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Healthy and natural habits to keep the kidneys healthy

Healthy and natural habits to keep the kidneys healthy

Healthy and natural habits to keep the kidneys healthy

 Kidneys are bean-shaped organs in the human body. They are 4-5 inches in length, almost the size of a large fist and are present below the ribcage, at the back of the belly.

Their prime function is filtering the blood inside the human body. A healthy kidney filters half cup of blood in a minute. It absorbs important substances and removes waste and extra fluid from blood in the form of urine.

Each kidney is connected to the urinary bladder by a thin tube-like structure known as a ureter. Urine flows through the ureter and is stored in the urinary bladder. Passing through the urethra, it is excreted out from the body by the process of urination.

Each kidney contains millions of filtering units called nephrons. Each nephron further has two types of filters called glomerulus and tubule. Glomeruli are responsible for filtering the blood. Tubule returns the important substances to the blood and removes the waste product.

Other functions performed by kidneys are :

1) Apart from removing waste from the blood and restoring needed substances. It also eliminates acid produced by the cells, therefore, maintaining a balance between water, salts and minerals (calcium, phosphorous, potassium, etc.) in blood. This balance is extremely necessary to be maintained for your nerves, muscles and tissues to function properly.

2) It produces hormones that help control blood pressure, make RBCs and keep bones strong.

So, it's requisite to keep our kidneys in healthy condition. But today's lifestyle and eating habits are leading our kidneys to another level of deterioration. Lack of physical activity in our daily routine, munching unhealthy snacks, and frequent consumption of fast foods (high in refined sugar, carbs and oil) are placing a huge burden on our kidneys to filter out this complex junk. Hence kidneys, as well as other important organs/body parts, are getting worn out before time and people acquire various diseases at an early stage of life.

However, it's never too late to start taking care of our health and pave the way toward a good quality of life. Some easy preventive tips and lifestyle changes make a huge difference and save your health from degradation.

Some common science-proven techniques and lifestyle changes can help delay the entry of kidney-related disease and help you lead the best quality of life.

Major lifestyle changes for healthy kidneys:

1) Replace your kitchen pantry and fridge with healthy food options: Replace refined cooking oil with olive oil, white refined sugar with brown sugar/jaggery powder, a refined white salt with Himalaya pink salt, refined flour with whole wheat/multigrain flour and cold drinks/processed packed foods with fresh fruits and vegetables.

2) Make a habit of healthy food choices: Fill your plate with colourful and fresh vegetables. Increase your protein intake and keep a watch on your refined carbs and fat intake. Restrict outside deep-fried fast foods loaded with heavy carbs and fats. Prefer food items having good cholesterol like eggs, desi ghee, etc. over food items with bad cholesterol.

Cholesterol is a waxy substance in the blood needed to build up healthy cells. But if the level of cholesterol increases in the blood it starts depositing in blood vessels leading to narrowing of blood vessels or even blockage.

There are two kinds of cholesterol-

Good cholesterol (HDH) – Good cholesterol also known as High-density lipoprotein (HDL) removes cholesterol from the blood and takes it to the liver and hence helps to cut down bad cholesterol. Its level should be high in the body.

Bad cholesterol (LDH) – Bad cholesterol is also known as Low-density cholesterol, when increases above the normal level lead to the deposition of plaque in the lining of blood vessels leading to blockage of blood flow. Its level should be low in the body.

Since there are no early symptoms indicating high LDH, one must undergo regular cholesterol level testing. Eat healthy snacks in evening snacking time and have them like a snack not like a dinner or lunch i.e. in small proportion.

Food dense in carbs and fats put an extra burden on the digestive system to digest heavy food and on the kidneys in filtering out such ugly and complex food items. The habit of consuming carb/fat dense food items, in the long run, degrades health early.

3) Bring exercise into your daily routine: an intense workout 5 times a week brings great positive changes in the health of the body. Research says that rigorous physical activity releases mood-elevating chemicals inside your brain and reduces stress.

