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15 Best Foods for Kidney Health

Water

Water is essential to life and crucial to overall health., which is why it comes as no surprise that water aids kidney function. Kidneys, which filter out waste through urination, require water intake. They are able to work more efficiently when the body is properly hydrated. This is because water encourages an increase in perspiration and urination.

Water also allows blood vessels to open up so that blood can travel easier through the body and to the kidneys. And when this occurs, essential nutrients are able to reach their destination quicker. Many studies have declared that the kidneys are absolutely able to function more efficiently when the body is hydrated rather than dehydrated.

Fatty Fish

One of the best foods for kidney health is fatty fish. Tuna, salmon, and other cold-water fish are beneficial to any diet, including a diet that is aiming to help the kidneys. This is because fatty fish are high in omega-3 acids and these are nutrients that our body cannot make.

If eaten on a regular basis, these omega-3 fatty acids are able to reduce fat levels in the blood. This leads to the lowering of blood pressure, which helps protect kidneys. This is in opposition to the fact that high blood pressure is a risk for kidney disease.

Dark Leafy Greens

While all greens are considered healthy, dark leafy greens like kale are one of the most nutrient-dense plant foods. Kale contains a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It also contains protein, fiber, and amino-3 fatty acids.

All of the nutrients packed into kale are what make it a superfood. And because kale offers so many health benefits, it should be a food that everyone includes in their diet. Not only does it lower cholesterol, but it even reduces the risk of certain types of cancers. It also strengthens bones and protects against vision loss. Eat kale and all of your organs will thank you.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are recommended for those fighting for healthy kidneys. This is because these spuds contain high levels of potassium and fiber. They are also rich in vitamin A, B6, and C—which are wonderful nutrients. Eating sweet potatoes can lower blood pressure, repair damaged tissues, and help the body store energy.

Unfortunately, this food isn’t encouraged for those suffering from chronic kidney disease or those on dialysis. This is because of the high levels of potassium. The starchy vegetable should be limited or avoided in order to prevent further kidney damage.

Apples

Like all fruits, apples are full of nutrients and fibers. This is why they’re promoted as being healthy. They have a varied nutrient content that is believed to help prevent many different health conditions, including kidney disease. They also may reduce the risk of cancer, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

Science and health journals have proved that the many health benefits of apples are reason enough to eat them on a regular basis. If you don’t like eating them by themselves, cook them in the oven and sprinkle them with cinnamon. Or cut them up and dip them in peanut butter, almond butter, or caramel!

Blueberries

Blueberries are just one of many foods that are suggested and included in a diet for healthy kidneys. They contain anthocyanin, which is what makes them so good for you. This compound helps with heart health, diabetes management, blood pressure, bone strength, and more.

Because blueberries are associated with the reduction of many lifestyle-related illnesses and diseases, many people already eat them regularly. They’re delicious and can be eaten many ways. And if you’re tired of eating them plain, add them to your yogurt, oatmeal, cereal, or pancakes. Or mix them into your muffins, breads, or smoothies.

Strawberries

If you’re looking to add healthier foods to your diet, buy a package or two of strawberries. This sweet fruit is known for having major health benefits. This is because they’re known for their abundance of vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber. They’re also associated with anti-inflammatory properties, making them the perfect treat for healthy kidneys.

Although only blueberries and strawberries are mentioned on this list, all dark berries are recommended for healthy kidneys because they’re a great source of nutrients. Other options are cranberries, blackberries, raspberries, and boysenberries. They all are great substitutes for sugary sweets and can satisfy cravings.

Cauliflower

There are perks to eating cauliflower on a regular basis. Cauliflower, which is a cruciferous vegetable, is the perfect healthy side dish. And because it can be riced or mashed, it’s a great substitute for high-carb sides like rice and potatoes. It’s also a great snack because it can be dipped in hummus or a greek yogurt veggie dip.

Cauliflower is full of potassium, fiber, iron, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and vitamin K. Combined, these nutrients are known to do a number of positive things for the body. It has anti-inflammatory properties, aids in lowering risk of cancer, promotes good digestion, boosts energy levels, and increases blood flow. All of these things work together to keep kidneys healthy.

Plums

Because black plums are higher in antioxidants than red plums, they are better for you in terms of kidney health. They are nutritious and an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber.

There are many characteristics about black plums (and prunes and prune juice) that are said to reduce the risks of chronic diseases, like kidney disease. This is because plums have so many health benefits. They’re even low in calories, making them easy to add to your diet.

Cabbage

If you don’t already eat cabbage, don’t fret. It’s easy to add to your diet. It can be eaten raw, steamed, or boiled, and can be added to the majority of dishes, especially salads, soups, slaws, and stews. Like all cruciferous veggies, it has multiple health benefits.

It keeps inflammation in check, which is a common side effect associated with many diseases. It’s packed with vitamin C, which helps with the function of muscles and blood vessels. And it lowers blood pressure, which relaxes blood vessel walls and lowers the risk for disease and illness.

Eggs

Eggs are a tasty and inexpensive source of protein. While the yolk is included in the egg, it’s the egg whites that contain the majority of protein and vitamins. They raise HDL (high-density lipoprotein), which is often referred to as the “good” cholesterol. They also contain choline. Choline is a nutrient that many people don’t know about, but is important in the construction of cell membranes.

In addition, eggs are also known for their differing nutrient compositions. When grocery shopping, look for the different types of eggs. Some hens are raised on pasture and fed omega-3 enriched feed, which allows the eggs to have much higher levels of fatty acids. These fatty acids have many health benefits, including reduced blood levels.

Cranberry Juice

It’s likely you’ve heard that cranberry juice aids urinary tract infections. This is because cranberries are connected to kidney health. Cranberries are a good source of vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. It’s these nutrients that connect cranberries and cranberry juice to the kidneys.

