Located near your rib cage, your kidneys are two bean-shaped organs that are around the size of a fist. The role of the kidneys in your body is very important. They make sure that your blood is filtered, taking away all the toxins and wastes. They also make sure that your body’s fluid is balanced. This is important so that your body will work at optimum health. Aside from filtering your blood, kidneys also help in creating hormones that make red blood cells, regulate your blood pressure, and even give you healthy and strong bones.
Your kidneys contain about a million nephrons each. These are the tiny filters that do most of the work for the kidney. According to WebMD, not many people realize that their kidneys could be functioning at only 10% and they would not be able to notice that there are problems with their kidneys. That is why it is important to take care of them and not wait until it is too late to eat foods good for kidneys.
Before we go to the best foods for your kidneys, you may want to note the common causes of chronic kidney disease. Some of these include having other chronic diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes. Another common thing that may happen is that you get kidney stones, which can be because of the food that you eat. Still, other conditions are hereditary, such as polycystic kidney disease, which causes cysts to develop in your kidneys over many years.
Keeping your kidneys healthy would require effort from you, but by making the right food choices, you are already on your way to ensuring that your kidneys will remain healthy and strong for many years. We have not only listed the best foods for your kidneys but also wrote down some other tips to help you get started on taking care of your health.
Best Foods For Your Kidneys
- Sweet potato
- Cranberry Juice
- Sea bass
- Olive Oil
First on our list is strawberry. Most people crave a snack in the middle of the day and most would grab something salty or sweet. Instead of the usual chips or cookies that you gravitate toward, go for the healthier alternative.
Strawberries contain not just antioxidants but other nutrients that could be very beneficial for your health. The vitamin C in strawberries is sure to give your immunity a boost, not to mention give you healthier and younger-looking skin.
While we mostly make use of strawberries in desserts, try them in this Sous Vide Strawberry- Chili Vinegar for a new take on this healthy fruit. Use this as a salad dressing to give your dish that extra kick.
If you are not a fan of strawberries, no worries as there are other berries that you can include in your diet. Blueberries are low in the nutrients that a kidney-friendly diet needs, mainly sodium, potassium, and phosphorus.
But despite this, they are very healthy. Filled with antioxidants, blueberries may protect you against diseases like cancer and some types of heart disease. They are also versatile. You can eat them as a snack, or combine them with other ingredients to make salads, bread, and even some savory dishes.
One of the things that you need in a kidney-friendly diet are fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, and mackerel is one of those. For one fillet of mackerel, you will be getting 2991 mg of omega-3. Aside from that, they are also good sources of vitamin B12, which is essential for a healthy life as people who are deficient in this nutrient may experience anemia.
Aim to have oily fish at least twice a week for optimum results. Compared to other fish, mackerel is less expensive so you can have more value for your money. Try this Roasted Mackerel with Garlic and Paprika for your next dinner.
Although sweet potato may have higher potassium levels than the other foods on this list, what’s. make them okay is that they have much. more fiber than other alternatives. This will not cause your insulin levels to increase rapidly unlike white potatoes. So if you are craving potatoes, sweet potatoes are the better alternative.
You can prepare them in the same way that you would prepare white potatoes. They can be french0fried, baked, roasted, and even turned into pie. You can even use it to make pizza dough, for a healthier take on the usual.
Aside from mackerel, tuna is another fish that is rich in omega-3 fats. While the addition of this oily fish is welcome in any healthy diet, it is particularly great for your kidneys. According to the National Kidney Foundation, these types of fish can help with lowering your blood pressure and also your LDL cholesterol.
There are many ways to cook tuna. You can add them to your casserole, or cook them in a slow cooker. They can even be served as a tuna tartare if you would rather have them raw and just mixed with some sauces. This Oriental Tuna Tartare Recipe will only take you ten minutes to prepare and would serve as the perfect appetizer for an Asian dinner.
Let’s take a break from foods for the time being and give you a drink that you can take that would be good for your kidneys. While you can eat cranberries too, there’s nothing wrong with having cranberry juice once in a while. But you will need to be careful with the variant you will choose.
As you know, some repacked juices have too much sugar in them, and it is not good for your blood sugar level to spike as this will cause your kidneys to work harder. Look for those that are 100% juice. You can try making your own and just freeze and store them for future use.
It is during winter that kale is more abundant, so this would be a great season to add to your diet. High in nutrients such as vitamins K, A, and C, kale can offer many benefits, from better vision to decreasing the risk for cancer.
But for those who are already undergoing dialysis, it is not advisable to have too much kale, as this leafy green is loaded with potassium. When buying your kale, make sure to get organic ones so that you know that you are getting ones that have not been doused with chemicals and pesticides.
