Kidney disease: 15 Super Foods to Help You Out
More than 26 million Americans suffer from CKD (chronic kidney disease) which means America has a serious bladder issue that boils down to more than just not drinking enough water. Kidney disease is strongly linked to other major health issues such as diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure) and heart disease.
It can also be genetically developed and may come with health risks of its own. Many people who suffer obesity, autoimmune disease or urinary tract infections (UTI’s) may also develop kidney disease within their lifetime.
Anytime an overall strain is put on the body, the kidneys also take a major hit. Common signs of kidney problems include frequent urination, problems urinating, pain, burning, or constant thirst.
1. Red bell peppers
Red bell peppers are a good choice for those concerned about kidney health, because they’re low in potassium. In addition, they add color and taste to any dish, while packing a generous portion of vitamins A, C, B6, folic acid and fiber. They also contain the antioxidant lycopene, which protects against certain types of cancer.
If you’re following the kidney diet, it’s easy to add red bell peppers to your food plan. Mix them into tuna or chicken salad or eat raw with dip. Roasted, they’re great for topping sandwiches or green salads. Chop them up for use in egg dishes, such as omelets or scrambled eggs, add them to kabobs for grilling or stuff them with a ground beef or turkey mixture for a tasty baked entrée.
Crunchy cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable filled with phytochemicals, chemical compounds found in certain fruits and vegetables. Phytochemicals work to break apart free radicals. Many phytochemicals are believed to combat cancer and support cardiovascular health.
Inexpensive cabbage is a great addition to your eating plan, because it’s also high in vitamins K and C, high in fiber and a good source of vitamin B6 and folic acid, yet it’s low in potassium, so it’s especially kidney-friendly.
If you’re following the dialysis diet, add cabbage by turning it into coleslaw or use as a topping for fish tacos. Cabbage can be boiled, steamed or microwaved and then enjoyed with a touch of butter or cream cheese and a sprinkling of pepper or caraway seeds. Other nutritious meal options include cabbage rolls and stuffed cabbage.
Another kidney-friendly super food is cauliflower. This cruciferous vegetable brings lots of vitamin C to your plate, along with folate and fiber. In addition it contains compounds that help your liver neutralize toxic substances.
Cauliflower can be eaten raw with dip or in salads. Steamed or boiled, it can be seasoned and turned into a great side dish. You can even mash cauliflower as a dialysis-friendly replacement for mashed potatoes.
Garlic is good for reducing inflammation and lowering cholesterol. It also has antioxidant and anti-clotting properties. (Cooking garlic will not affect its antioxidant properties, but it will reduce its anti-clotting and anti-inflammatory effects.)
If you’re following the dialysis diet, use garlic powder instead of garlic salt to add extra flavor to your meals without adding extra sodium. Garlic can be used in cooking many dishes: meat, vegetables or tomato sauce, for instance. Once you start cooking with garlic, you’ll wonder how you ever got along without it.
Another popular food used for seasoning is the onion. Onion is full of flavonoids, particularly quercetin. Flavonoids are natural chemicals that prevent the deposit of fatty material in blood vessels and add pigmentation (color) to plants. Quercetin is a powerful antioxidant that is believed to help reduce heart disease and protect against many forms of cancer. It also has anti-inflammatory properties.
Low in potassium, onions are not only kidney-friendly; they also contain chromium, a mineral that assists your body with the metabolism of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Onions can be enjoyed raw or cooked in a variety dishes.
An apple a day really does help keep the doctor away! High in fiber and anti-inflammatory properties, apples help reduce cholesterol, prevent constipation, protect against heart disease and decrease your risk of cancer.
Renal-friendly apples can be eaten raw or cooked. Or get their health benefits by drinking apple juice or cider.
Cranberries are great for preventing urinary tract infections, because they make urine more acidic and help keep bacteria from attaching to the inside of the bladder. They’ve also been shown to protect against cancer and heart disease.
Although we think of cranberries as a holiday side dish, cranberry juice can be enjoyed daily for added nutrition. Or toss a handful of dried cranberries into your cereal or salad.
These tasty berries get their blue color from antioxidant compounds called anthocyanidins. Blueberries get high marks for nutrition, thanks to natural compounds that reduce inflammation and lots of vitamin C and fiber. They also contain manganese, which contributes to healthy bones. Use blueberries to top off your morning cereal, whip them up in a fruit smoothie or enjoy them in a baked treat, such as muffins or crisp.