Superfoods that can help you maintain the health of your kidneys

March 2020

Superfoods can help you maintain the health of your kidneys.  Gert Coetzee, pharmacist and diet pioneer who founded The Diet Everyone Talks About comments on how a healthy diet can help maintain the health of your kidneys.  Kidneys are two bean-shaped organs located on each side of the spine, just below the rib cage.  These organs are very important as they filter blood, removing waste and extra fluid from your body to produce urine.  They are also responsible for removing acid that is produced by the cells in your body in order to maintain a healthy balance of salts, water, and minerals in your blood.  This balance is needed in order for your body’s tissues, nerves and muscles to work properly.  Below are some of the other important functions of the kidneys:

  • Produce red blood cells:  The kidneys produce a hormone called erythropoietin which tells the bone marrow to produce red blood cells.
  • Keep your bones healthy: The kidneys produce a form of vitamin D that absorbs phosphorus and calcium.  Phosphorus and calcium are important minerals that keep your bones strong.
  • Control blood pressure: In order for the kidneys to work properly, they need pressure.  Therefore, kidneys can increase blood pressure if it seems too low or lowers it if it seems too high by controlling fluid levels and making the hormone that tightens the blood vessels.

When your kidneys get damaged, waste products and fluid can build up in your body.  This can cause weakness, nausea, shortness of breath, shortness in the breath as well as swollen ankles.  Kidney disease also affects your body’s ability to filter extra fluids out of your blood, clean your blood and control blood pressure which can affect the production of red blood cells.  Chronic kidney disease is when your kidneys don’t work well for more than three months.  ₁

Most people don’t have symptoms in the early stages of chronic kidney disease but below are some the symptoms that you might experience:

  • Urinate more often than usual.
  • Muscle cramps, especially in the legs.
  • Weight loss with no obvious reason.
  • Swollen ankles.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Dry, itchy skin.
  • Nausea

Risk factors for kidney disease:

  • High blood pressure.
  • Family history of kidney disease.
  • Old age.

“Eating a balanced diet can keep your kidneys healthy as well as benefit your overall health,” says Coetzee.  Below he lists some superfoods for a healthy pair of kidneys.

  • Cauliflower: Cauliflower is great for kidney health as it contains vitamin C and is also a good source of fiber and folate.
  • Cranberries: Cranberries are considered good for your urinary system.  They can protect against bladder and kidney infections.
  • Fish: Fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids as well as anti-inflammatory fats.  These healthy fats protect you from kidney-related diseases.
  • Blueberries:  Blueberries contain many of the properties that you need to maintain healthy kidneys.  These include vitamin c, phosphorus, and antioxidants which keep the blood clean from toxins.
  • Red peppers:  Red peppers are perfect for kidney health as they are high in vitamins A, B6, C and are low in potassium.  They are also high in fiber and folic acid which are needed to keep the kidneys functioning well.

For more information about The Diet Everyone Talks About, and where it is offered in your area:

Tel:                              (016) 362 4890

E-mail:                         diet-info@the-diet.co.za