If you are not a big fan of kale, spinach is another leafy green that you can try. Much like the kale, it is also high in vitamins, K, C, and A. it also contains beta-carotene, which is helpful in increasing your immunity, something that we all need during these times.
It is very easy to prepare spinach. All you need to do is blanch them or sautee them in a little olive oil and garlic. They can also be added to your smoothies, which you can take for breakfast. Try these 23 Spinach Smoothie recipes so you can prepare a new one for each day.
Gone are the days when cauliflower is just relegated as a side dish in many meals. With the rise of those following the keto diet, the cauliflower has taken center stage in many meals. Many use them in bread recipes, and others have even used them as a substitute for rice.
It’s great for your kidneys as it has a lot of fiber, and also contains anti-inflammatory properties.
Here’s another fish choice in case you are looking for more. The seabass is a good source of nutrients such as magnesium and potassium. For those looking for a protein source that has a low-calorie count, sea bass would be a great option. Just make sure to get your fresh seafood from trusted sources.
Whole grains are normally not advisable for those who are trying to eat a kidney-friendly diet. That’s because they are high in phosphorus. But buckwheat is not one of those. It’s also a great choice for those with gluten intolerance as it is gluten-free.
With very low levels of potassium and sodium, cabbage is a perfect vegetable for those with chronic kidney disease. People may think that the cabbage is very similar to lettuce, but in reality, it is more associated with cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower.
If you are trying to lose weight, you can make dishes out of cabbage, as this vegetable is very low on calories. You can make a simple cabbage salad to go with your mains. But if you are looking for something more unique, why not turn it into kimchi? While most kimchi would make use of napa cabbage in the recipe, this Yangbaechu Kimchi recipe utilizes green cabbage instead.
What makes apple one of the best foods for your kidneys is that it is high in anti-oxidants. It also contains pectin, a fiber that can help lower your blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels.
When eating apples, do include the peels as they are very nutritious. You can easily include them in your desserts, just make sure that you are not using too much sugar in your meals. If you want to add a new taste to your apple, just add some cinnamon powder to elevate the taste.
Okay, although not technically food, we still decided to add water to this list. Hydration is always important for your health, but getting enough water would greatly help your kidneys function. It is water that helps the kidneys filter your blood and turn that waste into urine.
SO how can you ensure that you are drinking the right amount of water? The “eight glasses a day” is not really a rule that must be followed as people can have different needs, depending on the amount of water our bodies lose throughout the day. Men would actually need around 13 cups of water a day while women as many as 9 cups a day. You can check your urine color to see if you are getting enough hydration, a dark yellow urine would mean that you are dehydrated.
Other Tips for a Healthy Kidney
Learn What Foods to Avoid
Now that you know what are the best foods to eat for your kidney, you also need to know which ones are not good for you, so that you can avoid them. This is especially true when you are already suffering from kidney disease. Those who have chronic kidney disease would need to limit their diet and make sure that their intake of sodium and potassium is only up to 2,000 mg each day.
So this means avoiding what we perceive as healthy foods like avocado and bananas because they have a lot of potassium content. Stay away from canned foods too and even whole wheat bread. because they are high in sodium, phosphorus, and potassium.
We all know how important it is to exercise regularly. While it is beneficial for your heart, it can also help your kidney function properly. This is especially true if you are overweight and must lose that extra weight so that your kidneys would not be overworked.
If you are not used to exercising, you don’t need to strain your body right away. Start with something simple, go for a short walk each day, and eventually lengthen the time. You can also look for physical activities that can count as exercise. this can be hiking, swimming, or even having dance lessons.
There are many activities you can do if you look hard enough. The important thing is to get started.
Manage your blood pressure and sugar levels
There are many ways that having high blood pressure and high blood sugar levels can negatively affect your body. Aside from increasing the risk of developing serious conditions like a heart attack or stroke, it also can cause kidney damage. When you have very high sugar levels, your body would not be process glucose properly, and your kidneys would need to double their efforts to make sure that your blood is filtered.
Try to get regular blood sugar level checkups and check your blood pressure regularly, especially if you have a family history of both diseases. If you do have these conditions, changing your lifestyle can help, along with medication given by doctors.
Stay away from vices
This is very important. If you are a smoker, it is time to stop. We know just how damaging it can be. It affects your lungs and other organs. The same can be said for drinking too much. Remember that the kidney is in charge of filtering the toxins, and if you smoke and drink in excess, you are doubling the risk of getting chronic kidney disease.
Aside from that, you also need to watchful if you are taking over-the-counter medicines, such as pain relievers, as taking them regularly can cause kidney damage. If you have chronic pain, you can try to look for alternative ways to relieve pain like acupuncture or even yoga.