In our day to day life, we don’t often think about our vital organs. And sometimes that’s a good thing, because when they start drawing attention to themselves, it usually means we are dealing with a health problem that cannot be ignored.
I got a wake-up call from my kidneys last week.
It began with a piercing pain in the abdomen, and a burning sensation while urinating. It did seem to be a simple UTI (Urinary Tract Infection), but I knew that certain other kidney ailments–particularly stones–can have the same symptoms.
Thankfully, all was found to be well with my kidneys, but the episode got me thinking about their health. Reading up on renal health, I learned some important facts:
- High blood pressure and diabetes can lead to kidney dysfunction.
- Prolonged use of certain drugs such as ibuprofen and aspirin can cause kidney problems.
- A high-protein diet can lead to kidney stones.
There are, of course, hereditary factors too, but I have listed only those that we can control through lifestyle changes. Our daily diet plays a key role in regulating our health, so I began by studying fruits and vegetables that can help protect and heal the kidneys.
Before long, one particular fruit had my attention: grapes.
Now even if your kidneys are working quietly away as you read this, do take a pause to consider their health. According to the National Kidney Foundation, more than 20 million Americans, one in nine adults, have chronic kidney disease, and an additional 20 million others are at increased risk. More importantly, kidney disease sneaks up on you, sometimes over several years.
While grapes are loaded with health benefits ranging from skin care to heart health, they are also extremely good for your kidneys. A Tunisian research study published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism states that compounds in grape seed and skin extract have been found to reverse kidney damage.
Particularly exciting is the fact that grapes are seen to have a key role in treating kidney disease that is induced by high-fat diets, which are one of the most common causes of kidney problems. Researchers hope that with these findings, grape seed and skins may become recommended as a preventative supplement to patients at high risk of obesity-induced kidney disease.
What makes grapes such a powerful kidney-caring fruit? Scientists who led the study explain that each part of the grape is a concentrated source of antioxidants, which protect the body against the damaging effects of oxidative stress and neutralize cell-killing free radicals.
The online health journal all4naturalhealth suggests that any variety of organically cultivated fresh grapes is suitable for cleansing the liver and kidneys, by flushing out waste products such as uric acid.
The National Kidney Foundation recommends a daily consumption of 15 grapes for maintaining good kidney health as part of a balanced diet. Try a tall glass of fresh grape juice without added water and sugar, or try adding whole grapes to your smoothie. Either way, grapes included in the regular diet help aid in kidney cleansing and detox.
Let me conclude with a common Chinese tongue twister, listed on California Table Grape Commission’s website:
“Chi putao bu tu putao pi“ means “When you eat grapes, don‘t spit out the skin.“
As the commission’s site points out, we would be wise to follow this piece of advice. Many of grape’s phytonutrients are found in the skin of the fruit — in addition to the flesh and seeds.
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*Image of “grapes” via Shutterstock