Kidney-Friendly Superfoods And Foods To Avoid
The kidneys filter waste products from the blood and send them out of the body in the urine. They are also responsible for balancing fluid and electrolyte levels.
The kidneys perform these tasks with no outside help. Several conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, may affect their ability to function.
Ultimately, damage to the kidneys may lead to chronic kidney disease. As the authors of a 2016 article note, diet is the most significant risk factor for CKD-related death and disability, making dietary changes a key part of treatment.
Following a kidney-healthy diet plan may help the kidneys function properly and prevent damage to these organs. However, although some foods generally help support a healthy kidney, not all of them are suitable for people who have kidney disease.
Water is the most important drink for the body. The cells use water to transport toxins into the bloodstream.
The kidneys then use water to filter these toxins out and to create the urine that transports them out of the body.
A person can support these functions by drinking whenever they feel thirsty.
Salmon, tuna, and other cold-water, fatty fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids can make a beneficial addition to any diet.
The body cannot make omega-3 fatty acids, which means that they have to come from the diet. Fatty fish are a great natural source of these healthful fats.
As the National Kidney Foundation note, omega-3 fats may reduce fat levels in the blood and also slightly lower blood pressure. As high blood pressure is a risk factor for kidney disease, finding natural ways to lower it may help protect the kidneys.
Sweet potatoes are similar to white potatoes, but their excess fiber may cause them to break down more slowly, resulting in less of a spike in insulin levels. Sweet potatoes also contain vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, that may help balance the levels of sodium in the body and reduce its effect on the kidneys.
However, as sweet potato is a high-potassium food, anyone who has CKD or is on dialysis may wish to limit their intake of this vegetable.MEDICAL NEWS TODAY NEWSLETTERStay in the know. Get our free daily newsletter
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Dark leafy greens
Dark leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, and chard, are dietary staples that contain a wide variety of vitamins, fibers, and minerals. Many also contain protective compounds, such as antioxidants.
However, these foods also tend to be high in potassium, so they may not be suitable for people on a restricted diet or those on dialysis.
Dark berries, which include strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, are a great source of many helpful nutrients and antioxidant compounds. These may help protect the cells in the body from damage.
Berries are likely to be a better option than other sugary foods for satisfying a sweet craving.
An apple is a healthful snack that contains an important fiber called pectin. Pectin may help reduce some risk factors for kidney damage, such as high blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Apples can also often satisfy a sweet tooth.
Foods to avoid
There are several foods that people should avoid if they want to improve their kidney health or prevent damage to these organs.
These include the following:
Too much phosphorus can put stress on the kidneys. Research has shown that there is a correlation between high phosphorous intake and an increased risk of long-term damage to the kidneys.
However, there is not enough evidence to prove that phosphorous causes this damage, so more research into this topic is necessary.
For people looking to reduce their phosphorous intake, foods high in phosphorous include:
- dairy products
- most grains
Some types of protein may be harder for the kidneys, or the body in general, to process. These include red meat.
Initial research has shown that people who eat a lot of red meat have a higher risk of end-stage kidney disease than those who eat less red meat. However, there is a need for more studies to investigate this risk.