How often do you think about your kidneys and all they do for you? Most of us don’t pay enough homage to these exceptional organs that are constantly working on our behalf.
The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, each about the size of a fist. They are located just below your rib cage, on either side of your spine.
They are working hard every single day to cleanse and detox your body by filtering anywhere from 180-200 quarts of blood. They collect excess fluid and waste and excrete them out as 1-2 quarts of urine daily.
This is just one reason it’s so important to stay hydrated, so that you can help them do their job. A healthy bladder of a hydrated person urinates between 6-9 times daily.
The kidneys are crucial organs because they have the job of keeping blood composition stable, which allows the body to function well. When your kidneys are in good shape, they:
Prevent the buildup of wastes and extra fluid in the body
Keep levels of electrolytes stable, such as sodium, potassium, and phosphate
Produce an active form of vitamin D that promotes strong, healthy bones (if you have chronic low vitamin D and you supplement with it, look to tune up kidney health)
Release hormones that help make red blood cells and regulate blood pressure
Most people think the entire organ does the cleansing, but that’s not actually the case. Each kidney is made up of about a million filtering units, which are called nephrons (hence why the kidney doctor is called a nephrologist). Each of the many, many nephrons filters a small amount of blood.
How They Work is Interesting...
The nephrons first filter fluid and waste, while preventing blood cells and large molecules like proteins from passing through. The filtered fluid then goes through a tube that adds needed minerals back into the bloodstream and removes wastes. Urine is the final product.
I tell you this not only because I find it fascinating and hope you do too, but because I hope it gives you reverence for the involuntary near-magical process that occurs in your body multiple times daily.
It’s these kinds of realizations that help us understand how powerful our bodies are (no matter your current state of health). Hopefully then, we’ll want to give back to these organs that do so much for us.
A simple, easy way to love your kidneys is by occasionally cleansing and protecting them with this "kidney love" cocktail.
1 cup unsweetened cranberry juice
¼ cup chlorophyll
¼ cup raw apple cider vinegar
Juice of two freshly squeezed lemons
Optional: 3-5 drops of dark liquid stevia
You can make this and drink it daily for 7-14 days to give your kidneys the boost they deserve. And, this is a GREAT go-to at the very first sign of a bladder or urinary tract infection to help you knock it out fast and hopefully avoid antibiotics.
Why These Ingredients?
Medical research backs up the link between cranberries and kidney health. Cranberries prevent bacteria (mostly e. coli) from attaching to the wall of the bladder. This means that infections cannot stick around inside your body.
Most people know this, but what they don’t know is that a lot like a full-bodied red wine, cranberries are high in tannins. Tannins are an active ingredient in cranberries that work by helping your liver remove excess cholesterol out of your blood while flushing out bacteria and toxins from your kidneys. So, cranberries are a two-for-one and help your other major detoxification system, the liver, to do its job better as well.
And beyond that, research points out that cranberry juice has properties that can help you fight other ailments like the flu, ulcers, and even oral cavities.
Chlorophyll is just a general rock star for health and a health food that often gets overlooked. It has many benefits for the human body well beyond the kidneys: it’s essential to the process of photosynthesis known as “the building block for life”. Chlorophyll contains the trace element of iron (not actually iron, see below), which is helpful for anemia, low energy, and headaches.
“In 1913, Dr. Richard Willstatter, a German chemist found that the chlorophyll molecule is chemically similar to human hemoglobin – the red pigment found in our blood cells, except that its central atom is magnesium, whereas that of human blood is iron. Chlorophyll has an affinity for blood; indeed chlorophyll has been shown to increase oxygen uptake in the blood, which can increase energy, relieve fatigue and improve many blood disorders.”
It also contains vitamin C, inorganic salt, and is alkalizing. The combination of these things allows chlorophyll to assist in toxin removal, especially from the kidneys. Studies show it has kidney-protective properties and may also reduce the risk of kidney stones.
Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
One of the staples in my diet, apple cider vinegar helps detoxify the liver because it helps break down fats. Apple cider vinegar also helps prevent kidney stones from forming and helps remove bad bacteria (e. coli is usually at the root of a urinary tract or bladder infection). So you can see, when you add apple cider vinegar and cranberry juice together, bad bacteria are up against quite a match because they work synergistically together.
Good old-fashioned lemon juice has been shown to increase citrate levels in the urine. Citrate is a known inhibitor of calcium stone disease. This means plain lemon juice is a powerful tool to discourage kidney stones from forming.
You might need this "cocktail" if you:
Are prone to urinary tract infections or bladder infections (or if you’ve had more than 3 in your life)
Have had more than 1 kidney infection in your life
Have chronic low vitamin D levels and supplementation is slow to work or ineffective
Are older than 50
Have high blood pressure
Have a family member who has chronic kidney disease