Kidney Health


Since my step mother is out of town with the digital camera, my blogs for the next few weeks will be lacking in pictures and mostly informative. When she gets back from her trip I'm going to dive into some recipes...

but for now, lets talk about kidneys!

The Like most organs, the kidneys are vital to survival. The main purpose of the kidney's is to filter blood into something called "plasma ultrafiltrate," more commonly known as urine. Yes, "plasma ultrafiltrate" is a long winded technical term for pee. The kidneys are also essential in maintaining acid-base balance and blood pressure.

So what are the kidneys?

The kidneys are two well.... kidney shaped organs in the lower abdomen that lie on either side of the spine. They are fed by the renal arteries and are drain by the renal veins. (renal means kidneys)

The kidneys have two main parts, the renal cortex on the outside and the renal medulla on the inside. The renal cortex is where ultrafiltration takes place. Ultrafiltration is not unlike a reverse osmosis drinking water system. In a reverse osmosis drinking water system water is forced through a semi permeable membrane, and what makes it through is just pure water. The kidneys work on the same method.

Nephrons are the main filter of the kidneys. They do the filtering, reabsorb anything that can still be used, regulate blood volume, and regulate blood pressure.

In the Nephron, very tiny blood vessels run up against something called the Bowman's Capsule. This is a sack filled with fluids from the blood are collected. The Bowman's Capsule allows the passage of water, ions and small molecules into the sack. The Bowman's Capsule The Bowman's Capsule doesn't allow large proteins through however. If it did, we would be in poor shape, as we would be peeing out our platelets! The ultrafiltrate leaving the Bowman's Capsule is very much like plasma and it travels on to become urine.

So what can you do to keep your kidneys healthy?

It is generally accepted that they key to good kidney health is drinking lots of water. I drink almost a gallon a day. Lay off the damn soft drinks. They are so bad for you. I don't believe people still drink them. Even diet is not ok. You need good clean water. Look into buying a water filter. There is a company called "Berkey" out there that make fabulous water filters. I hope to get one soon myself.

Acidic fruits also help the kidneys, especially is you are prone to kidney stones. Unsweetened cranberry juice, lemon juice, and apple juice all have been said to help the kidneys. A great way to drink water is with a squirt of FRESH SQUEZZED lemon or lime juice.

Asparagus is believed to tone the kidneys. I recommend juicing it and drinking it.

As far as specific vitamins go, if your kidneys aren't already compromised, you should be be getting them all. Vitamins A,C,D,E,and K are important, as are the B vitamins. There is evidenc e that Thiamine can restore kidney function in diabetics.

I hope you learned a little something about our filtering friends, the kidneys.

If you want to know more about kidney's and blood pressure I suggest this : This is me and my life as a Midwife, Mum and Wife: Review of blood pressure Part 2

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