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15 super foods for kidney health

Most of us know that eating a balanced diet is important for good health. Now scientists have pinpointed certain foods as super foods. In addition to promoting overall health, these are foods for kidney health as well. To understand why they're called super foods, we first have to understand oxidation and free radicals. Oxidation is a normal bodily process for producing energy and is part of many chemical changes in your body. However, it can sometimes lead to the production of molecules called free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that bounce wildly around inside your body, damaging proteins, genes and cell membranes. Free radicals are believed to contribute to aging and many chronic diseases, including cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer's disease. The good news is super foods contain antioxidants that help neutralize free radicals. Even in relatively low amounts, antioxidants can help slow or stop the rate of oxidation caused by free radicals. Examples of antioxidants include flavonoids, lycopene and vitamins C, E and beta-carotene.

Super foods for your kidneys

If you are on dialysis or have chronic kidney disease (CKD), you'll be glad to know that there are lots of super foods, containing antioxidants and other health-supporting properties, included in the kidney diet. People with kidney disease experience more inflammation and have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease than those without kidney problems. If you have kidney disease, it's important that you consult a renal dietitian and follow a kidney diet. Including super foods in your kidney diet eating plan can help you increase your intake of nutrients and antioxidants. Heres a list of the top 15 kidney-friendly super foods. These foods are good for everyone, not just people with kidney disease, so by using them in your family's meals, you'll be helping your loved ones enjoy good health too. 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 entre. 2. Cabbage 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. 3. Cauliflower 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. 4. Garlic 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.

5. Onion 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. 6. Apples An apple a day really does help keep the doctor away! High in fiber and antiinflammatory 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. 7. Cranberries 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. 8. Blueberries 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. 9. Raspberries Raspberries contain a compound called ellagic acid, which helps neutralize free radicals. The berry's red color comes from antioxidants called anthocyanins. Raspberries are packed with fiber, vitamin C and manganese. They also have plenty of folate, a B

vitamin. Raspberries have properties that help stop cancer cell growth and the formation of tumors. Sprinkle fresh raspberries on cereal, or whip them up in a kidney-friendly fruit smoothie. 10. Strawberries Strawberries are rich in two types of antioxidants, plus they contain lots of vitamin C, manganese and fiber. They have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties and also help keep your heart healthy. Like most berries, they're wonderful on cereal or in smoothies. Add whipped topping for a quick dessert, or puree them for a fresh addition to pound or angel food cake. 11. Cherries Cherries are filled with antioxidants and phytochemicals that protect your heart. When eaten daily, they have been shown to reduce inflammation. Fresh cherries make a delicious snack. Of course, cherry pie is a popular dessert, but there's also cherry crisp, cherry cheesecake and even cherry coffee cake. Cherry sauce makes a nice accompaniment to lamb or pork. 12. Red grapes The color in red grapes comes from several flavonoids. These are good for your heart, because they prevent oxidation and reduce the chance of blood clots. One flavonoid in grapes, resveratrol, may boost production of nitric oxide, which increases muscle relaxation in blood vessels for better blood flow. Flavonoids also help protect you from cancer and prevent inflammation. Choose those with red or purple skin grapes for the highest flavonoid content. Eat grapes as a snack. When frozen, they make a good thirst-quencher for those on a fluid-restricted diet. Add grapes to fruit or chicken salad. Or drink grape juice. 13. Egg whites Did you know that egg whites are pure protein? They provide the highest quality protein there is, along with all of the essential amino acids. If you're on the kidney diet, it's good to note that egg whites have less phosphorus than other protein sources, such as egg yolks or meats. Use egg whites for omelets or egg white sandwiches. You can also add them to smoothies or shakes. Hard boil eggs and use the whites to use in tuna or green salads. 14. Fish

Another high-quality source of protein is fish. Both the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association recommend that you include fish in your meal plan two or three times a week. Besides being a great source of protein, fish contains antiinflammatory fats called omega-3s. These healthy fats help prevent diseases, such as cancer and heart disease. They also help lower LDL (the bad cholesterol) and raise HDL (the good cholesterol). The types of fish that have the most omega-3s are salmon, albacore tuna, mackerel, herring and rainbow trout. 15. Olive oil Research has shown that people in countries where olive oil is used instead of other types of oils tend to have lower rates of cancer and heart disease. This is believed to be due to olive oil's many good components: oleic acid, an anti-inflammatory fatty acid which protects against oxidation and polyphenols and antioxidant compounds that prevent inflammation and oxidation. Use virgin or extra virgin olive oil they're higher in antioxidants. Olive oil can be used in cooking or to make salad dressing, as a dip for bread and as a marinade for vegetables.