Exercising makes muscles and bones strong. It enhances metabolism rate and thus foods digest easily without inserting a heavy burden on the digestive system and kidneys. It also keeps comorbid conditions like blood pressure and diabetes under control.

4) Maintain healthy body weight: Aim for ideal body weight according to medical research. Exercise and a plate full of healthy colourful food items help maintain ideal weight and prevent the body from acquiring kidney-related diseases.

5) Follow a proper sleep routine: 7-8 hours of good sleep is necessary to help recover your body from day-long stress. 10 minutes of body stretching before sleeping can help have a good quality sound sleep. Early to bed, and early to rise is the key to a healthy brain and body.

Sleeping and rising late disturbs hormones in the body. Such routine wears out the body results in poorer sleep quality and thus creates disturbances in the biological functions of the body.

6) Say No to smoking: the habit of regular smoking cast heinous effects on the body . Obesity puts an extra burden on kidneys and other organs leading to kidney diseases or other diseases slowly damaging all organs of the body.

7) Stress buster activities: Life is full of challenges. Every day we face different types of challenges. Challenges on roads, office, workload/pressure, and continuous sitting on chairs lead to complete mental exhaustion.

We must plan each day in a way that 30 to 60 minutes is dedicated only to us and practice activities that erase our whole day's mental exhaustion and revive the brain and body. Activities like meditation, involvement in your favourite sport or if you love art or being creative. An hour a day should be dedicated to anything that soothes your soul and revives you physically and mentally.

8) Keeping your comorbid conditions under control: conditions like blood pressure, diabetes, and heart diseases are ubiquitous, so we must keep our blood sugar levels under check to control these comorbid conditions.

Regular checks on blood sugar level and blood pressure must be done. Following a healthy diet with some physical activity along with prescribed medications helps greatly in keeping these conditions under control.

Talk with your healthcare provider and take care of comorbidities like hypertension, diabetes and heart diseases as these conditions lead to poor kidneys in the longer run.

9) Supplements and Ayurveda medicines: Heavy supplements or Ayurveda medicine mixtures can be tedious for kidneys to filter. So talk with your healthcare professional before jumping onto any sort of supplements or Ayurveda medicines.

10) Holding on to your pee for too long: Laziness enters in and we keep on holding our pee to the extent of not being able to hold it further and rush to the washroom

This is dangerous and can have heinous impacts if often practised.

- It can cause pain in the abdomen and kidneys.

- Urinary infection

- Stretching of bladder

- Damage pelvic muscles

- Kidney stones

11) Eating while watching screen: Researchers believe having meals while watching mobile or television disturbs the release of certain enzymes that are helpful in good digestion of food and mindful eating. Screening while eating also leads to overeating. Overburden on digestive system gradually wears out kidneys too.

12) Overconsumption of over-the-counter medications: Pain medicines available easily at medical stores without prescription can cause kidney damage when used frequently. Medicines such as aspirin, naproxen, ibuprofen, etc.

13) Lack of hydration: hydration have a primary role in keeping kidneys and the whole human body healthy. It is essential for the elimination/degradation of toxic compounds in the body. Continuous dehydration can cause kidney damage. The dark yellow colour of urine is an indication of a lack of hydration. The urine should be light yellow in colour.

Kidneys are sensitive organ of our body which is why it comes in pairs just like the eyes. So, if one gets damaged, the other carries out the much-needed function. But what if both fail down?

That is why it is our prime responsibility to take good care of our precious kidneys especially when we have a family medical history of kidney failure, as it increases the chances of developing kidney diseases/kidney failure.

We must practice the above secrets to have healthy functioning kidneys and follow the precautionary steps guided by your family doctor.

Ask your healthcare professional questions about your kidney's health keeping family medical history in mind. If you have a family medical history of kidney failure or other renal disease, its high time you must adopt healthy lifestyle and seek the proper guidance of a professional healthacare provider and follow the necessary precautionary steps guided by him to keep your kidneys healthy and working.

Every part of the body is crucial to lead a healthy, good quality life. So, change poor your habits and adopt healthy habits as good health is truely a treasure for which one must always aspire.