Once again you’ve overslept, and another day begins in stress. There’s only time to grab a doughnut, preferably jelly-filled with a coconut glaze, and some extra strong coffee. Your calendar is packed with meetings, meetings and more meetings, so to stay alert you drink a 12-ounce can of soda during each of them. Your mind can’t help but daydream about the juicy, thick steak that awaits you when you get home. Who has some aspirin? Your regular stash is gone, and wow! Your head is pounding from meeting overload! Eleven o’clock pm rolls around way too fast—you’re not even tired now, so you pop a few sleeping pills with the high hopes that tonight you’ll fall asleep before 2:00 in the morning.
Is this fictional scene even remotely reminiscent of your real life? If so, your kidneys are in need of some serious TLC.
Perfect Environment for Kidneys
Our kidneys filter the blood that circulates through our bodies, separating out water and waste products of metabolism from the blood and excreting them through the urinary tract. It’s a huge undertaking, and the kidneys require an alkaline environment in order to do the job right. The diet, stress levels, and medications described above all contribute to a body chemistry that is highly acidic, and one that is completely unfavorable to kidney health.
- Fluid intake—Kidneys require at least 8 glasses of pure water per day to help them flush waste from your body. Make it your rule of thumb that fluids equal water, and nothing else—not coffee, not beer, not soda, not even juice. You certainly can drink other beverages, but they do not count toward your daily intake of 8 glasses of fluids. "Water" is the watchword.
- Sodium—Excess levels of sodium (salt) cause fluid retention and are counterproductive to kidney health. You don’t have to avoid it entirely but try not to shake salt onto anything.
- Protein—Meat and cheese not only create an acidic environment that is hard on the kidneys, they cause the body to excrete calcium, causing excessive amounts of it to pass through the kidneys, and this increases the potential for stones. Limit your consumption of protein from meat and cheese, giving preference to fish and vegetable sources of protein (soy or a combination of beans & rice). Actually, whey powder is the perfect way to consume protein.
- Sugar—Limit or avoid refined sugar and products that contain it. Sugar stimulates the pancreas to release insulin, which in turn causes extra calcium to be excreted in the urine.
Help for Overworked Kidneys
Six supplements offer significant help for your kidneys as detailed below. Keep in mind however, like most systems of the body, the kidneys really respond best to a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables plus 8 glasses of pure water.
- Aloe Vera Juice—Aloe is very cleansing to the body, and the kidneys love it! Mix up a health cocktail from the juice of one squeezed lemon, an ounce of aloe vera juice, 6 ounces of bottled water and a teaspoon of honey (for sweetening) to keep the kidneys performing at their very best. Lemon juice and aloe vera provide noteworthy levels of citric acid or citrate. When citrate binds to calcium, it prevents this mineral from massing together to form stones.
- Vitamin B-6—Helps prevent the formation of calcium oxalate.
- Magnesium—Lowers urinary oxalate, which is a mineral salt.
- Uva Ursi— Herbal support that benefits the entire urinary tract including the kidneys, bladder and urethra.
- Parsley—Increases the flow of urine, thereby assisting the kidneys to flush the body of wastes.
- Chlorella—Helps maintain an alkaline environment in which the kidneys thrive.