Second October always reminds us of Mahatma Gandhi and he once said, “It is health which is real wealth, and not pieces of gold and silver”. Chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, fatty liver, arthritis, high cholesterol and many more lifestyle related issues are becoming a major cause of concern. One of such lifestyle diseases that needs attention is chronic kidney disease or commonly known as CKD. With increasing life expectancy and prevalence of lifestyle diseases, India has seen a 55% increase in prevalence of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in the last decade. As per the recent data by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), diabetes and hypertension today account for more than 70% cases of CKD. Let us understand more about the causes of CKD, important tests for proper detection and foods that can help reverse chronic kidney disease.
Causes of Chronic Kidney disease:
The top two causes of chronic kidney disease are high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels. This means that if people have high BP or diabetes or both for years, then their kidneys starts getting impacted. In fact, as per statistics, 1 in every 3 diabetic patients will develop chronic kidney disease and 2 in every 5 patients with high BP will develop chronic kidney disease if they do not treat the root cause of the disease. Hence an important fact that we need to keep in mind is that if we completely reverse our diabetes or high BP in the first place and do not live with it by just popping pills, then we will never develop chronic kidney issues. This is important to note because, in India around 74 million people have diabetes, another 72.5 million people have pre-diabetes and another 110 million people have high BP. Now if all these people do not develop the mindset of reversal, if all of these people do not change their food habits, lifestyle and focus on reversing their diseases, then they are at high risk for developing CKD.
The good news is that it is not only preventable but also reversible in many cases if not all. And the only medicine that can help reverse it, is lifestyle. By lifestyle, I mean bringing positive change in food habits and lifestyle modification. Remember, when it comes to reversing lifestyle diseases, food is not like medicine but it is medicine. So, before we understand the foods that can help reverse chronic kidney disease let us understand important biomarkers that can help us detect early.
Important Tests for Chronic Kidney Disease:
After the age of 35 years or if anyone has high BP or diabetes or both, then they should positively check their creatinine levels and eGFR once a year. Creatinine and eGFR both are simple blood tests and important biomarkers for CKD. Normal range of creatinine is below 1.2 and normal range for eGFR is above 90. Most people only check creatinine levels. However, checking eGFR is also vital.
eGFR stands for estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate - which means the rate at which our kidneys are filtering, in other words it is a test to measure your level of kidney function. The reason it is important because when I see patients with creatinine 1.05 or 1.1, they might feel that their kidneys are absolutely normal because the creatinine levels are in range.
However, when we get their eGFR levels checked, it comes out as 75 or 80 which ideally should be above 90. Also, it is logical to understand that, once the filtration rate starts going down, your kidneys will not be able to flush out that it ideally should do and hence creatinine levels will start building up in your blood. Hence checking both at least once a year can help us catch CKD early and thereby adopt strategies to reverse it.
Foods to reverse Chronic Kidney Disease:
Eating more natural plant foods and avoiding processed and artificial foods is a healthy step towards reversing lifestyle diseases. However, with respect to kidney health, these three foods can help clean your kidneys and thereby help reverse CKD.
1. Barley Seeds: 2-3 spoons of Barley seeds to be soaked overnight in half glass of water. First thing in the morning strain and have just the water of overnight soaked barley seeds. This is very effective in cleaning the kidneys.
2. Cucumber and Radish: Both these vegetables are packed with nutrients that help reverse CKD. Hence, we recommend having a bowl of both of these as salad before lunch and dinner.
3. Purple Cabbage: One of the vegetables that we all should look forward to having during the winter season is purple cabbage which is one of the most alkaline foods on this planet. From reversing diabetes, high BP to fatty liver and kidney disease, this one superfood should be added in your salad if you intend to heal your kidneys.
As we have always emphasized, that right education and information is the first step to reverse lifestyle diseases. Hope this information will empower each one of of you to take that first step to reverse disease and create long term good health.
(Karan Kakkad is an international Nutrigenomics & Disease Reversal expert based in India. He is the Founder & CEO of Reverse Factor. To know more visit: www.reversefactor.in)