Role of the Renal System
Greetings Adventurer! This week we explore the mysteries of your renal system. The renal system is made up of the kidneys, the ureters, the bladder, and the urethra. The kidneys work alongsidethe circulatory system to clean and filter your blood for waste and excess water. The extra fluids and waste products then travel through your ureters, bladder, and urethra and are released as urine.
Did you know that feeling thirsty is a signal of your kidneys at work? Kidneys are responsible for maintaining your body’s levels of fluids and nutrients. This balance is also calledhomeostasis*. You may have also witnessed homeostasis when seeing a darker or lighter pee color in the toilet!
Decoding Your Pee Colors
Do you know why pee looks yellow most of the time? What you are seeing is a waste chemical called urochrome - it contains the yellow pigment you see.
Whether your pee is a darker or lighter version of yellow is based on how much water you have in your body. If you are hydrated, your pee might look like a pale yellow. If you are dehydrated, your pee will look darker. Some highly pigmented foods could also affect your pee color, for example purple beets will turn your pee bright purple. Try this with your friends or family members the next time you have purple beets!
What is Kidney Disease?
When something is wrong with a person’s kidneys, they might be suffering from kidney disease. Some symptoms of kidney disease could be frequent urination, blood inside your urine, foamy pee, muscle cramping, or other issues. With kidney disease, a variety of problems can occur with your body’s homeostasis - think trapped toxins and water.
Kidneys are vitally important to the body. If your kidneys aren’t working properly, it could cause damage to fluid and nutrient levels, the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, or other body systems.
A few risk factors for kidney disease are if someone already has other diseases like diabetes or high blood pressure. Another reason a person may be more likely to get kidney disease is if it runs in their family.
Kidney Health (No Kidney-ing Around)!
Since kidneys take on the enormous task of filtering all of your body’s blood, it only makes sense to treat them with care! Keeping your kidneys healthy ensures that your renal system and body are running smoothly. Some things you can do to help your kidney health are monitoring your fluid levels and eating a wholesome diet.
Nourish your kids’ diet by adding in plenty of nutritious fruits and veggies. You can also try to avoid processed foods when shopping and limit sodium intake at home when possible. By having children eat a healthy diet and drink the daily recommended amount of water, you can decrease their chances of experiencing kidney disease in their lifetime.
There are smart water bottles available that can help you and your kids track water consumption. With so many on the market to choose from, thiswater bottle from Thermos uses technology to reach your family’s hydration goals. However, you don’t need fancy technology to keep yourself hydrated - just drink lots of water!
Do People Eat Kidneys?!
In some cultures, people eat kidneys for religious and spiritual reasons, for their nutritional content, or to make sure to use every part of the animal. If you think this is weird, it might just be because it is not a part of your socioeconomic or cultural history! For instance, in many parts of the world caviar is a delicacy, but did you know that it is actually the eggs from a fish called the sturgeon? In France, kids indulge in a food delicacy namedescargot, while many children in American culture might be freaked out by the idea of eating snails.
Kidney meat contains valuable protein and omega 3 fatty acids, along with other nutrients.
To learn more about your renal system, join the Loops Crew in Adventure 4: The Renal System as they travel through Ancient Assyria in the Adventure Series: 12 Systems of the Body!