organs do more than just filter blood, they help regulate blood pressure and make more red blood cells, crucial for providing nutrients to your body as a whole.
These critical bean-shaped organs are the humble MVPs for our bodily functions. So, what can you do to keep them in tip-top shape and make their job easier? Here are a few tips according to Healthline:
Protect and support your kidneys by…
- Watch your blood sugar: The reason a majority of diabetics struggle with renal issues is because an excess of sugar in the blood means these organs are working double time to clean your blood. Sugar is more difficult to remove than most other waste due to sugar’s large compound structure. Keeping your blood sugar to a minimum helps keep your kidneys from burnout later in life.
- Healthy diet: As with anything, a healthy diet is a great way to ensure that your organs, especially kidneys, aren’t under an enormous amount of stress. Avoid foods high in salt or processed meats, and don’t consume large amounts of potassium or phosphorus as these can also make your organs work harder than needed.
- Drink plenty of water: Another obvious choice for better health, drinking plenty of water throughout the day helps your kidneys flush out waste, sodium and toxins. Drinking your daily amount of water can also help guard against stones. Adults should drink 2 liters, or half a gallon of water daily.
- Don’t smoke or try to quit: Smoking puts stress on the blood vessels, causing damage and an inability to circulate blood to the extremities.
- Avoid NSAIDs: This isn’t to say you can’t take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, but you should not use them daily. NSAIDs block prostaglandins, natural body chemicals that normally dilate blood vessels, ultimately leading to decreased blood flow and oxygen to the organs. Try to alternate between acetaminophen and ibuprofen, if possible.
If you’re looking to give your kidneys a helping hand at meal time, opt for foods low in nutrients related to added stress, such as cabbage, which is high in fiber and antioxidants. Other foods to consider are blueberries, cranberries, garlic and beans, among many more.
Visit kidney.org for more.