You may not think about your kidneys very often, but these little organs are essential for life. When all is going well, the kidneys help expel waste and toxins from the body. But when something goes wrong, kidney problems can lead to dramatic health issues. Even non-life threatening problems like kidney stones make themselves first known by acute pain.
So how can someone support their healthy kidneys? Like other body organs, the kidneys benefit from exercise, healthy diet, and lots of water. But what are some specific dietary additions you can choose to give your kidneys the support they may need?
Herbs and Kidney Health
There are many plants and herbs that appear to be strongly associated with kidney health. We’ll give you a quick rundown of these plants and herbs, as well as some suggestions for how to incorporate them into your diet.
Ginger – If you don’t eat ginger, you’re potentially missing out. Our bodies love ginger, especially our kidneys. In the link in the second paragraph, you can see how ginger has potential benefits to support healthy kidney function in a number of ways, including effects that will potentially benefit other organs in the body.
If you’re not a fan of eating ginger because of its intense flavor, don’t worry. Candied versions are available and can be made into a homemade chai, or used as a key ingredient in numerous recipes (from curries to cakes).
Dandelion – The common dandelion has been used as medicine for thousands of years. What we sometimes look at as a weed is one of the first food supplies for bees, and may provide potentially beneficial medicinal effects on the kidneys. Dandelion extracts have a diuretic effect that increases the amount of urine passed from the body. Urine production is normally reduced when the kidneys aren’t healthy, so the natural effects of dandelion (and especially dandelion root, and its extracts) may help.
Green Tea – Diet and lifestyle factors contribute to when and how kidney stones form. Green tea has been studied for the potential to disrupt the formation of stones. Green tea drinking cultures appear to have a lower occurrence of these issues.
Parsley – This leafy green herb is packed with nutrition, but it may have specific benefits for the kidneys. Like dandelion, parsley is a diuretic. In proper doses, diuretics help kidneys do their thing more efficiently. Italian parsley is a delicious alternative to the more familiar curly parsley. It can be happily incorporated into salads, meals, and smoothies. You can use it as a dried spice or a quick flavor dash to many dishes.
Our kidneys do an important job in our bodies and are therefore worthy of our attention and care. Give your kidneys the gift of health by eating like you love them. The above natural plants and herbs can also be enjoyed in supplemental form.
However you get your kidney supporting foods, make sure they are part of your life. These foods don’t just affect your kidneys. They likely have positive implications for the health of your entire body and mind!