Your kidneys are a major filtration system for the body, filtering your blood and releasing excess electrolytes in your urine. Maintaining good kidney health is important, and if you've been diagnosed with kidney disease or are experiencing advanced kidney disease, your diet is important to maintain your energy levels and slow kidney disease progression. Always speak with your physician before altering your diet when you have kidney disease or kidney health concerns.
Certain foods contain healing properties that can help prevent damage to your body’s cells. These particles are called antioxidants and are able to fight against free radicals that can contribute to chronic diseases, such as kidney disease. Even if you are on dialysis, you can enjoy these inflammation-fighting super foods, which include red bell peppers, cabbage or cauliflower. These vegetables are packed with vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant. They also are low in potassium, a mineral the kidneys are responsible for filtering.
Your kidneys filter potassium and phosphorus, which are two compounds commonly found in many fruits. This doesn't mean you have to skip out on all fruits when you are being good to your kidneys. You can enjoy apples, which are high in fiber and help keep your cholesterol levels low. Berries, such as cranberries, can prevent urinary tract infections and blueberries contain manganese, which helps build healthy bones.
Phosphorus is a compound your kidneys filter and it affects calcium balance. If your kidneys cannot function properly and excess phosphorus builds up in your bloodstream, this can affect the amount of calcium in your bones, weakening them, according to MayoClinic.com. Foods lower in phosphorus and more kidney-friendly for your diet include rice milk, green peas, winter squash and tomatoes.
Fresh Is Best
Whenever possible, choose fresh food choices for a more kidney-friendly diet. Processed and pre-packaged foods are high in sodium, which your kidneys are responsible for filtering, according to the American Association of Kidney Patients. By reducing your sodium intake, your kidneys have to do less work. Examples of kidney-friendly substitutions include limiting processed meats such as corned beef, ham, bologna and hot dogs in favor of lean, fresh protein sources. Avoid salt substitutes, however, because they are high in potassium. As an added benefit, fresh food sources are low in calories and can help you maintain a healthy weight and keep your blood pressure low.
Rachel Nall began writing in 2003. She is a former managing editor for custom health publications, including physician journals. She has written for The Associated Press and "Jezebel," "Charleston," "Chatter" and "Reach" magazines. Nall is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Tennessee.