If you're concerned about the health of your own kidneys or somebody else's these 15 super foods for kidney health should be on your grocery-shopping list. Ask a renal dietitian for help including them in your kidney-friendly meal plan if you have chronic kidney disease. When buying fruits and vegetables, get the freshest ones you can find and be sure to include a variety, since some are rich in one nutrient and others are rich in another. If you can only find fruits that are not at their peak, the flavor may be lessened, but you'll still get good nutritional value from them for your kidney health.
Your kidneys are a major part of your urinary system and are essential for the removal of waste products from your body. The kidneys also play a role in the regulation of blood pressure, hormone secretion, and acid-base balance. Your kidneys may not function optimally when you eat foods that contain high levels of minerals, such as sodium and potassium, which can place excess stress on your kidneys. Maintaining healthy kidneys is necessary for normal body functioning.

Rice is a carbohydrate that can provide your body with adequate amounts of energy with very low potassium. Although your body requires potassium for many essential functions, excess potassium will be filtered out of your body by your kidneys. If there is too much potassium in your blood stream, your kidneys may become overwhelmed. Rice can be included in your diet as an alternative to starchy carbohydrates that naturally contain large amounts of potassium. Improve Kidney Health Probiotics to promote removal of nitrogenous waste for kidney health

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Soy Protein
Dairy products, as well as most animal products, contain a mineral called phosphorous. Phosphorous is a nutrient that helps promote bone health. However, excess phosphorus can have the opposite effect and weaken your bones. Your kidneys will naturally attempt to filter out any excess phosphorus in your blood stream, but too much phosphorus can overload your kidneys, resulting in damage to the sensitive tissues that remove toxins from your body. To help keep phosphorus levels in check, try substituting some dairy products with soy-based alternatives. Soy contains many of the same nutrients as dairy, but much less phosphorus. This can help protect your kidneys from damage due to excess phosphorous intake.

Fruits and Vegetables

High protein diets can place stress on your kidneys by producing a compound called urea. Urea is a naturally occurring byproduct of protein metabolism. If your diet contains high levels of protein, high levels of urea are forced through your kidneys, potentially damaging them and limiting their ability to remove other harmful toxins from your blood. Cutting back on protein in favor of more fruits and vegetables can help control the amount of urea your kidneys have to filter.

Low Sodium Foods

Sodium, or salt, plays a role in the regulation of your blood pressure and kidney health. Too much sodium can cause your kidneys to have difficulty functioning, which can lead to even more sodium buildup in your body. Excess sodium intake can be dangerous for your kidneys and blood pressure, and can cause abnormal swelling throughout your body. By removing high sodium foods in your diet and replacing them with lower sodium foods, you can greatly improve kidney health. Foods that are high in sodium include canned or processed foods, lunch meats, and many sauces. Low or no sodium foods include different kinds of breads and beans.

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The kidneys are located in the small of the back and they are shaped like beans. Although there are two of them, you can still get by if you only have one. Some of their main functions are to store electrolytes, minerals and salts, and to eliminate wastes from the blood in the form of urine. When the kidneys become dysfunctional, the body can experience lethargy, a loss of appetite, drowsiness and muscle cramps. The way to increase kidney function is by making some adjustments in your diet and lifestyle.

Step 1

Keep your weight under control. If you are overweight or obese, you run the risk of developing diabetes which is a risk factor for kidney disease. Avoid high calorie, high fat foods and processed carbs. Eat nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, lean meats, seeds and nuts instead. Improve Kidney Health Probiotics to promote removal of nitrogenous waste for kidney health
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Step 2
Get some exercise. Exercise can help improve circulation and mobility, and it can work in conjunction with your diet to keep your weight under control. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least three days a week. Some examples are swimming, biking, running, weight training and walking. Moderate levels of exercise should give you a feeling of being slightly winded.

Step 3
Control your blood pressure. Having high blood pressure, known as hypertension, can also contribute to kidney disease. To avoid this from happening, keep your intake of salt to low levels.

Step 4
Leave the toxins out of your body. According to the National Kidney Foundation, the consistent use of over-the-counter pain relievers, prescription medications and illegal street drugs can cause damage to your kidneys. Avoid all of these along with foods that have chemicals and pesticides.

