A healthy urinary system filters your blood, removes metabolic wastes, and maintains your ideal electrolyte balance. Problems in this system include kidney stones, cystitis, urinary tract infections, kidney infections, incontinence and many more.
This article will show you 7 tips to keep your urinary tract system working optimally. If you are prone to diseases of this system then these tips will be especially important! You can also read more about the anatomy of the urinary system here.
You may be expecting me to recommend drinking half your weight in ounces of water a day; or perhaps 8 glasses of 8 oz of water per day. Both of these recommendations are commonly heard from both alternative medicine and western medicine. Interestingly, there is no science to back up either of these recommendations!
Daily water consumption is highly personal. Your level of activity, fitness condition, general health, and weight can all play a role in how much water you should drink.
The important thing is to stay hydrated. Drink when you are thirsty, but avoid drinking lots of water at one time. Drinking more than a 1/2 cup of water in one try actually stimulates your need to urinate! Better to take in water slowly throughout the day rather than getting it all in one go.
If you are in the hot sun or are exercising with a lot of perspiration, be sure to drink an electrolyte balance along with your water.
Always avoid iced water. Iced water decreases your metabolic fires and harms digestion.
Resisting the urge to urinate can lead to an increase in urinary tract infection and, in rare or extreme circumstances, renal failure. Go if you gotta go!
Traditional Chinese Medicine puts a lot of importance on their definition of the Kidneys. From a western physiology perspective the Chinese Kidneys also include your adrenal glands. Cold can injure the Kidneys and so care is taken to always keep them covered and warm. Bare midriffs can invite cold to settle in the Kidneys.
Symptoms of Kidney Yang Deficiency, or lack of warmth in the Kidneys, include sore low back, weak knees, poor energy, excessive urination that is clear, fear of cold, low libido, lassitude, impotence, and loose stools.
To learn more about the Chinese view of the Kidneys see Michael Tierra’s in-depth article here.
There are many herbs that have an affinity for the urinary tract system. Many of these are used to combat a urinary tract infection. Some are specifically used to strengthen and tone this system and one that really shines in this ability is nettle. Both nettle leaf and nettle seed are used to strengthen and tone it, keeping it healthy and functionally well. Herbalist David Winston pioneered using nettle seed to restore kidney function in patients undergoing dialysis! Now that is strong medicine.
Of course eating healthy nutrient-dense foods will support the urinary tract system, but there are foods that have been found to have specific benefit to the kidneys and bladder.
Cultured milk such as yogurt and sour milk has been shown to decrease bladder cancer.
High antioxidant foods such as dark berries and dark leafy greens protect from free radical damage and decrease systemic inflammation in the body.
Cranberries are especially recommended for the urinary tract system. In some people they can both prevent and stop urinary tract infections. They have also been shown to reduce the risk of cancer.
About 40 - 45% of people with kidney disease also have diabetes. The best way to avoid developing diabetes is a healthy lifestyle that includes low sugar/carb consumption, burst exercises and strength training, well managed stress and lots of good sleep each night. You can read more about insulin resistance and diabetes here.
High blood sugar can also lead to increased risk of urinary tract infections.
Mayan Abdominal Massage is a hands-on modality that is often used to address female reproductive complaints such as infertility, PMS and endometriosis. But Mayan Abdominal Massage has many more applications! It is also beneficial to men’s reproductive systems and can support the health of the bladder as well. To find a practitioner of this method see the official website.
Your urinary system is one of the powerful ways your body naturally cleans and detoxifies. An optimally-functioning urinary tract system supports healthy blood pressure and electrolyte balance. In Chinese Medicine the Kidneys also represent our stored energy and is very much associated with our adrenal function. These seven tips are a good step forward in maintaining the healthy function of your urinary system.
Rosalee is an herbalist and author of the bestselling book Alchemy of Herbs: Transform Everyday Ingredients Into Foods & Remedies That Heal and co-author of the bestselling book Wild Remedies: How to Forage Healing Foods and Craft Your Own Herbal Medicine. She's a registered herbalist with the American Herbalist Guild and the Education Director for LearningHerbs. Read about how Rosalee went from having a terminal illness to being a bestselling author in her full story here.