Keep your Kidneys and Adrenals Healthy
The adrenal are small glands located above our kidneys. They produce over fifty different hormones that regulate our fluids and energy production. The kidneys receive, filter and balance your blood, uses up to 25% of the oxygen you breathe and convert vitamin D to its active form. Kidneys and adrenals work closely together and their health depend on each other. They are also closely related to our nervous system (because of the hormones they produce and the regulating properties they have). Because of this, stress conditions depend a lot on our adrenal and kidney health, and not just on our nervous system.
Not taking care of your kidneys and adrenals have many implications, like urinary infections, obesity, heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure. So it´s very important to take care of them!
Chronic stress is becoming more popular every day because of our modern lifestyles. Stress from work, from our families and from traffic are everyday food for most people. The common way people deal with this stress is consuming great amounts of coffee, alcohol, nicotin, refined and processed sugar snacks and drinks and all kinds of pills. On top of that, we “relax” watching TV until late hours and sleeping less than we should. This leads to imbalances in our hormone production, which in turn manifests as fatigue, mood swings and exhaustion (and a complete disruption of our body´s natural cycles and rhythms).
One of the hormones that our adrenal glands produce is cortisol which is over-produced when our stress levels rise too high. This elevated cortisol levels should only last for short periods of time, like a signal for the body to relax. But, because of our modern lifestyles, our stress levels remain high, so our cortisol levels remain high and that interferes with many of our body´s functions like our digestion, sleep, hormone production and immunity.
Cortisol is natural and essential for our living (it protects our cells, regulates our blood sugar, blood pressure and immune system…), but in excess, it interferes with other important hormones, like sexual (testosterone, estrogen, progesterone) and thyroid hormones. We need to find a general balance or our sex drive, libido and reproductive health and our weight and blood pressure will get severely affected.
Eventually, we reach what´s known as adrenal fatigue and instead of producing cortisol, our adrenals overflow adrenaline, causing nervous breakdowns (which actually is adrenal fatigue, the nerves don´t “break”) that can develop into other health conditions.
The good news is that adrenal dysfunctions can be healed.
First, you need to lower your stress levels. This can be difficult if you are a workaholic or if you have many responsibilities, but in order to heal, you need to take time off.
Practicing meditation, even if it´s just five minutes a day, will go a long way. Breathe deeply when you realize your emotional responses to stress are overwhelming.
Get away from the computer, TV, cell phone and every other electromagnetic thing that contributes silently to your stress levels.
Spend time under the sun, in nature as much as possible.
Second, eating healthier and adjusting when we eat and how we eat is very important to relieve stress and give our adrenal glands and kidneys a break. Timing your meals, regulating how much you eat, taking time to chew and digest will regulate your blood sugar and that will regulate your cortisol production. Get as much fresh organic whole produce as you can and avoid refined sugar/wheat/dairy snacks and toxic animal products and non-organic products that might contain heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides, hormones, vaccines and antibiotics.
Some foods recommended are bell peppers, garlic, onions, berries, grapes, cabbage, asparagus, cauliflower, celery, olive oil and water melon.
Remember that animal products overloads your kidneys, so if you aren´t vegetarian, reduce your meat and animal foods. You should also stop taking any over the counter pills!
Start your day with a healthy breakfast and eat more during the day and less in the evenings.
You probably already know you shouldn´t eat any refined table salt. But if you use a little bit of unrefined sea salt or mountain salt, it will help balance your hormone production.
And get a good water filter so you can drink plenty of good quality water every day! Very important part! You need lots of good quality liquids and including some green tea, fruit and green juices and smoothies will help keep your kidneys healthy.
Third, exercise on a regular basis. Something as simple as a 30 minute walk after lunch is a great start. But, the idea is to try to upgrade your workout level progressively. In order to get most benefits, you need to work-out harder.
Forth, get some good rest!