A healthy kidney is as important as a healthy heart. Kidneys filter out the waste and extra water, and remove harmful toxins from the body in the form of urine. In addition, kidneys help maintain a balance of electrolytes and other fluids in your body.
Kidney problems can cause difficulty urinating, puffiness around the eyes, and swollen feet and hands. A person who has kidney problems is also at higher risk of developing heart disease.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, more than 26 million adults in America suffer from some kind of kidney disease.
Eating the right foods help organs, including your kidneys, function properly. Certain superfoods rich in antioxidants like flavonoids, lycopene, beta-carotene and vitamin C promote kidney health.
Antioxidants can help slow or stop the rate of oxidation caused by free radicals, which is one of the main causes of kidney problems.
Here are the top 10 superfoods for healthy kidneys.
Cabbage improves kidney functioning and is most commonly used as a natural medicine to repair and nourish the kidneys. It is an essential food for anyone suffering from kidney problems.
Cabbage is packed with phytochemicals that help break up free radicals before they can do damage. Also, it is high in vitamins B6, C and K, along with fiber and folic acid. Low in potassium, cabbage makes a great addition to a dialysis diet. You can enjoy this vegetable steamed or boiled.
Being excellent sources of manganese, vitamin C, fiber and folate, different types of berries like strawberries, cranberries, raspberries and blueberries are good for your kidneys. The antioxidant as well as anti-inflammatory properties in these berries help reduce inflammation and improve bladder functioning.
You can choose fresh, frozen or dried berries and eat them raw or add them to your favorite cereal or smoothie to promote kidney health.
Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation in the body and hence protect the kidneys from various diseases. Also, fish is a good source of high quality protein.
According to a 2008 study published in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases, consumption of fish helps lower abnormal levels of protein in urine in people suffering from diabetics.
The types of fish that are best for the kidneys are salmon, rainbow trout, mackerel, herring and tuna. The American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association recommend having two to three servings of fish each week. You must eat steamed, baked or roasted fish instead of fried fish to reduce kidney problems.
4. Egg Whites
Egg whites are recommended for people with kidney disease due to their low phosphorous content and high quality protein. High quality protein contains an essential amino acid, which is necessary for the kidneys to function properly.
At the same time, when high quality protein is metabolized in the body it produces less waste product. You can use egg whites to make omelets or sandwiches or eat hard-boiled eggs without the yolk.
People with kidney problems should avoid eating egg yolks. High protein intake, too, is not recommended as it can cause extra burden on the kidneys.
5. Olive Oil
Olive oil is good for your heart as well as your kidneys. This oil is a great source of oleic acid, anti-inflammatory fatty acids that lower oxidation and promote kidney health. Also, it is rich in polyphenols and antioxidant compounds that prevent inflammation and oxidation.
Virgin and extra virgin olive oil contain higher amounts of antioxidants than regular olive oil, so use one of those to get the most health benefits. You can use olive oil to make salad dressing and in your everyday cooking. It’s also good for dipping bread or marinating fish or vegetables.
Garlic has antioxidants and anticlotting properties that can effectively reduce the chances of kidney disease as well as heart disease.
Eating one to two raw garlic cloves daily on an empty stomach can greatly reduce bad cholesterol levels and inflammation in the body.
It also protects the kidneys from the potentially harmful effects of heavy metals. You can use fresh, bottled, minced or powdered garlic in your dishes to add aroma and flavor as well as health benefits.