This holiday season you will likely party hardy, eat and drink many things from your “naughty” list, get a lot less sleep than you usually do, and maybe be a bit (a lot?) stressed out by all of your holiday “to do’s” and family gatherings.
It is a good time to remember to take care of your body, and in particular, your body’s own natural “detox” system, your kidneys and bladder…
Because your overall ***SPARKLE*** reflects your kidney health!
“The kidneys and bladder govern the water element and are the dominant organ pair this season,” says Sara Avant Stover.
The kidneys filter your blood and keep it clean, essential for maintaining balance in the body while your bladder receives, stores and then eliminates urine, one of the by-products of purified blood from the kidneys.
The bladder is considered to be the storehouse of emotions and the kidneys hold your vitality and longevity.
Sara suggests you give yourself a good long look in the mirror. What do you see?
Is there an unexplored sadness or dullness? How does your skin look? Note the color and tone of your skin and the luster of your hair because these too are an indication of overall kidney health.
Your kidneys and bladder filter out all the toxins and wastes from your system…and we KNOW you will have more than usual over the holidays! Your body’s miracle detox system keeps you healthy in other ways, too:
- Your kidneys release a hormone that regulates blood pressure
- They keep your blood’s minerals in balance (the sodium, potassium, etc.)
- They help control the alkaline/acid balance of your body, as well as activating Vitamin D to maintain healthy bones
- Your kidneys are also associated with the ear and hearing
If you’re kidneys are out of balance you might tend to gossip more, be consumed by negative thinking, have phobias or fear dominates your emotional landscape.
A healthy bladder provides:
- Storage for your urine, allowing urination to be voluntary and infrequent; no-one wants the anxiety, discomfort and inconveniences of incontinence or an over-active bladder
- Comfortable voiding, without itching or pain
- More complete sexual enjoyment, without the discomfort associated with urinary tract infections or other bladder issues
So how do you keep your ***sparkle*** over the holidays? Here are suggestions to strengthen kidney energy:
- Keep your kidneys warm – the cold weather can weaken their strength and vibrancy – grab yourself a kidney warmer
- Don’t go outside with wet hair
- Improve your receptivity – being able to listen well to others and to your own emotions, self-soother or “mother” yourself
- Practice deep relaxation and reflection
- Spend more time alone to rest and reflect
- Move through your fear by asking yourself these powerful questions to get more connected to your heart:
- What inspires me?
- What do I love?
- What do I stand for?
- What legacy do I want to leave?
- Contemplate your relationship to your emotions and to water – do you tend to go with the flow or try to control life?
- Conserve resources: electricity, fuel, water, money and your energy
Sara points out that “…strong kidney energy shows up as willpower and ambition, unhindered by hesitation.”
And here are suggestions to strengthen both kidney and bladder health:
- Adequate hydration: drink half your body weight (in ounces) per day (if you weigh 150 lbs, drink 75 ounces a day; more if exercising). Water helps flush toxins from your body and prevents infection. Note that “specialty” waters may contain sodium, potassium or other minerals…some of which can make your kidneys work harder…check the labels, and maybe go with filtered tap instead!
- Get moving: If you sit a lot at work, fluid can actually build up in your lower extremities…and then when you go to bed, that fluid can cause an active bladder overnight. Go for a walk, or raise your legs while at your desk. Get a stand-up desk extension.
- Empty your bladder when it is full! This sounds simple, but how many of us hold it while we tend to our busy lives? When you don’t go when you need to harmful bacteria can cause Urinary Tract Infections.
- Cranberry-up your favorite mixed drink (or better yet, skip the booze and stick with the berry!) Cranberry may keep harmful bacteria from sticking to the walls of your urinary tract, thus preventing infections; it also makes your urine more acidic, which keeps the bacteria away. Stick with unsweetened, try adding mint and sparkling water with a few drops of stevia.
- Cut back on sugar. This is key for many health reasons, but diabetes is one of the root causes of kidney failure…so opt for water/cranberry/herbal teas instead of sodas or fancy coffee drinks (the caffeine irritates your system anyways!)…stick with whole foods, a Mediterranean diet with fresh veggies and antioxidant-rich foods; and stay away from packaged foods if you can (usually high in sugar).
- Maintain your usual healthy habits!
- Stick with your probiotic
- Don’t forget your daily multi-vitamin
- Benefit from daily digestive enzyme support
- Keep heart-healthy with fish oil
- Get at least 7 hours of sleep each night
- Practice good bladder hygiene
- Wipe front to back to keep e.coli away
- Clean genitals before sex; pee before and after intercourse
- Keep up with your kegel exercises – strengthens muscles which aides in bladder control
- Minimize toxins: limit alcohol, keep off the acetaminophen-based pain killers when possible, and don’t smoke (there is a higher risk of bladder cancer for those that do)
And enjoy your holidays!