Super Foods for Healthy Kidneys

Here we will present you with foods that you should eat for healthy kidneys. If you have some health issues with your kidneys then it is time to add these superfoods in your diet.

What you eat and drink affects your health. Staying at a healthy weight and eating a balanced diet that is low in salt and fat can help you control your blood pressure.

If you have diabetes, you can help control your blood sugar by carefully choosing what you eat and drink.

Controlling high blood pressure and diabetes may help prevent kidney disease from getting worse.

A kidney-friendly diet may also help protect your kidneys from further damage.

A kidney-friendly diet limits certain foods to prevent the minerals in those foods from building up in your body.

How are foods for healthy kidneys different?

When your kidneys are not working as well as they should, waste and fluid build-up in your body.

Over time, the waste and extra fluid can cause heart, bone and other health problems. A kidney-friendly meal plan limits how much of certain minerals and fluid you eat and drink.

This can help keep the waste and fluid from building up and causing problems.

How strict your meal plan should depend on your stage of kidney disease.

In the early stages of kidney disease, you may have little or no limits on what you eat and drink.

As your kidney disease gets worse, your doctor may recommend that you limit:

  • Potassium
  • Phosphorus
  • Fluids
Potassium

Potassium is a mineral found in almost all foods.

Your body needs some potassium to make your muscles work, but too much potassium can be dangerous.

When your kidneys are not working well, your potassium level may be too high or too low. Having too much or too little potassium can cause muscle cramps, problems with the way your heart beats and muscle weakness.

If you have kidney disease, you may need to limit how much potassium you take in. Ask your doctor or dietitian if you need to limit potassium.

Read: Potassium Deficiency Signs and Symptoms

Phosphorus

Phosphorus is a mineral found in almost all foods.

It works with calcium and vitamin D to keep your bones healthy.

Healthy kidneys keep the right amount of phosphorus in your body. When your kidneys are not working well, phosphorus can build up in your blood. Too much phosphorus in your blood can lead to weak bones that break easily.

Many people with kidney disease need to limit phosphorus. Ask your dietitian if you need to limit phosphorus.

Fluids

You need water to live, but when you have kidney disease, you may not need it as much.

This is because damaged kidneys do not get rid of extra fluid as well as they should. Too much fluid in your body can be dangerous. It can cause high blood pressure, swelling and heart failure.

Extra fluid can also build up around your lungs and make it hard to breathe.

If you do need to limit fluids, measure your fluids and drink from small cups to help you keep track of how much you’ve had to drink.

Limit sodium to help cut down on thirst. At times, you may still feel thirsty. To help quench your thirst, you might try to:

  • Chew gum
  • Rinse your mouth
  • Suck on a piece of ice, mints or hard candy (Remember to choose sugar-free candy if you have diabetes.)

Super Foods for Healthy Kidneys

1. Red bell peppers

1/2 cup serving red bell pepper = 1 mg sodium, 88 mg potassium, 10 mg phosphorus

Red bell peppers are low in potassium and high in flavor, but that’s not the only reason they’re perfect for the kidney diet.

These tasty vegetables are also an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin A, as well as vitamin B6, folic acid and fiber.

Red bell peppers are good for you because they contain lycopene, an antioxidant that protects against certain cancers.

Eat red bell peppers raw with dip as a snack or appetizer, or mix them into tuna or chicken salad.

You can also roast peppers and use them as a topping on sandwiches or lettuce salads, chop them for an omelet, add them to kabobs on the grill or stuff peppers with ground turkey or beef and bake them for the main dish.

2. Cabbage

1/2 cup serving green cabbage = 6 mg sodium, 60 mg potassium, 9 mg phosphorus

A cruciferous vegetable, cabbage is packed full of phytochemicals, chemical compounds in fruit or vegetables that break up free radicals before they can do damage.

Many phytochemicals are also known to protect against and fight cancer, as well as foster cardiovascular health.

High in vitamin K, vitamin C and fiber, cabbage is also a good source of vitamin B6 and folic acid. Low in potassium and low in cost, it’s an affordable addition to the kidney diet.

3. Cauliflower

1/2 cup serving boiled cauliflower = 9 mg sodium, 88 mg potassium, 20 mg phosphorus

Another cruciferous vegetable, cauliflower is high in vitamin C and a good source of folate and fiber.

It’s also packed full of indoles, glucosinolates, and thiocyanates—compounds that help the liver neutralize toxic substances that could damage cell membranes and DNA.

Serve it raw as crudités with dip, add it to a salad, or steam or boil it and season with spices such as turmeric, curry powder, pepper and herb seasonings. You can also make a nondairy white sauce, pour it over the cauliflower and bake until tender.

4. Garlic

1 clove garlic = 1 mg sodium, 12 mg potassium, 4 mg phosphorus

Garlic helps prevent plaque from forming on your teeth, lowers cholesterol and reduces inflammation.

Buy it fresh, bottled, minced or powdered, and add it to meat, vegetable or pasta dishes. You can also roast a head of garlic and spread on bread. Garlic provides a delicious flavor and garlic powder is a great substitute for garlic salt in the dialysis diet.

5. Onions

1/2 cup serving onion = 3 mg sodium, 116 mg potassium, 3 mg phosphorus

Onion, a member of the Allium family and a basic flavoring in many cooked dishes, contains sulfur compounds that give it its pungent smell.

But in addition to making some people cry, onions are also rich in flavonoids, especially quercetin, a powerful antioxidant that works to reduce heart disease and protects against many cancers.

Onions are low in potassium and a good source of chromium, a mineral that helps with carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism.

