These little bean-shaped organs may be small, but they play a vital role in your overall health. Here’s how you can help them do their job with these kidney-healthy foods.
The kidneys play an excellent balance on your body. In addition to removing waste and excess water from the body, the kidneys even help control blood pressure. Unfortunately, the kidneys can quickly become overloaded with environmental toxins and an inflammatory diet.
The good news is that there are many healthy foods you can eat to show your kidneys the much-needed love they need, giving them the boost they need to perform at their best.
Why Your Kidneys Are So Important
Your kidneys are responsible for removing toxins from your body while maintaining the balance of salt and minerals. In addition to these important functions, the kidneys also work hard to balance the red blood cells and also play a role in vitamin D metabolism.
If the kidneys aren’t working properly, it can lead to all kinds of complications. For example, people with kidney problems cannot balance potassium levels in the blood, which can increase the risk of a heart attack.
When your kidneys aren’t working properly, the inevitable imbalances in your body can cause serious problems. You may be at risk for any of these health conditions:
- High blood pressure
- Bone health problems
- Kidney failure
Foods to Avoid
Since filtering out toxins is one of the main functions of the kidneys, overloading our body with alcohol and processing it is extremely tiring. Eating foods high in salt content is also dangerous, as too much sodium can cause fluid retention and other kidney health problems.
If you already have kidney problems, you’ll also want to avoid foods high in potassium or phosphorus, as your kidneys may not balance these minerals properly. Even eating too much protein can strain already overworked kidneys!
The good news is that there are many foods that support your kidneys and can help your body rest. Replace those unhealthy packaged and processed foods with one of these superfoods whenever possible.
15 Foods That Support Kidney Health
Cucumbers are very hydrating, which is a great option for kidney health. This is because the high water content can help clean your kidneys. Cucumbers are also low in potassium, making them a kidney-friendly vegetable for people with kidney disease. Cucumbers are low in potassium, so you can add them to your diet and enjoy them regularly.
How to Add Cucumbers to Your Diet: Dip cucumbers in bean-free hummus or enjoy it as a fresh, light salad.
This sweet and sour fruit is another great addition to your diet, as one study found that cherries can reduce your risk of gout by 35%. A gout is a form of arthritis that can occur when your kidneys aren’t working properly, so you’ll definitely want to eat more of this healing stone fruit.
How to Add Cherries to Your Diet: Try making a smoothie with pitted cherries, coconut milk, and chia or flax seeds.
Cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower can support your body’s ability to detox. Cauliflower, in particular, is high in vitamin C, folic acid, and fiber, which can help protect you from toxins and reduce the strain on your kidneys.
How to Add Cauliflower to Your Diet: Roast cauliflower with honey and garlic, or squeeze cauliflower rice for a healthy side dish.
4. Red Bell Peppers
Red peppers, in particular, are low in potassium and high in water, which helps maintain hydration. These peppers are also high in lycopene, a carotenoid that lowers high blood pressure often associated with kidney disease. Lycopene also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties to help maintain overall health.
Garlic can help detoxify the body and is also anti-inflammatory. According to an animal study, the active ingredient allicin, which gives garlic its unique scent, can support kidney health by reducing hypertension and oxidative stress, thereby supporting overall kidney function.
How to Add Garlic to Your Diet: Garlic can season just about any recipe that needs a little extra flavor. Try it with capsicum or cauliflower for double kidney protection.
Onions contain powerful flavonoids and antioxidants that support kidney health. Flavonoids play an important role in supporting kidney health because they have antihypertensive properties, which means they can help lower blood pressure. Not only do onions provide these important flavonoids to support kidney health, but they also add a lot of flavor to your recipes and can therefore help reduce your intake of added salt.
How to Add Onions to Your Diet: Add chopped raw onions to salads and stir-fries, or use onion powder to flavor meat and poultry instead of salt.
Most people know that cranberry juice is excellent for its ability to fight a UTI. This is because cranberries can help maintain kidney health by preventing bacteria from getting trapped in the urinary tract.
How to Add Cranberries to Your Diet: Add dried cranberries to salads, enjoy homemade off-season cranberry sauce, or add frozen cranberries to a smoothie.
Blueberries are great for overall health as they are very high in antioxidants to help reduce inflammation in the body. They are also particularly great for kidney health. A study in lean, obese rats found that blueberries can boost kidney function and support glucose metabolism.
How to Add Blueberries to Your Diet: Enjoy a cup of blueberries over coconut almond yogurt or toss them into a smoothie.
Strawberries are another anti-inflammatory berry that can help the kidneys by reducing inflammation in the body. They are also high in fiber, which reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.
How to Add Strawberries to Your Diet: Cut strawberries as a side dish to your favorite healthy breakfast or enjoy them as a healthy snack with a handful of nuts and seeds.
Raspberries are another delicious high fiber berry to add to your diet. They are low in potassium, high in antioxidants, and help reduce inflammation, which can help prevent diabetes. Over time, uncontrolled diabetes leads to kidney damage, making it one of the most common causes of kidney failure.
How to Add Raspberries to Your Diet: Add a handful of fresh or frozen raspberries to a smoothie, or toss them with blueberries and strawberries over coconut yogurt for an extra boost to your kidneys.