World Kidney Day: Kidney Superfoods
The kidneys are one of the main organs of the body as they are responsible for removing toxins and waste as well as maintaining the body’s pH level. In celebration of World Kidney Day, we’re looking at foods that can help to ensure their optimal functionality.
If the kidneys are unable to properly function – this can lead to serious health issues such as kidney stones. Thus it is important to keep your kidneys healthy by feeding the body the right foods.
The body needs potassium to help it maintain normal blood pressure. Spinach and kale are great sources of potassium yet their content can be too high for those with kidney problems.
Arugula, or wild rocket as it is sometimes known, is low in potassium but high in vitamin K and other nitrates that help it lower blood pressure, which is important for kidney health(1).
Bell peppers, whether they’re red, yellow or green, are not only low in potassium but are loaded with a range of vitamins.
They’re rich in vitamin A which affects immune function. Furthermore, the peppers are also laden with folic acid and fiber which helps to better kidney function.
As berries are filled with antioxidants, they are able to ensure that the kidneys flush out toxins from the body.
Cranberries and blueberries are the berries of choice as they are rich in nutrients – reducing inflammation and improving the functioning of the bladder.
Cranberries, in particular, contain a nutrient that helps prevent infections by stopping bacteria from attaching itself to the walls of the bladder and urinary tract(2).
Egg-whites are a good kidney-friendly source of protein and are very low in phosphorus.
Furthermore, their protein content contains an amino acid that helps the kidneys to function properly. Once the protein is metabolized it produces fewer waste products as opposed to other sources of protein such as red meat.
High levels of salt can cause kidney problems, and individuals are advised to switch out their salt in favor of other herbs to flavor their food.
Garlic is a great alternative to being a good source of vitamin C and vitamin B6. Garlic also has anti-inflammatory properties that prevent inflammation of the kidney. It also fights against bacteria that can be potentially damaging to your kidneys.
Aside from being a great beauty ingredient, olive oil is also a great source of good fat. It’s great to cook with, makes a nice addition to salad dressings and works well as a marinade.
The monounsaturated fats found in olive oil contain anti-inflammatory properties. This type of fat helps to protect the kidneys against oxidation and olive oil also helps for kidney stones to pass much easier.
Another good source of protein would be fish. A study published in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases showed that eating fish helped to lower the levels of protein in urine in people suffering from diabetes.
Unfortunately, most fish are high in phosphorus which can be damaging for individuals with kidney problems. Sea bass, however, contains lower amounts of phosphorous when compared to other seafood and it’s rich in omega-3s which helps to reduce inflammation.