In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the kidneys are known as the Minister of Power because they are considered to be our most important storehouse of essential energy. Another name for the kidneys is the Root of Life, due to the Chinese view that our original prenatal energy is stored in the kidney organ-energy system. This kidney organ system includes the adrenal glands and what the Chinese refer to as the external kidneys, those being the testicles in males and the ovaries in women. In this way your kidneys, not only filter waste from the blood, balance fluids and regulate acid-alkaline balance (pH) in the body, they also control your sexual and reproductive functions and are a prime source of sexual vitality.
In TCM each organ system is responsible for certain psycho-emotional aspects of our behavior. An individual with healthy, balanced kidneys displays the attributes of wisdom, self-understanding, a gentle nature and rational thinking. The opposite or negative attributes are primarily a fearful nature, insecurity, loneliness, short-term memory loss and excessive-compulsive actions. Keeping your kidneys healthy and balanced requires some consideration on your part, along with including kidney-strengthening foods in your diet.
Next: 15 ways to protect your kidney
1. The salty taste can benefit kidneys, but too much salt can tighten them.
2. Avoid or modify your intake of coffee, chocolate, sugar and stimulants.
3. Avoid eating too many cold foods and iced drinks.
4. Reduce or eliminate pasteurized fruit juice, except unsweetened cranberry juice, which is beneficial for the kidneys and bladder.
5. Kidneys can be strengthened with homemade bone stocks from grass-fed animals.
6. Drink 8-10 glasses of water each day. This can be in the form of soup, tea, water, cooked grains and boiled vegetables.
7. In the winter months slightly increase your sea salt and oil intake.
8. Include sea vegetables and other ocean foods (sea salt, wild caught fish) in your diet.
9. Make sure to rest and get plenty of sleep.
10. Avoid overeating or eating late at night.
11. Have a daily balance of protein, carbohydrates and quality fats in moderation.
12. Eat a mineral rich diet by including sea vegetables and micro-algae.
13. Since the emotion for kidneys is fear, do something that frightens you and step out past your fears.
14. Use meditation as a way to see your fears and let them go.
Next: Kidney-strengthening foods
Grains: buckwheat, black rice, barley.
Beans: adzuki, black soybeans, black turtle, kidney.
Vegetables: beets, beet greens, burdock, radicchio, red cabbage, salsify, water chestnuts, parsley.
Fruits: blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, boysenberries, concord grapes, cranberries, watermelon.
Sea Vegetables: dulse, hiziki, Irish moss, kelp, kombu, nori, wakame.
Micro-algae: spirulina, chlorella.
Seeds: chia, black sesame, wild rice.
Nuts: walnuts, chestnuts.
Seafood: caviar, abalone, bluefish, catfish, clam, crab, cuttlefish, lobster, mussels, octopus, oyster, sardine, scallop, squid, turtle.
Condiments: sesame salt, miso, pickles (brine cured), sea salt, soy sauce, umeboshi plums, umeboshi vinegar, green tea.
Cooking Methods: steaming, salting, pickling.