ACCORDING to the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, kidney failure is the seventh leading cause of death among Filipinos and some 30,000 to 40,000 patients undergo dialysis every year. This is probably due to the fact that Filipinos, in general, love salty food and have excessive salt in the body.
It’s most unfortunate, considering that the kidneys, which are two bean-shaped multi-functional powerhouse organs of the urinary system, are very important. They expel waste from the body, balance body fluids, release hormones that regular blood pressure, and control the production of red blood cells.
It is therefore important to take good care of the kidneys, in particular, and the urinary tract, in general. To do so, Old Orchard’s resident U.S. based nutritionist Amy Bragagini, MS, RD, CSO, offers the following tips:
1. Eat healthy and exercise regularly.
Diabetes and high blood pressure cause most of the kidney problems. When blood pressure is high, blood vessels stretch to allow blood to flow more easily. The stretching eventually injures and weakens the blood vessels, impairing their ability to clean blood properly, including those in the kidneys. That’s why it is always best to follow healthy eating habits such as limiting intake of sodium (2,500mg) and sugar, and controlling weight and blood pressure through exercise. Also consider adding calcium-filled food (milk, yogurt, calcium fortified cereals, etc.) to your diet. Do not, however, take calcium supplements as an alternative to natural food sources, as it can result in the formation of kidney stones when taken in excess, and that’s another problem to deal with.
2. Do not smoke.
Smoking slows down the flow of blood to the kidneys, impairing its proper function and increasing the risk of kidney cancer by 50%.
3. Limit your over-the-counter medications.
The kidneys can only take so much, so do not over-medicate. Overmedicating can create high toxin levels in the body, posing great burden on the kidneys. Best to follow prescriptions and doctors’ instructions.
4. Have regular checkups.
If diabetes or high blood pressure runs in your genes, it is always advisable to have your kidneys checked regularly. A creatinine level higher than 1.2 for women and 1.4 for men is a sure sign of kidney problem.
5. Stay properly hydrated.
“Fluid intake is another important step to help lower risk of kidney stone formation and urinary tract infection,” says Bragagini. So, while still healthy and not suffering from any form of kidney disease, you should make it a habit to consume enough water and other fluids. At least two liters of fluid per day should be enough. Fluids in the body help dilute the urine and flush out toxins.
Aside from water, Bragagini prescribes pairing meals with cranberry juice to help reduce instances of irritation in the urinary tract. After all, cranberries are packed with Vitamin C and is a source of Flavonoid and Phytonutrient contents called Hippuric Acid and Proanthocyanidin. The latter are power-packed components that prevent UTI-causing bacteria from sticking to the walls of the bladder and urinary tract, thus preventing damage to the kidneys.
“The most important thing that you can do to keep your kidneys safe is to take care of your body to reduce your chances of developing diseases that put a strain on your kidneys. Prevention is the best, so consult your physician or dietitian regularly,” says Bragagini.
Old Orchard Cranberry Juice comes in three variants: Cranberry, Apple Cranberry, and Cranberry Raspberry. There are also diabetic-friendly variants that contain 75% less sugar and contains only 20 calories—Healthy Balance Cranberry and Healthy Balance Apple Cranberry. For more tips on the health benefits of cranberry juice and more information on kidney problems and solutions, visit oldorchard.com.
Old Orchard is exclusively distributed by Fly Ace Corporation and is available in leading supermarkets and drugstores nationwide.