Be kind to your kidneys, for the pair are vital anatomical organs that filter waste and extra water out of your blood and they produce your body’s urine fluid. Just how important is the duo (two kidneys)? Together it’s estimated that your kidneys filter 120-150 quarts of blood, which yields 1-2 quarts of urine, collectively of waste and extra fluid. In addition, your kidneys assist in controlling blood pressure and the production of hormones for your body. Imagine the waste that accumulates in your body if your kidneys are damaged. Nasty, right?

The kidneys are located on the left and right side of your back between the spine. If you have ever heard someone say my back hurts and then an older person will say drink more water or have you been drinking enough water. This associated back pain can occur for several reasons, and to name a few, kidney disease, kidney conditions and/or kidney infections. Along with other risk factors, dehydration can increase the risk of a person developing kidney stones. Kidney stones are minerals that form in one or both kidneys leading to a very painful experience when passing urine. Furthermore, a urinary tract infection (bladder infection) if gone untreated can move to the upper urinary system which the kidneys are components of. The kidneys function outstandingly better in the presence of the abundance of water. There is a heavier burden upon the fluid balance regulation of the kidneys when less water is consumed.

Greater risk factors for developing kidney disease are: diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and/or family history of kidney failure. If you have any of the above risk factors it’s highly recommended that you check your kidneys with a glomerular filtration rate test (GFR) or a urine test for albumin (protein) by a medical provider.

Maintain a balanced healthy diet to prevent kidney disease or manage kidney disease:

Eat less than 2,300mg of sodium per day

Eat less packaged/process/convenience foods

Use sodium free seasonings

Check nutrition food labels, select foods with a Daily Value (DV) of less than 20% sodium

Rinse canned fruit/vegetables/beans/fish with water before cooking or eating

Eat protein in small portions

Chicken, fish, meat, eggs, dairy, beans, nuts, grains

Eat heart healthy foods

Grill, broil, bake, roast, stir-fry

Limit fried foods

Cook with small amounts of canola oil instead of butter

Trim fat off meat

Remove skin from poultry before eating

Maintain proper hydration:

Drink half of your weight in ounces of water. Example: 160-lb. person, drink 80 ounces (10 cups) of water daily.

Cheat tip: you get 20% of fluid from daily food you eat. Watermelon, strawberries, cabbage, celery, spinach, pickles and lettuce have a high water content.

In a more drastic state of kidney disease medical providers will limit phosphorus and potassium intake. An abundance of phosphorus and potassium in the kidneys can cause weak bones, muscle cramps, heart beat issues and muscle weakness. To limit the minerals eat more fresh fruit/vegetables, breads, pasta, rice, apples, peaches and rice milk. Avoid eating meats, poultry, fish, beans, colas, bran cereals and dairy as they are high in phosphors. Avoid oranges, bananas, potatoes, tomatoes, brown/wild rice, dairy foods, whole wheat bread/pasta and nuts/beans as they are high in potassium. So be kind to your kidneys by maintaining a balanced healthy diet with proper hydration.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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