Top 12 Superfoods for Healthy Kidneys
A healthy kidney is as important as a healthy heart.
Kidneys filter out the waste and extra water, and
remove harmful toxins from the body in the form of
urine. In addition, kidneys help maintain a balance
of electrolytes and other fluids in your body.
Kidney problems can cause difficulty urinating,
puffiness around the eyes, and swollen feet and
hands. A person who has kidney problems is also at
higher risk of developing heart disease.
Here’s a list of the top 12 kidney-friendly super
foods. These foods are good for everyone, not just
people with kidney disease, so by using them in your
family's meals, you'll be helping your loved ones
enjoy good health too.
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1. Red bell peppers
Red bell peppers are a good choice for those
concerned about kidney health, because they're low
in potassium. In addition, they add color and taste
to any dish, while packing a generous portion of
vitamins A, C, B6, folic acid and fiber. They also
contain the antioxidant lycopene, which protects
against certain types of cancer.
If you're following the kidney diet, it's easy to
add red bell peppers to your food plan. Mix them
into tuna or chicken salad or eat raw with dip.
Roasted, they're great for topping sandwiches or
green salads. Chop them up for use in egg dishes,
such as omelets or scrambled eggs, add them to
kabobs for grilling or stuff them with a ground beef
or turkey mixture for a tasty baked entrée.
Cabbage improves kidney functioning and is most
commonly used as a natural medicine to repair and
nourish the kidneys. It is an essential food for
anyone suffering from kidney problems.
Cabbage is packed with phytochemicals that help
break up free radicals before they can do damage.
Also, it is high in vitamins B6, C and K, along with
fiber and folic acid. Low in potassium, cabbage
makes a great addition to a dialysis diet. You can
enjoy this vegetable steamed or boiled.
Being excellent sources of manganese, vitamin C,
fiber and folate, different types of berries like
strawberries, cranberries, raspberries and
blueberries are good for your kidneys. The
antioxidant as well as anti-inflammatory properties
in these berries help reduce inflammation and
improve bladder functioning.
You can choose fresh, frozen or dried berries and
eat them raw or add them to your favorite cereal or
smoothie to promote kidney health.
Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids that reduce
inflammation in the body and hence protect the
kidneys from various diseases. Also, fish is a good
source of high quality protein.
According to a 2008 study published in the American
Journal of Kidney Diseases, consumption of fish
helps lower abnormal levels of protein in urine in
people suffering from diabetics.
The types of fish that are best for the kidneys are
salmon, rainbow trout, mackerel, herring and tuna.
The American Diabetes Association and the American
Heart Association recommend having two to three
servings of fish each week. You must eat steamed,
baked or roasted fish instead of fried fish to
reduce kidney problems.
5. Egg whites
Egg whites are recommended for people with kidney
disease due to their low phosphorous content and
high quality protein. High quality protein contains
an essential amino acid, which is necessary for the
kidneys to function properly.
At the same time, when high quality protein is
metabolized in the body it produces less waste
product. You can use egg whites to make omelets or
sandwiches or eat hard-boiled eggs without the yolk.
People with kidney problems should avoid eating egg
yolks. High protein intake, too, is not recommended
as it can cause extra burden on the kidneys.
Cherries are filled with antioxidants and
phytochemicals that protect your heart. When eaten
daily, they have been shown to reduce inflammation.
Fresh cherries make a delicious snack. Of course,
cherry pie is a popular dessert, but there's also
cherry crisp, cherry cheesecake and even cherry
coffee cake. Cherry sauce makes a nice accompaniment
to lamb or pork.
7. Olive oil
Olive oil is good for your heart as well as your
kidneys. This oil is a great source of oleic acid,
anti-inflammatory fatty acids that lower oxidation
and promote kidney health. Also, it is rich in
polyphenols and antioxidant compounds that prevent
inflammation and oxidation.
Virgin and extra virgin olive oil contain higher
amounts of antioxidants than regular olive oil, so
use one of those to get the most health benefits.
You can use olive oil to make salad dressing and in
your everyday cooking. It’s also good for dipping
bread or marinating fish or vegetables.
Garlic has antioxidants and anticlotting properties
that can effectively reduce the chances of kidney
disease as well as heart disease.
Eating one to two raw garlic cloves daily on an
empty stomach can greatly reduce bad cholesterol
levels and inflammation in the body.
It also protects the kidneys from the potentially
harmful effects of heavy metals. You can use fresh,
bottled, minced or powdered garlic in your dishes to
add aroma and flavor as well as health benefits.
Onions are full of powerful antioxidants that help
detoxify and cleanse the kidneys, thereby helping
prevent many types of kidney-related health
problems. Low in potassium, onions also contain
chromium, a mineral that helps the body metabolize
fats, proteins and carbohydrates.
They also have anti-inflammatory properties. Onions
can be enjoyed raw or cooked in a variety of dishes.
Eating raw onions can help treat kidney stones
This cruciferous vegetable is high in vitamin C and
contains a good amount of folate and fiber. It also
has compounds like indoles, glucosinolates and
thiocyanates that help the liver neutralize toxic
substances that can otherwise damage cell membranes
When consumed on a regular basis, cauliflower can
reduce inflammation and lower cholesterol levels due
to its antioxidant and anticlotting properties.
Cauliflower can be eaten raw with dip or in salads.
You can also try steamed, boiled, fried, roasted or
baked cauliflower dishes. However, being high in
purines that lead to the accumulation of uric acid,
cauliflower may not be siutable for those suffering
from gout and kidney stones.
Apples are good for detoxifying and cleansing the
kidneys as they are high in fiber and
anti-inflammatory properties. Also, apples help
prevent urinary tract infections and thus may help
reduce the risk of kidney stones.
At the same time, apples are great for reducing
cholesterol, protecting against heart problems,
decreasing your risk of cancer and helping prevent
Have an apple each day to keep your kidneys
functioning properly. You can enjoy this crunchy and
juicy fruit raw, in baked desserts, or as applesauce
According to a research published in the Journal of
the American Society Nephrology, a healthy diet
consisting of fruits, vegetables, nuts, low-fat
dairy products and whole grains, and low in salt,
red meat, processed meat and sweetened beverages can
help prevent kidney stones.
If you are concerned about the health of your
kidneys, do not forget to include these superfoods
in your diet to promote kidney health.
When suffering from any kidney problem though, make
sure you consult your doctor or nutritionist to
determine your proper diet dependig on your overall
health and kidney function.
12. Red grapes
The color in red grapes comes from several
flavonoids. These are good for your heart, because
they prevent oxidation and reduce the chance of
blood clots. One flavonoid in grapes, resveratrol,
may boost production of nitric oxide, which
increases muscle relaxation in blood vessels for
better blood flow. Flavonoids also help protect you
from cancer and prevent inflammation.
Choose those with red or purple skin grapes for the
highest flavonoid content. Eat grapes as a snack.
When frozen, they make a good thirst-quencher for
those on a fluid-restricted diet. Add grapes to
fruit or chicken salad. Or drink grape juice.