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Your Kidneys: A Hard-Working Pair

Por Lic. Isabel C. Rodríguez R.* -
Your Kidneys: A Hard-Working Pair

If we’re concerned about our health, we avoid excess fat in order to take care of our hearts, stop smoking to prevent lung damage, limit our alcohol intake to take care of our liver, and avoid eating too much seasoning to protect our stomachs. We take all these precautions to preserve our wonderful organs. Thanks to them, our bodies run like perfect little factories, where the work of many employees (the organs) comes together to allow us to enjoy life.

As a result of this constant activity, our bodies generate waste. This is discarded so it doesn’t harm us. Taking care of this waste is the noble mission of the kidneys, a pair of organs that work non-stop. We, more often than not, ignore or forget them. Hardly the size of a fist, our kidneys play different roles in our bodies. Have you ever asked yourself how these organs work? Our kidneys perform somewhat sophisticated tasks. In simple terms, kidneys work like filters through which many liters of blood pass each day; blood that contains waste products from the body’s cells.

Day and night, through a sophisticated system, these twins work to preserve the body’s water, electrolytes (sodium, potassium), and other substances that play important roles in our bodies. They also form urine with the toxic products and excess water. In addition to working as a filter, our kidneys produce eritropoyetine, a substance that regulates the production of red blood cells in our bodies and converts vitamin D into its active form.

When our kidneys don’t function properly, the waste products accumulate in the blood and the person may become gravely ill.
Kidney disease often manifests itself only when it has reached a very advanced stage. Always do a urine test when getting your routine medical exam, especially if you have diabetes. Diabetics have a higher likelihood of suffering from kidney disease.

If you have any of the following symptoms, you should immediately go to a kidney specialist:

  • Increase in the number of times you urinate daily, especially during the night
  • Burning sensation or difficulty urinating
  • Edema (swelling) of the eyelids or feet
  • Pain in your lower back
  • Changes in urine coloring

During National Kidney Month in March, we must remember that our nutrition can help us keep these noble organs healthy.

MyDiet™ would like to give you some practical tips to help your kidneys:

  • Drink enough liquids. Drink 8 glasses of liquid a day, including at least 4 glasses of water. The other 4 glasses can contain juice, soup, teas or milk. Take in at least 2 to 3 servings of dairy products a day, preferably skim dairy products.
  • Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink liquids. Get used to carrying a water bottle. Take it with you everywhere you go. Make it a habit to drink water regularly.
  • Eat proteins in moderation. An excess of high-protein foods (food of animal origin, primarily meat, chicken, eggs, fish or cheese, among others) in our diet may overload our kidneys. An average serving of proteins should not exceed 90 grams (3 ounces).
  • Avoid too much vitamin C. If you take high doses of vitamin C, you may develop oxalate stones.
  • Exercise on a regular basis. When you exercise, your bones release less calcium, which accumulates in your kidneys.

Remember that these days, thanks to science, you can help other people by donating organs. Kidney transplants have helped many people around the world have a healthy and happy life. If you keep your kidneys in good health, think about the possibility of becoming a donor.

*Nutritionist from the MyDiet™ Team


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