As far as organs go, kidneys don’t get a whole lot of attention. This duo of bean-shaped organs serve an important function.
Every day, they work together to filter between 120 and 150 quarts of blood. When filtering the blood, they remove toxins that are then released from your body through urination, reminds the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Health. Although they are only about the size of a fist, these small organs pack a powerful punch. Given all they do, shouldn’t you try your best to keep them healthy?
It turns out that caring for your kidneys can be as simple as eating the right foods. When you’re planning your daily diet, aim to include a collection of kidney-bolstering items in your menu. This will give your kidneys the thanks they deserve.
Good, old dependable water may seem simple, but taking in enough of it is critical to kidney health. By drinking throughout the day – particularly when the weather is warm – you can keep your body hydrated and allow your kidneys to keep on filtering out toxins. If your kidneys aren’t performing up to snuff and you’ve been diagnosed with kidney disease, speak to your doctor before upping your water intake as drinking too much water can also prove problematic.
As the name suggests, summer favorite watermelon offers many of the same benefits as the beverage from which it gets its moniker. Watermelon is a diuretic, which means it helps you produce urine. Because urine carries toxins away from the kidneys, anything that helps produce urine will aid in keeping your kidneys functioning at their peak.
While it’s not yet clear if an apple a day can really keep the doctor away, these crunchy produce department favorites do offer some benefits to your kidneys. Along with being rich in fiber, apples have anti-inflammatory properties that help your kidneys function even better.
Dark and delicious berries are as good for your kidneys as they are tasty. These antioxidant powerhouses help remove excess uric acid from the kidneys, which keeps them functioning better. While any kind of berry can prove helpful to your kidneys, cranberries and blueberries are slightly better than their cousins. These deep and rich berries contain an added substance that allows them to remove the uric acid even better, helping you keep those kidneys in tip-top shape.
5. Red Bell Peppers
If you want to jazz up your dish and reward your kidneys for all of their hard work simultaneously, add red bell peppers to your diet. Along with being rich in vitamins A, C and B6, red bell peppers are low in potassium, which makes them great for your kidneys. You can get your fix by munching on cool and crispy strips or by adding red bell peppers to a variety of dishes.
Another versatile food that is great for your kidneys is mushrooms. Mushrooms are rich in Vitamin D, which makes them ideal for kidney health. In studies, vitamin D has been tied to the prevention of kidney disease and improved kidney function. You can consume your mushrooms raw or make downing them even easier by adding them to your favorite recipes.
Making up for in nutrient value what it lacks in color, cauliflower is a wonderful dietary addition for those concerned about their kidneys. This veggie offers heavy doses of vitamin C, folate and fiber. It also contains compounds that help neutralize toxins within your body. Cauliflower is an easy vegetable to add to your diet because you can enjoy it in so many different ways. Whether you steam it and put it next to your protein at dinnertime or chunk it up and crunch on it during your afternoon break at work, you’ll reap the same rewards.
This key coleslaw component is loaded with helpful phytochemicals. These compounds perform a variety of beneficial functions, including promoting cardiovascular health. Low in potassium, this veggie is rich in vitamins K and C and fiber, making it a kidney-health superhero. You can take advantage of these benefits regardless of whether you eat your cabbage raw or cooked.
It’s not just a garnish. Parsley is actually a surprisingly powerful ally to the kidneys. This herb helps your body flush toxins from your kidneys, keeping you feeling great. It can also help treat and prevent kidney stones and urinary tract infections, working to maintain the proper functioning of your entire system.
Another green food that is great for your kidneys is kale. Along with offering vitamins A and C in abundance, kale is rich in iron. Not only does maintaining proper levels of iron help maintain ideal kidney function, it also aids those with kidney disease as many people who struggle with this disorder are iron-deficient.
11. Lemons And Lemon Juice
Pucker up, sweetheart. Both lemons and lemon juice can help keep your kidneys healthy. Nutrients found in lemons help prevent the development of kidney stones. While there are lots of great ways to get your lemon fix, one of the easiest is to add lemon juice or lemon slices to the water you’re already drinking. Not only does this practice get you the lemon exposure you need, it also gives your water a little zing that can make continuing to sip away a bit more tempting.
12. Pumpkin Seeds
If you’re tossing your jack-o-lantern innards into the trash, you’re doing your kidneys a disservice. Like lemons, these fall favorites reduce the likelihood of kidney stone development, keeping your kidneys feeling great and functioning well. Whether you roast them and enjoy them as a snack or use them to add crunch atop a salad, you’ll be able to reap these rewards.
Along with providing a filling and nutritious way to start your day, oatmeal offers benefits to your kidneys. The oats from which oatmeal is primarily made contain iron and B6. Both of these nutrients can help you avoid kidney stone development. This food is particularly helpful to those with chronic kidney disease as it can aide in preventing nutrient depletion.
Although it may not make you the most kissable person, garlic offers loads of benefits to your kidneys. The consumption of garlic has been tied to reducing inflammation and lowering cholesterol, both of which will benefit your kidneys. Garlic also has antioxidant and anti-clotting properties, which help keep your circulation system running smoothly and allow your kidneys to do what they do best.
Whether baked into a cookie or used to liven up a savory dish, ginger can pack a flavor punch. As an added benefit, this spice cabinet staple also contains an assortment of antioxidants that have proven to keep kidneys functioning properly. Because this spice is so versatile, it’s an easy one to add to some of your favorite foods if you’re eager to reap these rewards.