If you don’t like cranberry juice or don’t know how to incorporate cranberry juice into your diet, many health advocates recommend adding regular cranberries to salad, cereal, oatmeal, or yogurt. It can also be baked into muffins, scones, or other baked goods.

Onions

Onions are a superfood for those concerned with kidney health and those fighting kidney disease. This is because onions contain antioxidants that protect the body. This is especially important for those already suffering from a kidney-related illness/issue. Onions, for example, help reduce inflammation and lower the risk for cardiovascular disease.

Quercetin, one of the more prominent antioxidants in onions, helps to prevent and protect against cancer and reduce the risk of heart disease. The consumption of this veggie has the potential to fight off chronic kidney disease as well. If you’re wanting to improve heart or kidney health, incorporate onions into your diet. Any type of onion will suffice—white, brown, red, or purple!

Eggplant

Eggplants are known for their variety of nutrients. Among those nutrients are low levels of potassium, sodium, and phosphorus. Because of this, eggplant is known for its relation to kidney health.

Diets that are low in potassium, sodium, and phosphorus are encouraged, making eggplant an ideal food to eat if you’re conscious of kidney health. They can be prepared and enjoyed in many ways. Try cooking eggplant on the grill, baking it in the oven, or sauteeing it on the stove.

Turnips

One of the easiest ways to improve kidney health is to be health-conscious. Making minor food swaps is an easy way to do this. If you don’t typically eat turnips—a food known for aiding kidney health—try using turnips as a replacement for vegetables that are high in potassium.

Potatoes and squash are just two of many veggies that don’t promote healthy kidneys. Using turnips in their place will increase your fiber and vitamin C intake. This switch is simple. Just roast, boil, or mash turnips as a side for your main dish and enjoy!

Red Grapes

Red grapes have the distinction of containing a ton of nutrition including Vitamin C and antioxidants called flavonoids that have been proven to reduce inflammation and provide protection from cancer.

They are also high in resveratrol that helps protect against complications associated with diabetes. These little powerhouses are great to freeze and eat as a snack or quenching thirst if your doctor has prescribed a fluid restrictive dialysis diet.

Garlic

It has been well documented by some of the earliest historians that garlic contains medicinal properties, including in civilizations such as Ancient Egypt, Babylon, and Rome. A delicious alternative to salt, garlic provides nutritional benefits at the same time.

It also gives foods a more satisfying, full flavor. In addition, garlic is a good source of manganese, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and contains sulfur compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties. Be sure not to take garlic in pill form as a supplement because this can alter kidney function.

Buckwheat

Many whole grains are high in phosphorus but buckwheat and other grains like barley are not. Buckwheat is a gluten-free grain that is highly nutritious, containing vitamin B, magnesium, iron, and fiber.

Popcorn and wild rice are other whole grains safe to incorporate into a renal diet. A 2002 study found that buckwheat inhibits the progression of renal failure.

Olive Oil

For those who have not been placed on a renal diet but may be worried about future diagnosis of kidney issues, olive oil has been found to help reduce your risk of developing chronic kidney disease in the future.

Olive oil is a healthy source of fat and it is phosphorus free—important in a renal diet. People with chronic kidney disease usually have trouble keeping weight on, which makes olive oil important since it’s high in calories as well as fat.

Skinless Chicken

Incorporating more white meat into your diet over dark meats will help decrease the amount of saturated fat in your diet, overall. A limited amount protein is necessary for some people with kidney issues—but we still must provide the body with an adequate amount of high-quality protein.

Skinless, chicken breast contains less saturated fat and cholesterol, less phosphorus, potassium, and less sodium than skin-on chicken. Choose fresh chicken rather than pre-made roasted chicken because premade chicken can contain large amounts of sodium and phosphorus.

Bell Peppers

Red, green, or yellow bell peppers can contain impressive amounts of nutrients like fiber, folate, and iron while being low in potassium. Loaded with vitamin C and A, one small red bell pepper contains 105% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C.

Full of flavor and a versatile food option, bell peppers contain helpful antioxidant compounds which help protect cells from damage. Red bell peppers will pack the most nutrition because they’ve been on the vine longest.

Arugula

The body needs potassium to help it maintain a normal blood pressure, however, foods too high in potassium are unhealthy for the kidneys. Arugula is a great substitute for other, higher potassium leafy greens.

Arugula is a nutrient-dense green that is low in potassium, and is a great source of vitamins A, C, and K, folate, manganese, and calcium. And if you were still wondering about the benefits of arugula, it also contains nitrates which have been shown to lower blood pressure—an important benefit for kidney patients.

Macadamia nuts

Most nuts are high in phosphorus but not macadamia nuts. These nuts are a delicious option for people with kidney problems. This is because they are loaded with healthy fats, B vitamins, magnesium, copper, iron, and manganese.

Many other benefits come stored in these tiny packages. Because of their nutritious value they can also help to lower heart disease risk, improve diabetes, may prevent cancer, protect the brain and help promote weight loss.

Pineapple

Low in potassium but rich in fiber, manganese, vitamin C, and bromelain—an enzyme that helps reduce inflammation—pineapples are also fat-free and contain less than 1 gram of protein per serving.

Pineapple juice, however, contains 160 mg of potassium in just a four-ounce serving, meaning you may want to avoid drinking too much if you’re on a limited potassium renal diet.

Shiitake mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms are a savory ingredient that can be used as a plant-based meat substitute for those on a renal diet who need to limit protein intake. They are an excellent source of B vitamins, copper, manganese and selenium.

In addition to providing a good amount of plant-based protein and dietary fiber to your diet, an added benefit of adding these fungi to your diet is that they are effective in also protecting liver cells from toxins.