Step 5
Watch your protein intake. If the kidneys are working properly, wastes get removed and protein stays in the blood. But when the kidneys are weak, the protein may not get separated from the wastes. If you have low kidney function, do not eat high amounts, as would be the case with a high-protein diet. Stick to the RDA protein guidelines of 10 to 35 percent of your total daily caloric intake.

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Make one cup of juice made with radish leaves to be drank two times a day. Every morning drink one glass of fresh tomato juice with a hint of salt and pepper for flavor. A generous about of fruits and vegetables should be eaten daily to prevent further stones from developing. Watermelon, either eaten as a fruit or had a juice is very good. Cook beet untill soften, strain and drink 3-4 cups of beet juice every day. Prepare a potion by boiling two figs in a cup of water. Drink this on an empty stomach in the morning for one month. Take fresh pulp of ripe bel (Aegle marmelos L.) and mix with water, add some milk and sugar to it, drink after straining. This will relieve retention of urine in no time. Regular exercise-one of the many benefits of exercise is that it facilitates the passage of calcium out of the bloodstreams and into the bones resulting in stronger bones and less risk of stone formation.

Your kidneys are vital to your overall health and wellbeing. They are responsible for filtering extra fluid, waste products and toxins from your body. They also play a role in regulating blood pressure, red blood cell production and vitamin D metabolism. However, incidences of kidney disease are on the rise. In many cases people aren't aware there is a problem until their kidneys have been significantly damaged. A healthy diet is one way you can prevent or treat kidney disease. Try to fill up on foods that boost kidney function and avoid those that promote disease. Beneficial foods for kidney function Fish While it's important to reduce protein intake to protect kidney function, and fish is a rich source of protein, it also provides other benefits. Many types of fish are less fatty than red meats, pork or poultry and for this reason are a more beneficial form of protein. However, the fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna and herring are chock full of omega 3 essential fatty acids that improve cardiovascular health, while other meats contain high levels of saturated fats, which are considered dangerous. When you have kidney disease you are more at risk for cardiovascular disease. Research also shows that fish can fight obesity, which is a leading cause of type 2 diabetes a major cause of kidney disease. Low-potassium Foods Potassium is another mineral, along with sodium and phosphorus, which you should reduce to improve kidney function. However, potassium is present in a wide variety of foods, and its content is not as noticeable as sodium or sugar, for instance, because you cannot taste it. Try to stick to low-potassium foods such as asparagus, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumbers, black berries, grapes, peers, onions, summer squash and tangerines. Also, check food packages for potassium content. Green Tea This popular beverage is rich in antioxidants that protect organs including the kidneys from free radical damage and infection. It may also prevent kidney stones, which can contribute to kidney damage. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center in the U.S., green tea also has anti-inflammatory properties and improves cardiovascular health, such as reducing cholesterol levels and preventing atherosclerosis. It's also a healthy, natural diuretic and helps to remove excess fluid from your body, a function that's compromised when your kidneys aren't working efficiently.

Other Worthy Mentions - Watermelon - Asparagus - Black beans - Celery Foods that Harm Kidney Function Protein Limiting your protein intake limits the amount of nitrogen-containing amino acids that need to be excreted in urine in the form of urea. When kidneys aren't functioning properly, these substances build up in your blood and damage the filtering blood vessels in the kidneys. First, limit the amount of protein you eat in the form of meat and dairy products. Replace them with healthier sources such as soy, whole grains, fish, and on occasion low-fat poultry. Processed and fast foods These foods are packed with sodium, which you must restrict to boost kidney function and treat kidney disease. They're also usually rich in phosphates. Phosphates disrupt protein and nitrogen balances in the body and also affect bone health, which is already compromised when you have kidney disease because vitamin D metabolism is impaired. Fatty foods Kidney disease elevates cholesterol levels in the blood and your risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke. Fatty foods also increase cholesterol and triglyceride levels. By increasing fat levels in your body, fatty foods promote weight gain and heighten your risk of developing diabetes, one of the leading causes of kidney disease. As you can see, making some simple changes in your diet can go a long way in protecting your kidneys from damage, and nutritional supplements have even shown to reverse kidney disease. Other Worthy Mentions - Acidifying foods e.g. alcohol, red meat, sugar, wheat, dairy and food additives - Sugar - Dairy - Gluten

Kidney disease risk factors include diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, smoking and age. Early detection and treatment can increase the life of the kidneys. High blood pressure can lead to or be a sign of kidney disease. Exercise, a balanced diet and drinking plenty of water will help to keep your kidneys working well. Share this article

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More than 500,000 Australians a year consult their doctors about kidney disease and urinary tract infections. One in three Australian adults are at increased risk of developing chronic kidney disease, and one in nine have some sign of chronic kidney disease. During their lifetime, one-third of women and one in ten men will suffer a bladder infection and one in 35 women will have kidney stones.

