Ways to Strengthen our Kidneys
Our kidneys are fist-sized organs that sit on either side of the lower rib cage. They are life-sustaining organs that filter our entire blood supply 50 times a day. In a single day, our kidneys filter approximately 150 quarts of blood. It definitely pays to keep them as healthy as possible.
Kidneys perform many functions in our bodies to keep the blood clean and chemically balanced. Some of the main functions our kidneys perform are:
- Filter blood to get rid of waste products – as our body uses food for energy and self-repair in normal metabolism, waste products are produced and sent into the blood. The kidneys are highly efficient filters that rid the blood of waste and toxic substances while returning vitamins, amino acids, glucose and hormones back into the bloodstream.
- Balance water and electrolytes – all the cells within our body are surrounded by a fluid called extracellular fluid. For the cells to work properly, the extracellular fluid needs to have a stable composition of salts - such as potassium and sodium – and acidity (often referred to as pH). The kidneys work constantly to maintain the optimal balances and the effective functioning of all the cells of the body.
- Produce and help balance hormones – our kidneys secrete a number of hormones that are vital for normal functions in our body. Renin is a hormone the kidneys produce that is responsible for keeping blood pressure normal. If too much renin is produced, we can have increased blood pressure which can lead to hypertension. Erythropoietin is another hormone produced and regulated by the kidneys. This hormone acts on the bone marrow to increase production of red blood cells. If we have insufficient erythropoietin our red blood cell count will fall, possibly leading to anemia – a low red blood cell count.
It makes good sense to keep our kidneys as healthy and strong as possible. Some easy things to do to keep building strength in our kidneys are:
Stay active and fit with regular exercise. We can lower our blood pressure, boost our heart health and keep our waistlines trim with activity. We don’t have to run marathons or compete in triathlons to reap rewards of exercise. Walking, jogging, cycling or simply dancing or playing with youngsters will have great results.
Keep blood sugar under control to allow kidneys to stay strong. Diets high in sugar can cause increased blood sugar which may cause kidney damage. When too much sugar is in the blood it makes the kidneys work much harder to filter out waste substances. Over years this extra exertion can lead to life-threatening damage to the kidneys.
Stay well hydrated to promote kidney strength. Water helps clear sodium and toxins from our kidneys. It also lowers the risk of chronic kidney disease. A good goal for water intake is to drink half of our weight in ounces of water each day.
Don’t smoke. Never, never, never. Smoking damages our blood vessels which leads to lower blood flow throughout the body. Lower blood flows force the kidneys to work harder and can lead to kidney disease.
Our kidneys are vital to maintaining an active, healthy life. Follow these steps to help keep our kidneys strong and functioning for a long lifetime. Be Blessed.