3 natural protocols for better kidney health
Your two kidneys, located near the middle of your back just below the rib cage, each about the size of your fist, are sophisticated filters. Wastes in blood that result from the normal breakdown of muscle and food would build up in the blood and damage your body if your kidneys did not remove them. Your kidneys process up to 150 quarts of blood a day to filter out about 1 to 2 quarts of waste products, which then flow to your bladder, the holding tank before you visit the bathroom. These organs also play a big role in regulating blood pH levels.
You probably don’t give your precious kidneys a second thought, but you sure would if they started to conk out. Here’s how to treat them right.
1. Drink A Lot of Water
One of the best things you can do for your kidneys is to drink enough water. It’s the first line of defense, even in conventional medicine, to prevent kidney stones.
2. Load Up on Citrus
Citrate is a natural byproduct of your metabolism, and having enough of it in your urine is required to prevent kidney stones. Experts have long known that citric acid, found in citrus juice, can slow kidney stone formation by increasing the excretion of citrate. Orange, lemon, lime, and grapefruit are good choices. In one study, a team from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas found orange juice to be especially effective. Thirteen volunteers (some with a history of kidney stones and some not) drank distilled water for a week, for another week orange juice, and then lemonade for another week, with a three-week interval between each of these weeks.
The results? Orange juice increased urine levels of citrate and reduced crystallization of uric acid and calcium, the most common constituents of kidney stones. Interestingly, lemonade did not increase citrate levels.
Other juices and fruits also show promise. A 2008 paper in Urology concludes that tomato juice may be beneficial for kidney stones. And research shows that melon resulted in an increase in urinary citrate excretion equivalent to orange.
A healthy diet in general is key. An alkaline diet emphasizing vegetables, fruits, and nuts helps to reduce the urinary excretion of calcium, thereby reducing the likelihood of developing kidney stones.
3. Support the Kidneys with Herbs
Tribulis terrestris, well-known as a sexual health tonic, also has kidney-supportive properties, and a particular affinity for the urinary tract. This ancient herb is highly esteemed as a rejuvenative remedy. It is “sweet and cold,” according to Ayurveda, so it is recommended to cool inflammation, especially in maladies related to the urinary tract. It promotes urine flow, soothes the membranes, and promotes circulation. It’s diuretic without being drying to kidney membranes. And research shows it protects kidney tissue and prevents stones. Herbalist and kidney expert David Winston especially recommends it for long-term kidney health. Take 5 grams per day in capsules.
Another standout herb for kidney health is hibiscus, the tasty red tea from the tropics. The pleasant sour taste of this tea is due in large part to its high citric acid content. Recent studies have found hibiscus to reduce kidney destruction, and, like the aforementioned fruits, bump up urinary citrate. A 2016 study looked at hibiscus tea for urinary tract infections and kidney inflammation and found it to be effective. Drink a strongly brewed cup every day.
Did you know…
A 2016 study found hibiscus tea to be effective for urinary tract infections and kidney inflammation.