by Jessica Sanders
One in 3 American adults are at risk for developing kidney disease, and 26 million currently have it, though many don’t know it yet.
These statistics are staggering, not just because kidney disease is often a result of poor health conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes, but because these two bean-shaped organs do a whole lot more than you might think.
Their list of duties, includes:
- Filtering 120 to 150 quarts of blood daily to produce 1 to 2 quarts of urine.
- Keeping the body’s level of electrolytes stable, such as potassium and phosphate.
- Making hormones that help regulate blood pressure, make red blood cells and keep bones strong.
One of the most important duties is controlling the acidity balance of the blood. If the blood is too acidic, the kidney makes bicarbonate to restore the blood pH balance. If the blood is too alkaline, then the kidney excretes bicarbonate into the urine to restore the balance. In fact, the kidneys produce nearly half a pound of bicarbonate a day to help neutralize acid in the body.
Patients with kidney disease have poorly functioning kidneys, resulting in acid build up and high levels of metabolic wastes in the blood. In most cases, those suffering from kidney disease are placed on dialysis, which takes over the function of the kidneys. This is an expensive treatment with many unappealing side effects including multiple catheter changes throughout the day, bloating, weight gain, blood clotting and itchy skin.
Luckily, if you treat your kidneys well on a daily basis, you can avoid kidney disease or kidney stones. And, no, you don’t have to start taking expensive supplements. Here are two natural, inexpensive ways to keep your kidneys working properly.
One of the products you can use to maintain optimal kidney health is likely sitting in your home already: baking soda.
That familiar, orange Arm and Hammer box is much more powerful than you might first imagine. While yours sits in the fridge as an odor catchall, hospitals use it in the emergency room as an intensive care medicine.
The main ingredient, bicarbonate, is a naturally occurring alkaline substance found in all body fluids and organs that helps to maintain a balanced pH and buffer acids. (Remember, the kidneys produce nearly half a pound of bicarbonate daily).
Baking soda helps current kidney disease patients mitigate the kidneys’ inability to neutralize acids without the unappealing side effects.
A British study of 134 patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) found that a small daily dose of oral sodium bicarbonate tablets, along with the treatment they were already undergoing, greatly reduced the rate of kidney decline. Decline was about two-thirds slower than the group that didn’t take the tablets. These patients also saw improvements in overall nutrition.
Though medical professionals have long known of the value of baking soda in kidney health, this study, conducted in 2010, was the first of its kind.
This natural health remedy, when used as a preventive measure, can also reduce your chances for getting kidney stones, which 1 in 10 Americans will get in their lifetime.
You can take baking soda in the form of a drink or a tablet. General recommendations advise taking 2 rounded teaspoons of baking soda mixed with 2 cups water and sipping over the course of an hour or two. If the kidneys are compromised, you can do this up to 3 times a day. Please consult with a healthcare professional before adding baking soda to your diet.
The phrase, an apple a day (and other fruits and vegetables) keeps the doctor away, has never been truer than when discussing kidney health. These foods have been found to improve kidney health because they are more alkaline, less acidic.
Eating foods with less acid means your kidneys don’t have to work as hard to maintain a balanced pH. The main nutrients in these alkaline foods are, potassium, calcium and magnesium.
It only makes sense to conclude that acidic foods, on the other hand, put your kidneys to work. If you eat too much of these foods, the kidneys cease to be able to process the acids and your body can become susceptible to kidney stones or kidney disease.
With an alkaline-based diet, you can be sure you’re treating your kidneys well. Here are three simple steps to improve your diet.
1. Eat more fruits and vegetables, which are less acidic. Some foods to indulge in, include:
- Swiss chard
- Beet greens
2. At the same time, it’s also important to reduce your consumption of highly acidic foods that could throw your pH off balance and cause your kidney’s to go into overdrive:
- Refined sugar
3. Some other acidic foods and drinks to reduce are:
While you don’t need to cut these foods out altogether, remember to eat them in moderation. Your health practitioner can help guide you to determine exactly how much of these foods to eat based on the particular needs of your body.
Remember, your kidneys do a whole lot more than you might think, including filtering waste and keeping your pH levels balanced and in a healthy range. Take care of them with these natural remedies. With a little baking soda and a diet rich in alkaline foods you may be able to prevent or slow down any kidney disease.
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