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10 Tips for Healthy Kidneys

According to traditional Chinese medicine, the most important health care advice concerns our kidneys.

Your kidneys aren’t very big — each is about the size of your fist — but they do important work. They keep you healthy by maintaining just the right balance of water and other substances inside your body.

Unfortunately, if your kidneys start to malfunction, you might not realize it for a long while. Kidney disease usually doesn’t make you feel sick until the problem becomes serious and irreversible. Here are 10 recommendations based on traditional Chinese medicine to keep your kidneys healthy and functioning normally.

1. Foot health

The kidney meridian begins at the bottom of the foot. The foot is vulnerable to cold, so you should pay special attention to keeping your feet warm, such as not sleeping with your feet facing an air conditioner or fan and not walking barefoot for long periods of time. In addition, there are many acupuncture points on the soles of the feet, such as the Yongquan (welling spring) point. The welling spring is the heart of the foot. Every night before going to bed, rub the Yongquan point to effectively nourish your kidneys and stabilize your essence.

2. Regular bowel movements

When stools are not eliminated regularly, they will accumulate in the intestine and gas will build, which will harm the kidneys and result in fatigue, nausea, and vomiting. Therefore, having regular bowel movements helps to maintain kidney health. When it is difficult to pass a stool, use the back of your hands to press against the kidney area to stimulate defecation. Also, when walking, it is good practice to rub the kidney area to stimulate regular bowel movements.

3. Drink plenty of water

Water is the source of life. Insufficient water may increase the burden on the kidneys. Therefore, drinking water regularly plays a very important role in flushing the kidneys.

Insufficient water places a burden on the kidneys. (Image: Dreamstime.com © Iuliia Sedova)

4. Urinate consistently

When the urine stored in the bladder reaches a certain level, it will produce a urinary reflex. If you fail to use the toilet in response, the delay harms the kidneys. Therefore, it is one of the best ways to nourish the kidneys to urinate regularly.

5. Swallow saliva

The saliva in the mouth is divided into two parts: the thin saliva, which is dominated by the spleen, and the thick saliva, which is dominated by the kidneys. You can try an experiment: Once saliva accumulates in the mouth, spit it out. In response, you may feel soreness and fatigue around your waistline. Consequently, swallowing saliva can nourish the kidneys and play a role in protecting their function.

6. Proper diet

There are many foods that can nourish the kidneys. For example, black sesame, black fungus, black rice, black beans, and other black foods are all beneficial to the kidneys. In addition, walnuts, leeks, shrimp, and lamb can also play a role in nourishing the kidneys.

7. Adequate sleep

Adequate sleep plays an important role in the biochemistry of Qi and blood and the maintenance of the kidneys. It is clinically found that many patients with kidney failure have a history of lack of sleep. To cultivate a good sleep habit, go to bed and rise early, and make sure you get 7-8 hours of peaceful sleep.

Adequate sleep plays an important role in kidney health. (Image: Dreamstime.com © Tom Wang)

8. Physical work in moderation

Extreme physical labor, especially heavy lifting, will hurt the qi and kidneys. The truth is that you must practice moderation in all your activities to maintain kidney health.

9. Be wary of drugs

Both Chinese and Western medicines have side effects, and some of them can harm the kidneys if taken regularly. Therefore, you should be vigilant when taking medication, read the instructions carefully, and consult a doctor when taking certain kinds of medication over a long period of time.

10. Exercise

You can maintain kidney health through regular exercise and messaging. Introduce a simple daily exercise such as walking. Also, rub your palms together until they are hot and place them on your lower back and massage up and down until your skin feels warm. Perform this routine 200 times in the morning and evening to promote blood flow in the region of the kidneys.

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  • Emma Lu is an author who specializes in Cultural and Historical myths and stories.

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