Vegetables That Are Good for Kidneys

by Tracey Roizman, D.C., Demand Media
    Potassium in green, leafy vegetables helps your kidneys maintain proper fluid balance.

    Potassium in green, leafy vegetables helps your kidneys maintain proper fluid balance.

    Your kidneys work nonstop filtering blood to produce about 1.5 quarts of urine each day, one-third of which is formed during the night. In addition to a generous supply of water, your kidneys require a variety of nutrients, many of which are found in commonly consumed vegetables. Knowing a bit about the contribution of these vegetables to your healthy kidneys may inspire you to include them in your diet regularly.

    Vegetarian Diet

    A plant-based diet can keep your kidneys functioning at their best and help prevent kidney disease, according to nutritionist Joan Brookhyser Hogan, author of "The Vegetarian Diet for Kidney Disease: Preserving Kidney Function With Plant-Based Eating." Vegetarian diets are generally lower in fat and higher in nutrients that prevent kidney disease than meat-based diets. Additionally, the amino acids in plant proteins are easier for the kidneys to process. This results in less stress on the kidneys to filter them, decreased leakage of protein into the urine and improved blood pressure management.

    Garlic and Onions

    Garlic and onions are good kidney-cleansing foods, according to naturopath Linda Page, author of the book "Healthy Healing -- 12th Edition: A Guide to Self-Healing for Everyone." A laboratory animal study published in the 2011 issue of the journal "Renal Failure" found that garlic extract may protect the kidneys against oxidative stress in chronic renal failure and other inflammatory kidney conditions. In the study, garlic extract reduced levels of inflammatory markers and inhibited white blood cell levels from rising. Researchers concluded that garlic supplementation may be useful for reducing oxidative damage in kidney disease. Further studies are needed to confirm these preliminary results.

    Cucumbers

    Cucumbers offer pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory and diuretic benefits and may also be good for repairing kidney damage associated with kidney stone formation, according to a laboratory animal study published in the July-September 2011 issue of the journal "Ancient Science of Life." In the study, cucumber restored depleted antioxidant levels to normal and reduced levels of malondialdehyde, a compound produced from oxidation of lipids. Cucumbers also promote the release of excess uric acid, which can crystallize and form kidney stones, and are high in potassium, making them helpful for managing blood pressure.

    Green Leafy Vegetables

    Green, leafy vegetables are rich in potassium for healthy blood pressure and other nutrients that help prevent kidney stone formation. Spinach, Swiss chard and kale are all excellent sources of vitamin A, which is necessary for production of healthy epithelial tissues, which line the many small filtration tubes within the kidneys and urinary tract. Additionally, according to a study published in the 2012 issue of the "Japanese Journal of Clinical Immunology," retinoic acid, a molecule that the body produces from vitamin A, can help reduce kidney inflammation and may replace conventional steroid anti-inflammatory drugs for patients with chronic kidney inflammation associated with lupus, an autoimmune disorder that often attacks the kidneys.

    About the Author

    Tracey Roizman has been a writer and speaker on natural and preventive health care since 1995. She holds a B.S. in nutritional biochemistry and a doctor of chiropractic degree, and is a postgraduate diplomate in chiropractic functional neurology.

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