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The kidneys are yet another under-loved organ. We don’t hear much about how to take care of them or what they do until we actually start to notice issues with them.
Kidneys are fist-sized organs that are located in the back of the abdomen. Kidneys filter our blood in order to remove toxins, balance electrolytes, and control our fluid balance. Our entire blood supply passes through the kidneys several times a day! We can lose up to 90% of our kidney function without ever having a single symptom- this is why prevention of illness is so key.
Symptoms of Kidney Dysfunction
When the kidneys aren’t properly nourished, they can lose their filtering abilities which can cause a re-circulation of toxins in the body, creating a host of terrible symptoms.
- Common kidney related symptoms include:
- Any Change in urination: color, smell and appearance
- Pain while urinating
- Pain on the sides of the abdomen
- When an infection is present you may feel flu-like symptoms that effect the whole body
- Kidney stones (crystallized minerals that form in the kidneys or urinary tract)
- Chronic UTIs
How to Nourish the Kidneys
- Stinging Nettle Infusions are one of the best kidney tonics out there. They are extremely effective because they target the entire detoxification system which encourages it to work better. Nettles help to purify the blood so they can help take the strain off of over-worked kidneys. Read more about nettle infusions here!
- Nutrients needed for kidney health: magnesium, vitamin C, Vitamin D, calcium, potassium, and vitamin B6. Depending on your level of kidney health, the amounts of these nutrients will vary. Some people need to be cautious with magnesium, calcium and potassium if they have advanced kidney disease. Read this link from Dr. Carolyn Dean about why kidneys NEED magnesium.
- Stay hydrated! I don’t completely believe that we need to drown our bodies with massive amounts of water each day but it is important to drink enough liquid daily. Half your body weight in ounces is usually a good guide but if you notice that you are urinating too frequently then cut down on the water intake. Our need for water changes daily- the more active you are, the more water you’ll need. A helpful tip for remembering to drink: buy yourself one of those adorable Tumbler cups and fill it 2-3 times a day. Throw in some sole if you can or even a pinch of unrefined salt!
- Apple cider vinegar is a very old home remedy for kidney health because it has the ability to break up kidney stones. If you think you suffer from kidney stones it is a good idea to try and get this confirmed by a doctor before trying to treat it on your own so they can hopefully monitor your progress with treatment. ACV helps to break up the minerals that form kidney stones which allows you to shrink the stones to help them pass easier or even to completely dissolve them. At least 2 tablespoons of ACV in a glass of water a day is a great way to help your kidneys filter out toxins and help prevent kidney stones before they even happen.
- Cool it on the oxalates- if you already have existing kidney issues. Oxalates are found in foods like beets, chocolate, coffee, cola, nuts, peanuts, rhubarb, some teas, strawberries, parsley and spinach. Kidney stones are usually formed of calcium-oxalate so reducing your oxalates can help if you are prone to kidney stones.
- Cranberries! Pure, 100% cranberry juice is amazing for your kidneys because of the ability to treat and prevent UTIs. Since UTIs harm the entire urinary tract, treating them naturally will take some strain off of the kidneys. Because pure cranberry juice isn’t exactly the easiest thing to drink, many people are finding success with D-Mannose which is the active ingredient in cranberry juice. Using a D-mannose supplement will help you get more of that particular ingredient without having to drink a ton of juice. There are many studies that have proven that D-Mannose is more effective for UTIs than antibiotics! D-mannose actually sticks to E.coli and allows you to pass it easily which eliminates the infection from your urinary system.
- Lemons! Raw, fresh lemon juice is amazing for the kidneys (source). Having a glass of warm lemon water first thing in the morning helps to get digestion moving, and flushes out the gunk that builds up overnight.
- Castor oil packs over the kidney area.
Have any other kidney helpers that you want to share! Let’s talk about it in the comments!