7 Best Foods to Support Kidney Function

Your kidneys provide vital service to your body — they filter waste from your blood and send it to your bladder. They also regulate blood pressure, manage water reabsorption, control the acidity in the body, and balance electrolyte levels. Considering their importance, eating a diet to promote kidney health could be one of the best things you can do. The following seven foods will support your kidneys and make their job easier.

 Human Kidney

1. Cherries

These tasty little fruits help reduce redness and swelling and contain a healthy amount of vitamin C as well as vitamin K, folate, vitamin B6, magnesium, and citrate. The tarter the cherry, the higher the level of citrate. Citrate reduces uric acid in the blood stream which can lead to gout and arthritis. [1] Those who eat cherries have been found to have lower uric acid levels and a lower risk of gout attacks. [2]

2. Cranberries

Cranberries also offer high levels of vitamin C and manganese. Women have traditionally used it to fight off UTIs. Recent research has found pure cranberry juice (not the sugary stuff) diluted in water reduced urinary levels of oxalate and phosphate which reduce the formation of kidney stones. [3]

3. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is known for its ability to help regulate glucose levels. This can help the body manage glucose better and offer protection from blood sugar disorders. Excess glucose that results from diabetes can cause damage to the kidneys. Another study confirmed that cinnamon can be used as a supplement without concern for increased oxalate risk. [4]

4. Fish

Fish provides a high quality and dense protein. The omega-3 fats found in fish provide remedies to redness and swelling. These omega-3, unsaturated fats help digest several vitamins and minerals and provides a quality energy source.

5. Olive Oil

Like fish, olive oil provides a healthy serving of nutrient dense, unsaturated fats. Olive oil is also the basis for the ‘Mediterranean Diet.’ A recent study found individuals suffering from chronic kidney disease who adopted this diet experienced improvements in both symptoms and survival. [5] The active components in olives improve the life of those suffering from chronic kidney disease and will certainly provide kidney support to those looking to maintain kidney health.

6. Java Tea

Also known as Orthosiphon stamineus, this herb has been a standard of folk medicine for a long time. It has typically been used for kidney disorders. A recent study has confirmed it to support the kidneys, as well as the liver and gastro-intestinal tract. It also offers potentials for blood sugar stabilization, antioxidant protection, and blood pressure stabilization. [6]

7. Onions (and garlic!)

Both onions and garlic contain quercitin. Quercitin is a powerful flavonoid associated with antioxidant benefits and potency against redness and irritation. Research has found quercitin helps provide a protection against kidney damage for smokers. [7] For non-smokers, the bonus protection provided by quercitin combined with improved fat metabolism helps protect the body’s filters.

If you enjoy these foods regularly, know that you’re doing your kidneys a favor. If you’re looking for ways to improve kidney function, adding these foods to your diet can help!

Did I miss a food that you eat to support your kidneys? Please weigh in and leave a comment below!

-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM

References:

  1. Saito J, Matsuzawa Y, Ito H, Omura M, Ito Y, Yoshimura K, Yajima Y, Kino T, Nishikawa T. The alkalizer citrate reduces serum uric Acid levels and improves renal function in hyperuricemic patients treated with the xanthine oxidase inhibitor allopurinol. Endocr Res. 2010;35(4):145-54. doi: 10.3109/07435800.2010.497178.
  2. Zhang Y, Neogi T, Chen C, Chaisson C, Hunter DJ, Choi HK. Cherry consumption and decreased risk of recurrent gout attacks. Arthritis Rheum. 2012 Dec;64(12):4004-11. doi: 10.1002/art.34677.
  3. McHarg T, Rodgers A, Charlton K. Influence of cranberry juice on the urinary risk factors for calcium oxalate kidney stone formation. BJU Int. 2003 Nov;92(7):765-8.
  4. Tang M, Larson-Meyer DE, Liebman M. Effect of cinnamon and turmeric on urinary oxalate excretion, plasma lipids, and plasma glucose in healthy subjects. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 May;87(5):1262-7.
  5. Huang X, Jiménez-Moleón JJ, Lindholm B, Cederholm T, Arnlöv J, Risérus U, Sjögren P, Carrero JJ. Mediterranean Diet, Kidney Function, and Mortality in Men with CKD. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2013 Jun 6.
  6. Ameer OZ, Salman IM, Asmawi MZ, Ibraheem ZO, Yam MF. Orthosiphon stamineus: traditional uses, phytochemistry, pharmacology, and toxicology. J Med Food. 2012 Aug;15(8):678-90. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2011.1973. Epub 2012 Jun 25.
  7. Wilson RT, Wang J, Chinchilli V, Richie JP, Virtamo J, Moore LE, Albanes D. Fish, vitamin D, and flavonoids in relation to renal cell cancer among smokers. Am J Epidemiol. 2009 Sep 15;170(6):717-29. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwp178. Epub 2009 Aug 3.

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