Almost a tenth of global population is down with kidney issues. These bean-shaped organs are vital to our survival. Apart from throwing out wastes and toxins from our body, they perform regulatory functions too. Hormones released by kidneys play a significant role in blood pressure regulations.
If you are suffering from other medical conditions like diabetes and blood pressure, your kidneys get affected in a negative way. In fact, if you can keep the above two diseases at bay, your kidney disorders will be addressed. Not only there are certain foods to avoid, but it is also essential you add certain foods to your diet to improve kidney function naturally.
Kidney functioning is dependent on lifestyle and genes you have inherited, your gender and age. An unhealthy lifestyle like smoking and lack of physical workouts leading to obesity can play havoc with your kidneys.
Basic thoughts to improve kidney function naturally:
A kidney-friendly diet is recommended so that waste build-up in your blood is little. Too much waste would put your kidneys under stress. It is important to keep certain mineral consumption under check like:
- Sodium: Kidneys find it hard to throw out excess sodium from the body, pushing your blood pressure up. Recommended level is 2000 mg per day.
- Potassium: To improve kidney function naturally, potassium consumption should be lower than 2000 mg per day.
- Phosphorus: It is an uphill task for weak kidneys to filter out excess phosphorus from body. Recommended level of intake is 800 to 1000 mg per day.
- Protein: Wastes generated from protein metabolism is not easily excreted by kidneys. Hence a limit should be imposed on protein intake too. Animal protein, mainly meat and chicken, should be taken in moderation.
The best diet:
To improve kidney functions naturally, here are certain foods that are highly beneficial for kidney health and can be considered the best diet for this purpose.
- Cauliflowers: It is very nutritious, containing vitamins C and K and B vitamin Folates. A cup will give you 19 mg sodium, 176 mg potassium and 40 mg phosphorus.
- Blueberries: Loaded with nutrients and antioxidants. The antioxidant anthocyanin present is good for heart, prevents specific types of cancers, diabetes and improves brain performance. A cup (148 gm) has 1.5 mg sodium, 114 mg potassium and 18mg phosphorus.
- Sea Bass: Rich in Omega 3 fats and quality protein. 85 gm of cooked sea bass holds 74mg sodium, 279mg potassium and 211 mg phosphorus.
- Red grapes: Don’t underestimate red grapes comparing them to green ones. They help improve kidney function naturally. Packed with vitamin C and antioxidant flavonoids, it has a remedial effect on inflammation. Half a cup (75gms) contains 1.5 mg sodium, 144 mg potassium and 15 mg phosphorus.
- Egg whites: Egg whites contain top quality protein that is not harmful to kidneys. It is good for patients on dialysis as their protein requirement is high for restricting phosphorus. Two large egg whites hold 110 mg of sodium, 108 mg of potassium and 10 mg of phosphorus.
- Garlic: To prevent dialysis, intake of salt is to be reduced to a negligible quantity. Garlic plays a substitute for salt. They are tasty, heart-friendly and nutritious. They add aroma to your food. These little cloves are loaded with vitamin C and B 6, manganese and sulfur compounds and have anti-inflammatory properties as well. Three cloves of garlic contain 1.5 mg sodium, 36 mg K and 14 mg phosphorus.
- Buckwheat: Buckwheat, unlike many whole grains, contains little quantity of kidney-damaging phosphorus. It also contains magnesium, generous quantities of vitamin B, iron and fiber. It is free from gluten, making it possible for consumption by people with gluten allergy. Half a cup holds 3.5 mg sodium, 74 mg potassium and 59 mg of phosphorus.
- Olive oil: It is kidney-friendly oil, containing mono-saturated fat called oelic acid with anti-inflammatory properties. An ounce packs 0.6 mg sodium and 0.3 mg potassium.
- Cabbage: Packed with vitamin C, K and a number of B vitamins, this nutrient rich vegetable contains only traces of sodium, potassium and phosphorus. 70 gm of diced cabbage holds 13 mg sodium, 119 mg potassium and 18 mg phosphorus.
- Skinless chicken: Contains high-quality protein and it is a healthy dietary recommendation for kidney patients. 84 gm of skinless chicken contains 63 mg sodium, 216 mg potassium and 192 mg phosphorus.
Mushrooms and certain floral species can improve kidney functions naturally:
Studies reveal members from the plant kingdom have beneficial impacts on kidney health. Here are a few examples:
- Dandelion: These yellow flowers have diuretic properties, enhancing kidney performance. They are a storehouse of antioxidants.
- Licorice: A study in 2014 found the presence of healthy compound glycyrrhizin in licorice which prevents injury to kidneys. It fights organ inflammation and improves kidney function.
- Milk thistle: A 2012 research revealed this plant kingdom member prevents kidneys from damage by Type 2 diabetes. Another study in 2016 found milk thistle helped kidneys in its detoxification function.
- Poria: This is a mushroom extensively used in ancient Chinese medicines. It has diuretic properties and facilitates urination. Aids in kidney metabolism, preventing damage to kidneys.
- Reishi: Reishi mushroom prevents kidneys from the onslaught of Type 2 diabetes. This was revealed in a 2014. It keeps kidneys free from toxin accumulation.
- Turkey tail: This is a colorful mushroom, protecting kidneys against inflammation. However, the efficacy of Turkey tail in blocking kidney damage is under investigation.
Lifestyle management needed to improve kidney function naturally:
The following tips are very helpful to sail through life with a healthy pair of kidneys. They also help prevent dialysis and delay its arrival. Here we go with few beneficial habits:
- Keep yourself hydrated by drinking adequate water. Avoid over drinking.
- Eat healthy. Wrong eating habits welcome high blood pressure and diabetes. According to an eminent Nephrologist, Dr Janes Simon, MD, if diabetes, weight and blood pressure are in control, your kidneys will be in great shape and form.
- Regularly exercise. Regular exercise is good – it keeps you trim with a healthy sugar and blood pressure count. But over exercise could impose unnecessary strain on kidneys.
- Stop smoking. Nicotine from smoking builds a sticky coat inside your blood vessels, not letting enough blood flow to your kidneys. This is harmful to kidney health.
Monitoring kidney health:
If you are a patient of diabetes and high blood pressure, it is advised you get a regular report on your kidney profile. Consulting with a specialist is the next obvious step.
Supplements and herbal medication:
Be very cautious and talk to the doctor if you are on vitamin supplements and herbal medicines. Indiscriminate use may damage your kidneys.
A few more thoughts on how to improve kidney function naturally:
- Kidneys are vital to your life for maintaining your BP level and expunging toxic wastes. It is high time we give deliberation to ways to improve kidney function naturally.
- Kidney disorder can be genetic. Ask your parents if you inherit that faulty gene. If yes, see a specialist for specific counseling.
- Vitamin D has a beneficial impact on kidney health. Low vitamin D causes kidney disorder. Sun is the best source of this vitamin. Stand for 15 minutes in the sun regularly to get adequate quantity of this vitamin.