Risk factors for chronic kidney disease

You are more at risk of chronic kidney disease if you:

Have diabetes Have high blood pressure Are obese Are over 50 years of age Have a family history of kidney disease Smoke Are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent.

Many diseases can affect the kidneys

Many illnesses can affect the kidneys. The most important are:

Diabetes Inflammation of the kidneys (nephritis) High blood pressure Hereditary kidney diseases, such as polycystic kidney disease Scarring of the kidney caused by backflow of urine from the bladder.

High blood pressure can damage kidneys

High blood pressure (hypertension) is increased pressure inside the arteries that carry blood from your heart to all parts of your body. Untreated, high blood pressure can damage your kidneys. All high blood pressure strains the heart and damages arteries. If blood pressure is uncontrolled and remains high, it can damage the vessels that supply blood to your internal organs. The very small vessels are often the first to be affected. If left untreated, this can lead to kidney disease, heart attack, strokes and loss of vision. There are a number of different causes of high blood pressure but most high blood pressure has no known cause. You are more at risk of high blood pressure if you are older or have a family history of the condition. High blood pressure can also develop as a result of kidney disease or renal artery stenosis (narrowing of the main artery to one or both kidneys). Your kidneys control the amount of fluid in your blood vessels and produce a hormone called renin that helps to control blood pressure.

Medication and lifestyle changes can lower blood pressure

A range of medication is available for high blood pressure. Different blood pressure medications work in different ways so it is not unusual for more than one type to be prescribed. The dose may alter according to your needs. Medications that can lower blood pressure include:

ACE inhibitors Angiotensin receptor blockers Calcium channel blockers Beta blockers Low-dose diuretics (fluid tablets) Alpha blockers.

Healthy lifestyle choices are important to improve your overall health and lower your risk of high blood pressure. They can also reduce the amount of medication you need or make your medication work better. Healthy lifestyle choices include not smoking, eating a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water, staying fit, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding certain medications and avoiding stress.

Symptoms of kidney disease

Kidney disease is called a silent disease as there are often few symptoms. Some signs and symptoms include:

Change in frequency and quantity of urine passed, especially at night (usually increase at first) Blood in the urine (haematuria) Foaming urine Puffiness around the eyes and ankles (oedema) Pain in the back (under the lower ribs, where the kidneys are located) Pain or burning when passing urine.

When the kidneys begin to fail, there is a build-up of waste products and extra fluid in the blood as well as other problems, gradually leading to:

Tiredness, inability to concentrate Generally feeling unwell Loss of appetite Nausea and vomiting Shortness of breath.

Reduction in kidney function cannot usually be reversed. However, if detected early enough, the progress of kidney disease can be slowed and sometimes even prevented. In the early stages, changes to diet and medication can help to increase the life of the kidneys. If kidney function is reduced to less than 10 per cent of normal, the loss of function must be replaced by renal dialysis or a kidney transplant. Dialysis is a treatment for kidney failure that removes waste products and extra water from the blood by filtering it through a special membrane (fine filter).

Early detection can save lives

Early detection of kidney disease can be life saving. Medication and changes to lifestyle, along with an early referral to a kidney specialist, can prevent or delay kidney failure. If you are at higher risk of chronic kidney disease, talk to your doctor about having a regular kidney health check. This includes:

Blood pressure test

Blood test for kidney function Urine test for protein (proteinuria).

Lifestyle changes can keep your kidneys healthy

Making healthy lifestyle choices can help to keep your kidneys functioning well:

Eat lots of fruit and vegetables including legumes (peas or beans) and grain-based food like bread, pasta, noodles and rice. Eat some lean meat like chicken and fish each week. Eat only small amounts of salty or fatty food. Drink plenty of water instead of other drinks. Maintain a healthy weight. Stay fit. Do at least 30 minutes of physical activity that increases your heart rate on five or more days of the week including walking, lawn mowing, bike riding, swimming or gentle aerobics. Dont smoke. Limit your alcohol to two small drinks per day if you are male or one small drink per day if you are female. Have your blood pressure checked regularly. Do things that help you relax and reduce your stress levels.