Kidney health is extremely important as they serve many functions in the body. They are a main component of the urinary system as they are responsible for excreting wastes like urea and ammonium during urine production. The kidneys also help to maintain homeostasis by regulating electrolytes and keeping blood sugar steady. The kidneys also filter the blood and remove wastes as they reabsorb water, glucose and amino acids. Because of their many purposes, it is of the utmost importance to take good care of the kidneys with a healthy diet.
When thinking about the health of the kidneys, it is important to monitor the amount of sodium in the diet. To do this, try to avoid processed, canned or foods that utilize sodium for preservation, instead looking for no or low sodium versions of your favorite food. Try to prepare foods at home where you can keep track of how much added salt you are using rather than eating out at restaurants. Using herbs and spices instead of salt when cooking is another great way to keep your sodium intake to a minimum. By lowering your salt consumption, you are decreasing your risk of high blood pressure which is often associated with the development of kindey disease as well as preventing dehydration which puts stress on the kidneys.
Potassium helps regulate kidney function. Kidney failure could be related to a collection of potassium in the blood which can negatively affect the heart. In this case, it is best to avoid potassium rich foods including table salt, garlic, papaya, white bread and bananas.
Calcium is another mineral that should be monitored. Calcium is what causes a kidney stone to form. Calcium also works together with phosphorus and when phosphorus collects in the kidneys, calcium may also become low. Again, limiting foods that are high in phosphorus is important but adding more calcium in the form of tofu, spinach and broccoli is important. Dairy products are high in phosphorus and would have a counter-intuitive affect.
Those at risk for developing kidney disease should limit the amount of protein they consume. Eating too much protein can impair kidney function. Instead focusing on eating more vegetables and foods high in fiber can help the kidneys to eliminate excess proteins and toxins. Vegetables also help control blood pressure and weight which are two other factors responsible for kidney dysfunction.
Fluid intake should also be monitored. Kidneys becomes stressed when the body lacks water because they need it to filter and eliminate wastes and toxins through the urine. By drinking an appropriate amount of water and consuming fruits in vegetables that are high in water content such as watermelon and cucumbers, you can help to keep the kidneys working properly. Not drinking enough water can lead to urinary tract infections and kidney stones.
Weight is another important factor associated with kidney health. Calories are important for energy but should not be eaten in excess to avoid the risk of becoming overweight or obese. Kidney disease is more likely to plague a person who is not at a healthy weight. Diabetes and high blood pressure are other factors that put a person at a higher risk of contracting kidney disease. By keeping a healthy body mass index through diet and exercise, you can significantly lower your risk.
Some foods that are recommended for consumption on a healthy kidney diet include apples, iceberg lettuce, watermelon, cucumbers, tomatoes and zucchini because of their high water content; tofu, cottage cheese and egg substitutes as alternative sources of protein and green vegetables such as asparagus and green beans. Those with diabetes should be careful with the amount of carbohydrates they consume. Smoking also puts you at a much more elevated risk for kidney disease. Because of the ability of diet and lifestyle to affect the health of the kidneys, having your kidney function tested on a regular basis can prevent future kidney disease by giving you time to change your dietary habits.