Kidney Problems: How to Improve Kidney Functioning?
Kidney problems are associated with dialysis which is a last resort option to balance, and cleanse your body and allow for proper functioning of the kidneys. Kidneys act as regulators of the body, they balance and measure the right amount of nutrients as per the body's needs. When we fall sick we often resort to food to cure us. Likewise, we look at which foods can improve the functioning of your kidney. Dr. Ravi Bansal, Senior Consultant Nephrologist with Pushpawati Singhania Research Institute (PSRI Hospital) explains how to improve the functioning of your kidneys.
Dr. Ravi says, “Foods do not directly lead to any kidney disease OR IMPROVE KIDNEY FUNCTIONS as kidney functions are pretty complex. But, indirectly, they can contribute to risk factors. Diabetes and hypertension are common risk factors for kidney disease.” He goes on to explain, “Diet rich in salt contributes to hypertension. And uncontrolled blood pressure can lead to kidney damage. Similarly, high fat intake and a sedentary lifestyle contributes to high cholesterol levels and increases risk of diabetes and hypertension.”
The Nephrologist doesn’t leave you hanging, he breaks down what you can do to avoid kidney problems and ways to improve the functioning of your kidneys. He says, “If you do not have any kidney disease the best you can do is:
- Avoid extra salt and fatty foods.
- Avoid unnecessary over the counter medications and pain killers.
- The amount of salt content in fast food especially pizzas is unimaginable (best to reduce the intake of fast food).
- Drink at least 2 to 3 litre water per day. Adequate water intake helps in reducing the concentrations of harmful substances in the blood and urine.
- Avoid heavy protein intake in form of protein supplements.”
If you already face kidney problems, Dr. Ravi suggests change in diet, “If you already have some kidney disease then you need to be more cautious as the kidney looses its ability to balance the extra chemicals in the diet like sodium, potassium, phosphorus and intrinsic substances like urea creatinine and uric acid. Thus diet rich in these substances has to be avoided. This amounts to avoiding all juices, most fruits and dry fruits, limiting the amount of liquids you can take as per urine output. Protein intake also needs to be reduced.”
Hence to avoid damaging your kidneys and to improve the functioning of your kidneys, Dr. Ravi lays down some rules and parameters to following to prevent kidney disease. Firstly you need to spot kidney problems, “The problem lies in the fact that early kidney disease goes undiagnosed and thus worsens. High blood pressure and swelling of legs are common early signs of kidney disease. These are often missed or even if identified no tests are done to see kidney function.”
He advises, “Low sodium salts are commonly promoted to be used in high BP patients. This can do more harm as many of these patients have undiagnosed underlying kidney disease and this salt contains lot of potassium instead of sodium and results in very high potassium levels in blood causing risk to patient’s life. ALWAYS REMEMBER: whatever you put into your mouth – if it gets absorbed in the body will ultimately come out in the urine. In this process the kidney can get damaged if you eat substances that can harm the kidney. Normal naturally available vegetables and food stuffs do not generally contain harmful substances but synthetic processed food, chemical additives and non prescription unknown concoctions used by unscrupulous persons can contain heavy metals and pesticides which can damage the kidney.”
Surprising revelations for those who prefer low sodium salt in their diets! The key to healthy living, as always, is to eat in moderation, be active and be happy.
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