Maintaining the Health of Your Kidneys
Your kidneys sit close to your back, just beneath (protected by) the ribs in the midback. They are just under the red blobs in the diagram above (the red blobs are your adrenal glands). They filter about 140 liters of blood each day and produce about 1-2 liters of urine. Their job is to remove waste products from the blood for excretion in the urine.
Factors that influence kidney health:
- Diet – inflammatory foods and high blood sugars will damage the kidneys. Studies have shown that removing inflammatory foods and better managing blood sugar (especially for diabetics), can improve kidney function. Foods that tend to provoke inflammation include: sugars, cooking oils, trans fats, red meat, processed meat, refined grains, additives like MSG plus any foods that you are sensitive to such as dairy, gluten, eggs, nuts or beans.
- Fiber intake – higher dietary fiber intake improves kidney function.
- Sugar and artificial sweetener intake – a recent study found that intake of greater than 2 artificially sweetened sodas per day lead to a decline in kidney function.
- Protein intake – high protein diets have been discouraged in the past as putting too much strain on the kidneys. In healthy kidneys, protein consumption is not of concern. In fact, one recent study showed that pregnant women with higher protein intake, produced children with better functioning kidneys. The only people who need be concerned with limiting protein intake, are those with kidney disease.
- Caffeine – there appears to be no association between caffeine intake and kidney disease. In fact, one study found a lower risk for kidney stones in those who consumed more caffeine.
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