Optimize Your Kidney Health by Adding These Top Food Remedies to Your Diet
When people think about their health, they often go straight to the “biggies”: heart, lungs, brain, etc. Most people may not always think about keeping their kidneys in prime condition – until, of course, something goes wrong.
Whether you are dealing with a kidney disease, chronic kidney infections, or kidney stones, your diet can play a huge roll in how good you feel vs. how bad you feel.
I am here to go through all the different ways that eating certain foods and avoiding other foods can help you in your journey of kidney health.
Special Diet Considerations For The Kidneys
In just a second we are going to focus on lots of different food groups that can lead you to optimal kidney health. But first, let’s look at some of the most common diet considerations you may have to make if you have kidney problems.
These are four food categories that are generally considered healthy – and even really important – for our health, but they can cause some issues for those with kidney problems.
- Protein: While you will still need protein for a healthy body, those with poor kidney function typically should not consume any more protein than what the body needs (typically between 40 and 70 grams each day)
- Potassium: Since the kidneys keep potassium at their ideal levels, malfunctioning kidneys may not remove excess potassium. In this case, it is important to avoid too much potassium without avoiding too much nutrition in the process
- Phosphorus: Though all-natural and otherwise healthy, a build up of too much Phosphorus can be a problem with under-functioning kidneys
- Calcium Oxalate: When it comes to limiting kidney stones, you may think all calcium-rich foods need to go. That’s not necessarily the case. Our bodies need calcium in order to operate well. The goal instead should be to reduce your sodium intake and reduce your calcium oxalate intake. Calcium oxalate specifically is the culprit for most kidney stone development.
Of course, not all people need to be following these diet restrictions, so make sure to talk with your doctor first. If you know you need to take remove these items from your diet, here are some ideas of what to eat instead.
EAT Veggies Low In Potassium: Bell Peppers, Kale, Onions, Cauliflower
Any healthy body needs lots and lots of veggies, and an overall strong and healthy body is exactly what your kidneys need. If you have kidney disease and need to limit your potassium intake, don’t stay away from produce altogether.
Choose produce with plenty of other great vitamins and minerals, without high potassium counts. Other great options include ½ cup of raw cabbage, celery, radishes, eggplant and scallions.
EAT Foods Low In Phosphorus: Unsalted Popcorn, Almond Milk, Mahi Mahi
The typical phosphorus limit in somebody with kidney disease is between 800 and 1,000 milligrams each day. But just how much is that? Think of it this way: the average American consumes about double that amount every day.
Luckily, if you limit/eliminate fast food, dairy, and beverages with phosphorus (often colas and bottled teas), a lot of the hard work can be done for you.
AVOID These Kidney Stone No-No’s
- Grapefruit juice
EAT These Foods To Limit Kidney Stones: Lemon, Apple Cider Vinegar, Pumpkin Seeds
Now that you know what you shouldn’t eat if you are prone to kidney stones, let’s focus on what you should eat. This section on foods that limit kidney stones and the next section on produce for overall kidney health are both safe bets.
All three of the foods listed above have been shown to have positive effects on limiting the risk of kidney stones. A great way to get them into your diet is through salads. Make your own dressings with lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. Then top the salad with pumpkin seeds.
EAT Fruits High In Antioxidants: Berries, Cherries, Grapes, Cranberries, Plums
So far we have focused on really specific food remedies for kidney problems, now let’s focus on a food category that only has one main goal: promote overall health.
No matter what kidney condition you are dealing with, boosting up on antioxidants is extremely important. However, if you take them in supplement form when you are on dialysis, you could be in for some trouble. The goal then is simply to eat them.
Red, purple, and blue fruits are typically the highest sources of antioxidants around.
Drinking water (clean water, that is!) is one of the main factors in healthy kidneys. Water helps flush out the urinary tract and prevent kidney stones or UTIs. And most of us know that we do not drink enough. One study suggests men need around 13 cups and women need around 9 cups each day.
By drinking pure water without chemicals or contaminants, you are giving your kidneys the fluid they need to function properly.
That being said – there really is such a thing as too much water, a condition referred to as hyponatremia. It’s rare in a world where most of us are dehydrated. This normally only happens to endurance athletes who have lost sodium through sweat and drink too much water all at the same time.
(Side note: those with kidney failure may limit the amount of water consumption under doctor’s orders)
Kidney Food Remedies And You
These food remedies we have gone over largely depend on what is going on with your kidneys. After all, a person with healthy kidneys should eat plenty of protein, potassium, calcium, and phosphorus.
Before you start eliminating or reducing any of these food types, talk with your doctor first. Get an exact diagnosis and then you can start eating certain foods and avoiding other foods to boost your kidney health.
Then of course, when it comes to things like high antioxidant produce, anybody can benefit from that. The more fuel you give your immune system, the better you will be able to fight against any issues in the body – including those in the kidneys.