The kidneys are vital organs at the back of the abdominal cavity. They are responsible for filtering the blood, a very important process that allows waste products to be eliminated through urine production. In addition, the kidneys ensure the balance between the fluids in the body and regulate blood pressure. The kidneys also produce certain hormones and the active form of vitamin D.
Chronic kidney disease can severely impact patients’ quality of life, sometimes turning into irreversible chronic kidney failure. This requires intervention in lifestyle and dietary habits, as well as regular monitoring of certain blood parameters (high creatinine levels).
Here are some general nutrition tips to follow to maintain the health of these vital organs.
What’s good for the kidneys?
What’s good for kidney health? In general, the Mediterranean-style diet is good for maintaining kidney health. It is therefore necessary to consume whole grains every day, as well as legumes (lentils, chickpeas, lupins, etc.) several times a week. Animal protein sources, white meat, and fresh or frozen fish are preferred. It should be taken several times a week.
Seasonal fruits and vegetables provide many antioxidants, which are important for maintaining kidney health, as well as many beneficial nutrients such as vitamin C and vitamin B6. Therefore, its consumption is recommended. Nuts and oilseeds can be consumed in moderation. The same goes for olive oil, which should be extra virgin and consumed in the right portions. Adequate water intake is also very important.
It is well known that high blood pressure is associated with long-term kidney failure. A high-sodium diet that raises blood pressure is bad for the kidneys. For this reason, it is necessary to limit the addition of table salt and, in general, the consumption of all foods that contain excess salt. This includes processed meats and pickles, as well as aged cheeses, sauces (eg, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, etc.), and processed foods.
Individuals prone to kidney stone formation must also limit oxalate-containing foods (eg, found in beets, spinach, and cocoa) and, in the case of uric acid stones, purine-containing foods (eg, anchovies, sardines, asparagus, etc.).
Top 10 foods for kidney health
Here are 10 commonly used foods that have been shown to be effective in maintaining kidney health.
Mineral-rich water can be called real food. Located at the base of the food pyramid, it performs various functions in the body and contributes to daily mineral absorption.
So how much water should be consumed each day? The amounts needed vary depending on certain factors such as gender and age, as well as lifestyle, physical activity and climate. In general, two liters of water is the perfect amount for a healthy adult.
Radishes, which have a distinctive flavor and crunchy texture, have interesting nutritional value and are low-calorie and high-water vegetables. They provide ingredients such as potassium and vitamin C as well as bioactive components such as isothiocyanates and carotenoids.
Radishes are among the foods beneficial for maintaining kidney health as they have significant cleansing and antioxidant properties.
3. Pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds are oilseeds with interesting properties. In addition to polyunsaturated fatty acids, vegetable proteins and fiber such as potassium, magnesium and zincminerals and B vitamins from vitamin E you appear. They also contain carotenoids, which are powerful antioxidants.
Consuming pumpkin seeds prevents the formation of kidney stones caused by calcium oxalate.
So how much pumpkin seeds should be eaten to keep kidneys healthy? 10 g (about a tablespoon) of this nutrient per day is a sufficient amount.
Rich in water and antioxidants, fennel is one of the vegetables that are good for the kidneys. Thanks to the antioxidants it contains, consuming fennel not only prevents cell aging and oxidative stress, but also initiates an effective detoxification process in the body and improves kidney health.
Fennel is perfect to eat raw in standard portions of around 200g or even several times a week.
5. Olive oil
Olive oil, which is one of the most important nutrients in the Mediterranean diet, is also good for the kidneys. Thanks to its unique composition of monounsaturated fats, polyphenols and vitamins, olive oil is very beneficial for the human body.
Olive oil, which contains powerful antioxidants, is a food that has protective effects on kidney health. The best way to reap the benefits of olive oil is to consume it raw with seasonal dishes. In addition, it requires a conscious and careful consumption, since it is very high in calories. 2 or 3 tablespoons per day is usually the recommended amount.
Among the various sources of complex carbohydrates, buckwheat is a pseudocereal with excellent nutritional properties. It is also a plant-based source of essential amino acids, as well as fiber, B vitamins and bioactive substances. It also contains various minerals such as magnesium, potassium, calcium and zinc.
Thanks to the nutrients it contains and the antioxidant potential, buckwheat is one of the good foods for kidney health. In terms of consumption, buckwheat is on par with the most common types of grain. It can be included in the diet several times a week, with one serving being about 80 grams.
Pomegranate, which has a unique appearance and taste, is gaining more and more popularity among healthy eating trends. Kidney health may also benefit from eating this fruit thanks to its high vitamin C content and other powerful antioxidant compounds. Also noteworthy is the content of citric acid, a substance that prevents the formation of uric acid stones.
Pomegranate is a fruit with purifying properties. A standard serving of pomegranate is approximately 150 grams. You can also extract the juice from this fruit, but it’s better to eat it whole. Consumption of this fruit can also be included in the diet several times a week.
Cauliflower is a beneficial food for overall health and also helps keep kidneys healthy. Its consumption brings fiber, water and a variety of micronutrients, including potassium, phosphorus, calcium and magnesium, as well as vitamins A, C and K. It also has some bioactive components such as sulforaphane.
In general, consumption of this vegetable improves kidney health by promoting toxin elimination and free radical removal. Consumption of cauliflower should be included in a varied and balanced diet, alternating with different seasonal vegetables. A standard serving of cauliflower is around 200 grams.
Onions, which are known for their pungent smell and unique taste, are also among the good nutrients for kidney health. Thanks to the vitamin C and vitamin B6 content, as well as anthocyanins and quercetin, onions should be part of the diet for the kidneys.
Onions can be combined with other foods (tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.) and added, for example, to salads or between sauces and sandwiches.
Lupine is a legume with its own properties. They are high in plant-based protein and fiber, while their fat content is low. Lupine provides minerals and some vitamins. Lupine provides vitamin B6, a deficiency of which can lead to the formation of kidney stones.
As with other legumes, the standard portion for cooked lupins is about 150 grams, for dried lupins – 50 grams. It should be included in the weekly diet, alternating with other legumes.