Healthy Living And Wellness

Kidney and Liver Health

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A liver, and at least one functioning kidney is required for human survival, making their healthy upkeep very important. This article provides information about each organ and recommendations on how to keep them healthy.

The Kidneys

The kidneys are small fist sized, bean shaped organs. They are located just below the rib cage on each side of the spine. When we consume food and drink to provide the body with nutrients,  this creates waste inside the body. The kidneys filter the body's blood to remove waste via urine. Some 200 liters of blood enter the kidneys via the renal artery every day.

Cleaned blood is returned to the body via the renal vein and waste and fluids as transferred to the bladder for removal from the body. In addition to this the kidneys secrete hormones necessary for healthy living. The kidneys produce erythropoietin which encourage the production of red blood cells, rennin which helps control blood pressure and active vitamin D which assists in the uptake of calcium.

Tips to keep your kidneys healthy:

Keep your cholesterol level below 5.5 and your blood pressure below 130/90. High blood pressure (known as hypertension) can cause kidney disease.

Maintain a healthy body mass index. Obesity poses a significant risk when it comes to kidney disease. Try to do at least 30 minutes of moderate intesity exercise daily and eat a well balanced diet with lots of fruit, vegetables daily.

Do not smoke. Smokers have a much greater risk of kidney disease.

Take preventive measures against getting type 2 diabetes or if you have diabetes manage it well. Diabetes can cause kidney disease.

Avoid taking unnecessary medications, drugs like lithium and cyclosporine in particular can lead to kidney failure.

Drink at least two liters of fluid each day, preferably water. If you don't drink enough water to produce adequate urine it can lead to urinary tract infections which can cause kidney stones to develop.

Consider having your kidney function tested regularly if you feel you are at risk of kidney disease. Kidney function can be reduced to 80-90% before any physical symptoms develop.

The Liver

The liver sits just below the diaphragm on the right hand side of the body. It is the largest internal organ, weighing approximately 3 pounds or 1.5 kilograms. When we breathe, eat and drink we introduce toxins into the body. The main function of the liver is to remove toxins from the body. It filters environmental toxins like cigarette smoke, air pollution, alcohol, drugs and any other toxin that enters the body.

The liver filters the blood from the digestive system before it progresses throughout the body, a healthy liver filters blood at a rate of a liter per minute. The liver balances hormones and produces bile which is necessary for the consumption of vitamins A, D, E and K. The liver also governs the production of cholesterol and has a role in regulating blood sugar levels, digestion and the metabolism.

Tips to keep your liver healthy

There are more then 100 different types of liver disease and many will lead to death without adequate treatment so keeping your liver healthy is a necessary part of life. To keep your liver healthy you need to:

Limit your consumption of alcohol; consume no more than two standard drinks a day. An excess consumption of alcohol can damage the liver.

Avoid usage of unnecessary medication, some medications do not agree with the liver. In addition do not drink alcohol whilst on a course of medication as this will put extra pressure on the liver.

Consider taking milk thistle supplements. Many studies have found that milk thistle can protect the liver from damage.

Reduce your exposure to industrial materials like fertilizers and pesticides. A build up of iron, copper or other toxins can cause the liver to malfunction.

Eat a well balanced healthy diet, low in salt, refined sugar and saturated fats. Eat regularly because not doing so will put the liver under added strain. Also eats lots of fresh foods versus processed foods. Processed foods contain many additives and preservatives which are adding extra toxins which the liver has to process.

Exercise regularly to maintain a healthy body weight. Excess weight can prevent the liver from performing as successfully.

Drink a minimum of eight glasses of water daily, this helps the liver in its filtering process. Filtered water or bottled water without toxins is best.

It has been established that kidney and liver health is a fundamental necessity for healthy living and recommendations on how to keep your liver healthy have been provided. You have the facts, now it's up to you to live in a well balanced manner to keep these organs in good health!

More about this author: Kimberley Heit

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