6. Apples

1 medium apple with skin = 0 sodium, 158 mg potassium, 10 mg phosphorus

Apples have been known to reduce cholesterol, prevent constipation, protect against heart disease and reduce the risk of cancer.

High in fiber and anti-inflammatory compounds, an apple a day may keep the doctor away.

Good news for people with kidney disease who already have their share of doctor visits.

7. Cranberries

1/2 cup serving cranberry juice cocktail = 3 mg sodium, 22 mg potassium, 3 mg phosphorus

These tangy, tasty berries are known to protect against bladder infections by preventing bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall.

Similarly, cranberries also protect the stomach from ulcer-causing bacteria and protect the lining of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, promoting GI health.

Cranberries have also been shown to protect against cancer and heart disease.

Cranberry juice and cranberry sauce are the most frequently consumed cranberry products. You can also add dried cranberries to salads or have them as a snack.

Related: Cranberry Tea Health Benefits and Side Effects 

8. Blueberries

1/2 cup serving fresh blueberries = 4 mg sodium, 65 mg potassium, 7 mg phosphorus

Blueberries are high in antioxidant phytonutrients called anthocyanidins, which give them their blue color, and they are bursting with natural compounds that reduce inflammation.

Blueberries are a good source of vitamin C; manganese, a compound that keeps your bones healthy; and fiber. They may also help protect the brain from some of the effects of aging.

Antioxidants in blueberries and other berries have been shown to help slow bone breakdown in rats made to be low in estrogen.

Buy blueberries fresh, frozen or dried, and try them in cereal or, topped with whipped topping, in a fruit smoothie.

You can also drink blueberry juice.

9. Raspberries

1/2 cup serving raspberries = 0 mg sodium, 93 mg potassium, 7 mg phosphorus

Raspberries contain a phytonutrient called ellagic acid which helps neutralize free radicals in the body to prevent cell damage.

They also contain flavonoids called anthocyanins, antioxidants which give them their red color. An excellent source of manganese, vitamin C, fiber and folate, a B vitamin, raspberries may have properties that inhibit cancer cell growth and tumor formation.

Add raspberries to cereal, or puree and sweeten them to make a dessert sauce or add them to vinaigrette dressing.

10. Strawberries

1/2 cup serving (5 medium) fresh strawberries = 1 mg sodium, 120 mg potassium, 13 mg phosphorus

Strawberries are rich in two types of phenols: anthocyanins and ellagitannins.

Anthocyanins are what give strawberries their red color and are powerful antioxidants that help protect body cell structures and prevent oxidative damage.

Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese and a very good source of fiber. They are known to provide heart protection, as well as anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory components.

Eat strawberries with cereal, smoothies, and salad, or slice and serve them fresh or top them with whipped topping.

11. Cherries

1/2 cup serving fresh sweet cherries = 0 mg sodium, 160 mg potassium, 15 mg phosphorus

Cherries have been shown to reduce inflammation when eaten daily. They are also packed with antioxidants and phytochemicals that protect the heart.

Eat fresh cherries as a snack or make a cherry sauce to serve with lamb or pork. Cherry juice is another way to consume this tasty food.

12. Red grapes

1/2 cup serving red grapes = 1 mg sodium, 88 mg potassium, 4 mg phosphorus

Red grapes contain several flavonoids that give them their reddish color.

Flavonoids help protect against heart disease by preventing oxidation and reducing the formation of blood clots.

Resveratrol, a flavonoid found in grapes, may also stimulate the production of nitric oxide which helps relax muscle cells in the blood vessels to increase blood flow. These flavonoids also provide protection against cancer and prevent inflammation.

Buy grapes with red or purple skin since their anthocyanin content is higher.

Freeze them to eat as a snack or to quench a thirst for those on a fluid restriction for the dialysis diet. Add grapes to a fruit salad or chicken salad.

13. Egg whites

2 egg whites = 7 grams protein, 110 mg sodium, 108 mg potassium, 10 mg phosphorus

Egg whites are pure protein and provide the highest quality of protein with all the essential amino acids.

For the kidney diet, egg whites provide protein with less phosphorus than other protein sources such as egg yolk or meats.

14. Fish

3 ounces wild salmon = 50 mg sodium, 368 mg potassium, 274 mg phosphorus

Fish provides high-quality protein and contains anti-inflammatory fats called omega-3s.

The healthy fats in fish can help fight diseases such as heart disease and cancer.

Omega-3s also help lower low-density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol, which is bad, and raise high-density lipoprotein or HDL cholesterol, which is good.

The American Heart Association1 and American Diabetes Association2 recommend eating fish at least two times a week.

Fish highest in omega-3s include albacore tuna, herring, mackerel, rainbow trout, and salmon.

Read 10 Omega-3 Rich Foods You Should Eat 

15. Olive oil

1 tablespoon olive oil = less than 1 mg sodium, less than 1 mg potassium, 0 mg phosphorus

Olive oil is a great source of oleic acid, an anti-inflammatory fatty acid.

The monounsaturated fat in olive oil protects against oxidation. Olive oil is rich in polyphenols and antioxidant compounds that prevent inflammation and oxidation.

Studies show that populations that use large amounts of olive oil instead of other oils have lower rates of heart disease and cancer.

Buy virgin or extra virgin olive oil because they are higher in antioxidants. Use olive oil to make salad dressing, in cooking, for dipping bread or for marinating vegetables.

Conclusion: These foods listed above can help you to maintain kidneys’ health. Keep in mind that these foods are healthy and good for everyone, not just for someone with health problems with kidneys.

You can also read these articles if you want to know more about natural remedies for kidney stones and signs and symptoms of kidney infection.

References: kidneyfund.org davita.com

Foods for healthy kidneys