Take care of your Kidneys (Food/Lifestyle/Yoga)
Kidneys are our vital organs that filter out the waste products from our blood and expel them out of our body through our excretory system. These are two bean-shaped organs that have been strategically placed on each side of the spine, below the rig cage. Our Kidneys are involved in the excretion of wastes, Re-absorption of vital nutrients, Acid-base homeostasis, Osmolality regulation, Blood pressure regulation and Hormone secretion. They are also involved in regulating blood pressure, electrolyte balance, and red blood cell production in the body. Hence it is essential to take care of our kidneys. Eating right, having a healthy lifestyle and regular practicing of yoga and pranayama are important tools that will launch us to a total health transformation.
Eating a nutrient dense diet can help in not only preventing damage to your kidney, but can also help to promote your overall health. In order to have a kidney friendly diet, we need to consume a balanced diet that is low in salt and fat, this also helps us to control our blood pressure. For healthier kidneys, we need to limit certain foods to prevent the minerals in those foods from building up in our body.
For healthier kidneys, it is recommended that the diet which we consume should be easy to digest and should contain less of complex protein and fats along with limiting the amount of sodium, phosphorus, potassium and fluids in diet.
Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy in our body. But we need to be careful about simple and complex carbs. For a kidney-friendly diet, natural sugar that includes fruit sugars, honey etc. is recommended. Healthy sources of carbohydrates include grains, fruits and vegetables that provide fiber to diet along with Carbs, minerals and nutrients.
- We should avoid processed sugars, hard candies, soft drinks and other sugary drinks as they contain high amount of complex sugars that are harsh to digest.
- Fat intake needs to be minimal. Only good unsaturated vegetarian fat should be consumed. This includes olive oil, canola oil, safflower oil, Peanut oil, Corn oil, coconut oil, palm oil etc. Bad fats like Butter, Ghee etc. should be avoided.
- To maintain the health of kidneys, the protein intake must be taken care of. The quality and the quantity of protein intake describe the extent of your kidney health. It is suggested that one should maintain a protein intake at normal levels and should consume vegetarian protein by including wholegrain breads, cottage cheese, pulses. Animal protein of all sorts should be avoided.
- Special care has to be taken in the intake of minerals like sodium, potassium, calcium and phosphorus. Too much of sodium causes bloating and swelling, makes you feel thirsty a lot. This in turn raises your blood pressure too which is harmful for health. Similarly potassium which is required in muscle movement needs to be taken in regulated amounts. Any extra amount of mineral content in the diet causes kidneys to work more thereby harming the kidneys in the long run.
- Eat fruits with lower-potassium levels like peaches, cranberries, grapes, strawberries, pears, cherries, apples, berries, pineapple, plums, tangerines, and watermelon. The intake of oranges and orange juice, Avocados, nectarines, kiwis, raisins or other dried fruit, bananas, melons, cantaloupe, honeydew, prunes, and nectarines should be taken in regulated amounts.
Similarly a kidney-friendly diet includes vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, eggplant, green and wax beans, lettuce, radishes, summer squash, onion, peppers, watercress, zucchini, and yellow squash. Often dietitian recommend to avoid asparagus, avocado, potatoes, tomatoes or tomato sauce, winter squash, pumpkin, avocado, and cooked spinach to avoid kidney problems.
Apart from Diet, Lifestyle moderations also keep the kidneys healthy. A little change in our daily chores can do wonders to our kidney health. Following are a few pieces of advice to promote the health of kidneys:
- Stale food to be strictly avoided. The stale food may cause the generation of toxins and microbes that may cause harm to the kidneys:
- Artificial colors or flavors to be avoided. These are after all chemicals that are not easily consumed by our body and will harm the body and kidneys during excretion from our body.
- Exercise lightly or take a walk before meals to increase your appetite. This helps in better digestion.
- Right proportion size is the key. By limiting the size of our meal, we reduce the overburden on our digestive systems and excretory system. It is thus properly digested.
- Avoid eating directly from the package the food came in. Instead, it is recommended to take out one serving of food as per our requirement, and put the bag or box away in order not to consume more than our right proportion.
- Eat slowly, and stop eating when you are not hungry any more. It has been observed that it takes about 20 minutes for our stomach to tell our brain that you are full. If we eat too quickly, you may eat more than you need.
- Avoid eating while doing something else, such as watching TV or driving. When you are distracted, you may not realize how much we have eaten.
Yoga and Pranayaam
“Yoga is to life what water is to fish”
Yoga & Pranayaam are ancient Indian practices that have been concerned with health and wellbeing of our body and mind. These have been regarded as forms of art and science of breathing controls that have been coordinated with specific muscle movements and tensions in body. These Yogic practices have mysterious power to soothe and revitalize our body and mind. Many yogis have recommended following specific yoga asanas for improving the health of kidney.
- Salamba Bhujangasana (Sphinx pose)
- Bhujangasana (Cobra pose)
- Ardha Matsyendrasana (Sitting Half Spinal twist)
- Setu Bandhasana (Bridge pose)
- Paschimottanasana (Seated forward bend)
- Naukasana (Boat pose)