What's Good for the Kidneys – 9 foods to improve their performance based on Science

Various diseases from the kidneys and other parts of the urinary system are registered annually in 1.8% of the population. Severe disorders significantly worsen the general condition, lead to social maladjustment, disability and even death.

The condition of a person's kidneys partly depends on the diet. The addition of healthy and harmful foods to food increases the resistance of the kidneys to various damaging factors and strengthens the immune system, as a result, infectious deviations of bacterial or fungal etiology are much less common.

The relationship between diet and kidney health

Kidney Filter, Purifying blood . They have an extremely complex structure and contain more than 160 kilometers of blood vessels. Over 180 liters of blood pass through each kidney per day, which is purified from toxic substances.

The kidneys maintain the water balance in the body, are responsible for blood pressure levels (through the secretion of renin), and ensure the synthesis of extremely important vitamin D.

Unfortunately, serious kidney diseases often develop: from urolithiasis, the main cause of which is malnutrition and genetic predisposition, to inflammatory lesions of the parenchyma and the calyx-pelvic system.

Decreased kidney function leads to intoxication and pathologies of water metabolism in the body. As a result, multiple edema develops and the work of the central parts of the nervous system is disrupted (increased fatigue and weakness, depression of consciousness).

Dietary recommendations should be followed by all persons with pre-existing kidney diseases, as well as those who have a burdened heredity (pathologies in close relatives) and a dangerous somatic background (diabetes mellitus of any type, hypertension, systemic atherosclerosis).

Although dietary restrictions may vary, people with kidney disease are most often recommended Limit the following substances :

  1. Sodium. Is found in almost all food products and is the main component of table salt. Damaged kidneys are unable to remove excess sodium, which leads to a dangerous increase in its level in the blood. The maximum daily dose of sodium should be limited to 2 g.
  2. Potassium. Tomatoes, potatoes, pumpkin, dried fruits are rich in them. An excess of this trace element is critically dangerous for people with kidney disease. It is recommended to consume no more than 2 g of potassium per day.
  3. Phosphorus. Any damage to the kidneys (especially the glomerular apparatus) leads to a decrease in the excretion of this trace element from the body, which is fraught with a large number of disorders. It is necessary to limit the consumption of the substance to 1 g per day.

Fortunately, there are enough permitted foods that contain sodium, potassium and phosphorus in minimal amounts. In addition, they have many useful properties that help improve the functional state and anatomical integrity of the kidneys.

Below is a list of the 9 most beneficial foods for kidney health.

1. Cauliflower

Cauliflower is widely appreciated for its high content of vitamins (A, K, B and C), which improve metabolism in nephrocytes, increase the rate of formation of primary urine.

The vegetable is rich in antioxidants that neutralize free radicals, reducing the risk of destructive diseases of the epithelium of the renal tubules and the formation of malignant tumors.

Scientific research shows that cauliflower contains a large number of anti-inflammatory compounds (for example, indoles) that are tropic to kidney tissues. An additional plus is the high fiber content, which Normalizes digestion (after all, flatulence makes it difficult for the kidneys to work).

It is recommended to eat cauliflower raw or mashed (an excellent substitute for potato).

Cauliflower is necessary to restore the normal functioning of the renal tubules and prevent oncological pathologies.

2. Blueberries

Blueberries improve not only the functioning of the visual apparatus, but also the kidneys. They contribute to the dissolution and removal of sand and small stones (mainly oxalates) from the kidneys, thereby preventing the development of kidney stone disease.

Scientists have proved that anthocyanins (antioxidants) contained in blueberries protect kidney tubules from destructive and atrophic changes that can be observed during hypertension and diabetes mellitus.

An additional plus of blueberries is the extremely low content of sodium, potassium and phosphorus.

Blueberries retain the entire set of medicinal properties even after heat treatment.

Blueberries are one of their main products that prevent the formation of stones in the cup–pelvic structure of the kidneys and the underlying parts of the urinary system.

3. Red grape varieties

Red grapes are rich in vitamin C, and also contain a large amount of flavonoids that help reduce and limit inflammatory changes. All this makes grapes extremely useful for patients with chronic pyelonephritis.

In Vinograd, according to the latest data , there is also resveratrol, which strengthens kidney cells, normalizes metabolic processes in them, prevents the development of hypertension and diabetes mellitus.

It is recommended to eat grapes in their pure form. It is also acceptable to drink dry red wine (in the absence of contraindications and within reasonable limits).

Grapes are effective for the prevention of a large number of diseases from the cardiovascular, endocrine and urinary systems. Grapes also improve the functioning of the kidneys, adrenal glands and liver.

4. Olive oil

Olive oil is an ideal source of "healthy" fat, contains little protein and almost zero phosphorus.

Product recommended for patients with obesity and various kidney diseases.

Special attention should be paid to oleic acid, which has, according to Spanish researchers , a pronounced anti-inflammatory effect (which is especially important for autoimmune abnormalities on the part of the kidneys).

Olive oil reduces the activity of inflammatory processes, and is recommended for diseases with defects of the immune system.

5. Sweet pepper

Sweet peppers contain many valuable nutrients. The potassium content is low, which distinguishes pepper from other vegetables.

1 vegetable contains 150% of the daily value of vitamin C, 100% of the daily dose of vitamin A.

The components described above reduce the risk of developing aseptic inflammatory processes in the wall of the renal tubules, which occur with severe atherosclerosis and diabetes mellitus, as well as normalize the work of local immune factors. The effects are scientifically proven .

