Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Caring For The Sieve - Your Kidneys

Have you ever thought about what happens to
your food after it is swallowed? for thought, as we strive
towards a healthier body.

Food that is swallowed is
broken down into glucose, fatty acids and amino acids in the stomach and
small intestines and then goes into the blood. The blood travels
through the kidneys so that waste products such as urea, uric acid,
creatinine and excess glucose (sugar) can be removed from the body in
the urine.

Nutrition tips for healthy kidneys

Eat a variety of foods from the six Caribbean foods groups in the appropriate amounts.

Do not eat more protein than the body needs. The normal healthy adult
needs 0.8 to one gram of protein per kilogram of body weight. Eating
more protein than the body needs will result in the kidneys overworking
to get rid of the excess. Adults require enough protein for repair of
cells, making of hormones and maintaining the immune system. Eating more
protein does not mean bigger muscles. It just gives the kidneys more
work to do to make more urine.

Do not eat more carbohydrates-rich
foods than the body needs. Excess carbohydrates in the diet causes the
body to secrete extra insulin to get glucose into cells for energy, if
not used it is stored as fat. In the case of persons with diabetes, the
excess glucose causes sugar in the blood to increase and result in
kidneys overworking to make extra urine to get the excess sugar out of

Do not take multivitamins, especially Vitamins B and C, in
excess of 200 per cent of recommended dietary intake. These vitamins
are water-soluble, not stored by the body. As such, consuming more than
the body needs will cause the kidneys to make extra urine in an effort
to get rid of the excess vitamins.

Drink six to 10 eight-ounce
cups of water every day. This is dependent on your level of physical
activity - more activity means the consumption of more water. Thirst is
an indication of low levels of water in the cells.

Drink water even when
you are not thirsty.

Drink more plain water instead of juice, drinks, coffee and tea in an effort to give kidneys less work to do.

Try, at all times, to reduce intake of prescription and
over-the-counter drugs, by managing all diseases or conditions by making
the appropriate lifestyle changes.

Make healthy food and lifestyle choices for healthier kidneys!

Marsha N. Woolery is a registered dietitian/nutritionist at Fairview
Medical and Dental Center, Montego Bay and adjunct lecturer at Northern
Caribbean University. Email: