World Kidney Day is celebrated on second Thursday of March every year. Let’s put the spotlight on this very important organ, which works full-time to remove waste and toxins from the body. I am going to share some important nutrition-related steps you need to take to take care of your kidneys.
So let's get started:
7 Tips to Keep Your Kidneys Happy and Healthy
Firstly, early morning drink a glass of water kept overnight in a copper vessel. When water is stored in a copper vessel, the copper gently leaches into the water and lends it all its positive properties. It is known to help the digestive system perform better, help cleanse and detox your gut, and regulate the working of the kidneys,.
Second, limit all that is toxic from your daily diet. This includes smoking, excess of sugar, tea, coffee, chocolates and alcohol. This will help to clean up the already taxed (and maxed to work) kidneys. Also include citrus fruits in diet and switch to green tea. Basically detox on a daily basis for the sake of your kidneys.
Third, make water your friend. Aim for 2 litres of water daily to help the kidneys eliminate the toxins that the liver has broken down. Kidney stones are more common during the summer months because warmer weather causes dehydration and increases concentration of substances in the urine and these substances crystallise to form stones. Fluids like water, raw juices and teas (green tea, herbal and regular weak tea) help. Avoid coffee, soda and sweetened beverages.
Fourth, pile on raw veggies and fruits, especially dark green leafy vegetables and orange, yellow, purple and red coloured fruits and vegetables. Aim at thirty percent of the diet to be raw fruits and vegetables as they contain living enzymes, vitamin C, natural antioxidants and anti-cancer phytonutrients, all of which help in kidney detoxification. Raw juices particularly are an incredible powerful healing tool and can improve the function of the kidneys.
Fifth, cut down on meats. Meat can be difficult to digest and requires many enzymes for its digestion so its reduction from the diet enhances detoxification. Plus, it is very easy to go on a protein overdrive when on a primarily non vegetarian diet, and a diet where protein intake is in excess (beyond 30% of daily caloric intake), may in the long run cause a build up of toxic ketones in the body, which in the long term may strain the kidneys.
Sixth, processed foods are a big problem for the kidneys. These are usually high in salt (sodium), which leads to higher calcium excretion (increased amount of sodium passing into the urine can also pull calcium along with it), and may increase the probability of stone formation.
Seventh, excess weight needs to be kept in check.
Include these Foods in Your Kidney-Friendly Diet
Ginger helps cleanse the kidney. Add grated ginger to hot water and sip through the day.
Eat cranberries. They contain a nutrient called quinine which converts into hippuric acid and helps clear the excess buildup of urea and uric acid in the kidneys.
Curcumin in turmeric acts directly on kidney cells to cut inflammation. Another solid reason to have haldi doodh, or Turmeric Latte.
Fennel is your kidney's friend. Have a couple of cups of tea with saunf (fennel seeds) to promote renal function.
Bajra (pearl millet) contains a compound called quercetin that helps keep the kidney functioning properly by excreting the toxins from the body.
Radish leaves are a natural diuretic and are perfect to cut the bloat, clean the kidneys, and also keep urinary tract infections at bay.
Nutmeg (Jaiphal), the seed of the nutmeg tree (usually crushed and used as a powder) pitches in by helping out with kidney detoxification.
Lemon peels are great for those predisposed to kidneys stones as citric acid may help prevent kidney stones by increasing urine volume and in-creasing urine pH, creating a less favourable environment for kidney stone formation.
Water melon seeds contain a compound called cucuocitirn, which helps dilate blood vessels, thereby bringing down high BP, and also activates function of kidneys. Note: Dry the seeds under the shade and then powder them. Put 2 spoons of the powder in a cup of boiling water, strain the contents and eat regularly.
Ghee is good. When sourced from grass fed cows, ghee is a rich source of hard to find vitamin K2 (not found in leafy greens like K1), which is supposed to be a calcium regulator of our body - it puts calcium where it should be (teeth and bones) and takes it out of places it shouldn’t (arteries, kidneys, tissue, etc.).
Cherries are good blood cleansers and help the liver and kidney. They promote regular bowel movements which helps keep the body detoxed.
Mango contains beta-carotene, which is converted by our body to vitamin A. A and vitamin C are crucial for controlling kidney inflammation.
Fox nut (makhana) are low in sodium and high in potassium - perfect to tune our body’s electrolyte balance and keep the blood pressure low.
(Kavita is a nutritionist, weight management consultant and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of Don’t Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People (Jaico), Ultimate Grandmother Hacks: 50 Kickass Traditional Habits for a Fitter You (Rupa) and Fix it with foods.)