Pepper should be added to food to protect kidney tissues from a large number of pathologies.

6. Garlic

Garlic is one of the most potent medicines used in a wide range of pathologies.

Scientists from the Isfahan University of Medical Sciences have proved that garlic prevents the development of diabetic kidney nephropathy, which leads to a decrease in all organ functions at the same time and is closely associated with type II diabetes mellitus.

Also garlic, especially when combined with lemon juice, Normalizes cholesterol levels and its fractions in the blood, which reduces atherosclerotic damage to large vessels, including the arteries of the glomerular glomerulus of the kidneys.

It is necessary to use garlic on a regular basis for diabetes mellitus and atherosclerosis in order to maintain kidney health.

7. Arugula

Arugula can perfectly replace many green vegetables (spinach, cabbage), as it contains little potassium.

In addition, arugula is a valuable source of vitamin K, as well as macro- and microelements (magnesium, calcium, zinc), which are necessary to maintain the tone of smooth kidney myocytes and adequate mineral metabolism.

Arugula contains nitrates that lower blood pressure, while the action is carried out locally, not systematically. The action is proven in the works of London scientists .

Arugula should be added to the diet for pre-existing disorders of the urinary organs, since it contains little potassium but has a lot of useful properties.

8. Pineapple

Pineapple is an excellent substitute for most tropical fruits (bananas, citrus fruits, kiwis) due to its low percentage of potassium.

Research shows that pineapple is also rich in B vitamins, manganese, bromelain (a special enzyme that suppresses inflammatory tissue reactions).

Pineapple is recommended for the prevention of infectious and inflammatory kidney diseases, as well as to improve the general condition of existing ones.

9. Cranberries

Cranberry is an antiseptic with a wide spectrum of action, effective against most gram-positive and some gram-negative microorganisms.

An additional plus is the presence of flavonoids that prevent the development of cystitis and urethritis. That is why cranberry juice is recommended for all patients with nephrological profile.

Research conducted in South Africa demonstrates that the intake of cranberry juice reduces the oversaturation of urine with calcium oxalate, reduces the excretion of oxalates in urine. Scientists recommend including the plant in the list of national recommendations for the treatment of urolithiasis.

Should be cancelled separately scientific article of 2010 . According to her, beak berries contain many phytonutrients that block the adhesion of bacterial particles to the mucous membrane of the tubules of the kidneys and bladder, thereby preventing the appearance of bacteriosis.

The use of cranberries helps to prevent urolithiasis, cystitis, urethritis and bacteriosis.

What should be excluded from the diet

There is a list of food substances, the use of which should be limited (or completely abandoned) in order to maintain the anatomical and functional integrity of the kidneys. There are such harmful food groups:

  1. Salt. Excess food rich in sodium chloride (semi-finished products, fast food, smoked meats) leads to fluid retention in the body, accumulation of potassium to the level of toxic concentrations. As a result, there is an inadequate load on the kidneys and an increase in blood pressure.
  2. Animal protein. A significant content of beef, pork and offal leads to an increase in the concentration of protein denaturation products in the blood, which are toxins for the epithelium of the renal tubules.
  3. Vinegar and spicy dishes, coffee, carbonated drinks. This category of products leads to irritation of the mucous membranes of the urinary system, which increases the risk of injury and the formation of infectious and inflammatory processes.
  4. Alcoholic beverages. Ethanol has a direct cytotoxic effect, destroys kidney cells and can lead to severe renal failure. In addition, a few hours after consumption, dehydration is observed (due to the accumulation of water in the intercellular spaces), which provokes malfunctions in the kidneys.

Special attention should also be paid to the following food categories:

  • Mushrooms;
  • Legumes (peas, beans, lentils);
  • Spices;
  • Spinach;
  • Sorrel;
  • Rosehip.

According to some reports, they have a negative effect on kidney function, but the accumulated scientific experience at the moment is not enough to call them "harmful".

6 general rules of nutrition

Summing up, we can formulate several important rules for maintaining kidney health:

  1. A varied diet in compliance with the qualitative and quantitative composition of food. Eating the same foods can lead to malfunctions of the immune system and the formation of stones. For example, calcium stones are formed with increased use of dairy products, cheese; purine stones are formed with the abuse of protein foods.
  2. Restriction of animal proteins. Proteins disrupt the work of epithelial cells in the renal tubules. Proven that a low protein diet reduces the rate of progression of chronic kidney disease. Damaged cells are unable to remove protein metabolism products from the body, which leads to their accumulation in the blood and the development of intoxication syndrome (vicious circle).
  3. Complete cessation of smoking. Tobacco smoke, according to some sources , is closely associated with autoimmune diseases and chronic kidney disease.
  4. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Regular feasible physical activity, outdoor walks (parkland and coniferous forests) have a beneficial effect on the vital activity of the entire body, contribute to increased resistance to infectious agents.
  5. Timely access to a doctor when any symptoms of damage to the urinary system appear (lower back pain, change in color and volume of urine, pain and pain when urinating, etc.). You should also follow all the prescriptions of specialists regarding diseases such as atherosclerosis, diabetes mellitus, hypertension. They are the ones that provoke critical disorders of the kidneys.
  6. Fractional power supply. You should eat 5-6 times a day (in even portions). This will create an equal load on the kidneys throughout the day and will contribute to the prevention of serious disorders.


Thus, the functional state of the kidneys largely depends on proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. Correction of the diet can significantly increase the resistance of the kidneys to infectious and inflammatory pathologies, prevent the appearance of stones and malignant neoplasms.