The best way to protect your liver and kidneys from harm could start with controlling your high blood pressure.
We’ve all been told to eat healthy foods, get more exercise, and manage our stress in order to keep our bodies healthy. High blood pressure is not always something that we recognize easily. Symptoms can range from none to the occasional dull headache in the morning and a few nosebleeds. That’s why this common health issue has earned the tile of the “silent killer.”
Hypertension or high blood pressure left uncontrolled can lead to more serious issues affecting the overall health of our bodies. High blood pressure puts a person at an elevated risk for a stroke or heart attack. Kidney and liver disease can also cause major complications. Thankfully, you can reach and maintain a healthy blood pressure by applying a few simple changes to your daily habits.
Start by setting dietary and lifestyle goals that you can easily achieve in order to encourage the addition of new goals every few weeks. Begin to source locally grown fruits and vegetables that are harvested seasonally to ensure freshness. When possible, buy organic produce to reduce exposure to harmful fertilizers and pesticides.
Increase your daily servings of green leafy, nutrient-dense vegetables such as spinach, kale, and romaine. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, and cabbage are also great additions to your diet. Eat them steamed or pair with hummus and munch on them raw for an easy snack. Bananas and sweet potatoes are naturally sweet and high in potassium, a necessary mineral for electrolyte support, encouraging proper hydration. This is important because increasing hydration can help prevent hypertension.
Eat at least 3 servings per day of fiber-rich foods such as steel-cut oats and brown rice to help reduce blood pressure. Healthy fats such as locally and organically raised beef, poultry, and fish are excellent additions to your diet, as well as cold-pressed coconut, avocado, and extra virgin olive oil. Obtain your Omega 3’s through nuts and seeds such as almonds, cashews, brazil nuts, and pumpkin seeds.
Eating for Kidney and Liver health
The foods that support a healthy blood pressure are also like those that support healthy liver and kidney function. Choose fresh produce and meats instead of the processed foods commonly found on grocery store shelves and at some restaurants. Start cooking from scratch and include healthy fats. Baking, broiling, grilling, and roasting foods will increase the bio-availably of the nutrients. For someone trying to prevent further damage, it is necessary to eat the right amounts of protein to meet your body’s needs without overtaxing the kidneys. When the body uses protein (animal or vegetable) it also produces waste; that waste must be processed and eliminated by the kidneys. Cruciferous vegetables are some of the best choices to support liver function. Foods like garlic, onions, broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower are great choices. Eat them raw or steamed for maximum benefit.
Herbal and Supplement support for Kidney Disease
Herbal and vitamin supplements are a growing alternative for improving kidney function. Vitamin C and B complex are among the most popular. Vitamin C has been known to help clear uratic stones formed in the kidney by uratic acid crystal deposits. Just be sure to buy good-quality vitamin supplements. You can also increase C naturally through eating fruits like oranges, grapes, and lemons.
Vitamin B’s, including B6, have been identified as an important measure in preventing stones from forming. Lemon juice and apple cider vinegar are acids that may help prevent the formation of uratic stones. The potassium in lemon juice aids in calcium-carbonate-production neutralizing acids. L-Carnitine is an amino acid produced in the kidneys to help conjugate fats in the liver into usable energy. If you suffer from kidney dysfunction, a health professional may advise supplements to ensure proper functioning of the kidney/liver relationship.
Cleansing the Kidneys
If you are concerned about kidney disfunction, a health professional may recommend cleansing the kidneys through herbal treatments. There are many products on the shelves of grocery and health food stores, so please seek the advice of a professional to recommend what is best for you. Cranberry juice is one of the most popular choices. This easy to buy juice has many favorable side effects such as helping to soothe an irritated urinary tract and preventing kidney issues. Its antioxidant properties promote a normal response to inflammation and deter harmful organisms.
Ginkgo Biloba and Horsetail are also antioxidants that promote enzyme production to counteract harmful toxins and increase urination to flush kidneys. Hydrangea, Marshmallow, Celery, Dandelion root, and Goldenrod are natural gentle diuretics encouraging the removal of waste. Hydrangea may act as a solvent to smooth jagged edges of stones and help the body use calcium to deter the formation of stones. Juniper berries are an important medicinal plant. They provide a plethora of health benefits including protecting the kidney cells from harmful toxins and promoting healthy levels of LDL cholesterol.
Proper Liver Support
The liver is one of the largest organs in the body—and ensuring proper function supports the entire body. The thousands of enzymes produced in the liver contribute to the function of the eyes, heart, brain, joints, kidneys, and sex organs. If the liver is impaired this can cause metabolic stress in an individual. Some early signs of dysfunction can be fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, trouble concentrating, and jaundice. Licorice root has been shown to support a heathy liver and may increase enzyme production. Bile is one enzyme that is produced in the liver; it aides in the digestion of the fats we consume. Herbs like dandelion root, lemon juice, green tea, and artichokes promote of this production of bile and help support kidneys. It’s easy to see how these two organs work hand in hand to keep our bodies running smoothly.
Herbal support for a Fatty Liver
Depending on your lifestyle, it may help, once or twice a year, to flush your liver of the toxins that could be causing you distress. Common ingredients found in liver support or cleansing products are Boro Bark, Milk Thistle seed, Chanca Piedra, Greater Celidine, Chicory Root, Dandelion Root, Organic Turmeric, Peppermint, and Organic Yellowdock root. All these ingredients support liver function, as well as pancreatic and gall bladder function, stimulating bile production and increasing the elimination of foreign particles in the liver.
Chicory root has become a popular replacement for coffee and has beneficial effects on the gall bladder and kidneys and can be a digestive aid. It can also relieve constipation and indigestion along with symptoms of depression and headaches. Finally, try adding some Organic Turmeric. This powerhouse root is known for its amazing ability to generate new cell growth in the liver, flush toxins from the body, and reduce inflammation overall. This may prove to be the best addition to your daily routine yet!
Medicinal Plant and Herbal Warnings
While I am a huge proponent of alternative medicines such as herbs, teas, and the use of topical oils and lotions, it is necessary to warn that they are powerful and should be used with care. Be sure to seek the advice of a well-trained nutritionist who has studied the strength of these herbs and is knowledgable about how they are sourced and the history surrounding their use to best suit individual needs.