Kidneys and How Raw Foods Can Help
The kidney is a very misunderstood organ and it can cause a variety of health issues. The most important function of the kidney is to check the quality of your blood so that it can remove any toxins. If you take the time to understand how the kidneys function and what the most common health problems are, you can use raw foods to help.
Understanding the Kidneys
We have two kidneys and they are sometimes referred to as the ‘master chemists’ of the body. They are bean-shaped organs, hence the name kidney bean! You can find them within the abdomen near the middle of your back just above the waistline on each side of your spine. They check the quality of the blood and separate out the harmful substances from the good ones acting as a sort of waste disposal unit.
They regulate blood pressure and filter out excess fluid and waste products from the blood when we urinate. If they become damaged through high blood pressure, diabetes or injury, it can also lead to the heart becoming damaged. Those most at risk are the elderly. The kidneys make sure we have just the right amount of fluids, minerals and other substances, including salt and water in our body. We can manage on one but if both fail wastes and fluids build up and the job they do has to be done mechanically using a dialysis machine.
Common Kidney Problems
The problem the kidneys are facing nowadays is the lack of exercise and unhealthy diets that have both become more common. The worst offenders are of course smoking, drugs and too much alcohol. On the whole we have far too much protein in our diet and the body treats most of this as waste so overworking our kidneys in disposing of it. Instead we should have a high carbohydrate diet, as this is easier on the kidneys. Other toxins we consume too frequently are tea, coffee, cola and alcohol that dehydrate the body. Instead we should as you know, be drinking about two litres of water a day.
Fatty, salty and fried foods are difficult for the kidneys to cope with and today's fast food culture could very well contribute to problems for the youngsters of today as they age. Whereas typically it has been those over 70 who have been getting kidney problems, who knows how early it will start for today's fast food generation?
Exercise is extremely important and all the evidence suggests we should be exercising 30 minutes a day, every day not just at the weekend. To judge whether you are exercising enough, you should be slightly breathless and your heart should be beating faster than normal. If that isn't happening then walk faster or walk uphill, that should do it!
High blood pressure can damage the kidneys and nowadays our lives can be so stressful and busy that this can often go unnoticed in the fast pace we live our lives such that we just think it's normal to be stressed.
Ideally we should all be getting our kidneys regularly monitored because as we have two of them they can carry on performing normally and you may not realise you have a problem looming until they fail. If you do have a problem with your kidneys then you may experience tiredness and shortness of breath when at rest. Sometimes you may even see blood in your urine.
If you have a kidney problem you will have to limit the amount of phosphate in your diet and cut right down on red meat, dairy produce, eggs and fish. If you are already on a raw food diet this won't affect you very much of course.
Raw Foods and How they Can Help
Diet plays a crucial part in preventing kidney problems in the first place. A healthy diet for avoiding problems will be abundant in raw fruits and vegetables. The best raw foods for your kidneys are sprouted legumes (peas or beans).
There are some excellent super foods for the kidneys:
- Black Cherries – Another food to include in your kidney diet is black cherries. If you eat about 25 a day to start with and then maintain about 10-15 a day this is supposed to be really effective for healthy kidney and gallbladder.
- Cranberries – Of course we have all heard about the efficacy of cranberries. These little miracle berries raise the acidity levels in the urine and kill off any bacteria in the urinary tract flushing it out of the body. Apparently cranberry juice is much more effective by a factor of 10. They are also believed to be effective at dissolving kidney stones.
So to prevent kidney problems the best advise would be to drink cranberry juice and include black cherries in your ‘five a day’ vegetables to keep your cholesterol levels low. Whatever you do though, keep up the exercise daily and drink plenty of water.
By TTS Cofounder Botanical Chef Omid Jaffari