Citizen Reporter
3 minute read
10 Mar 2020
1:49 pm

5 superfoods to keep your kidneys healthy

Citizen Reporter

Blueberries contain many of the properties that you need to maintain healthy kidneys.

Picture: iStock

The 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.

Some of the other important functions of the kidneys also include:

• Producing red blood cells: The kidneys produce a hormone called erythropoietin which tells the bone marrow to produce red blood cells.

• Keeping your bones healthy: The kidneys produce a form of vitamin D which absorbs phosphorus and calcium. Phosphorus and calcium are important minerals that keep your bones strong.

• Controlling 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 decrease it if it seems too high by controlling fluid levels and producing the hormone that tightens the blood vessels.

Picture: iStock

When your kidneys get damaged, waste products and fluid can build up in your body. This can cause weakness, nausea, shortness of breath and 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.

Most people don’t have symptoms in the early stages of chronic kidney disease but there 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
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Family history of kidney disease
  • Old age
  • Smoking

Blueberries. Picture: iStock

According to pharmacist and diet pioneer Gert Coetzee, a healthy diet can help maintain the health of your kidneys.

“Eating a balanced diet can keep your kidneys healthy as well as benefit your overall health,” he says.

Coetzee suggests eating some of these superfoods:

• Cauliflower: Great for kidney health as it contains vitamin C and it is also a good source of fibre and folate.

• Cranberries: Considered good for your urinary system. They can protect against bladder and kidney infections.

• Fish: Rich in omega-3 fatty acids as well as anti-inflammatory fats. These healthy fats protect you from kidney-related diseases.

• Blueberries: Contain many of the properties that you need to maintain healthy kidneys. These include vitamin C, phosphorus and antioxidants which keep the blood clear of toxins.

• Red peppers: Perfect for kidney health as they are high in vitamins A, B6, C and are low in potassium. They are also high in fibre and folic acid which are needed to keep the kidneys functioning well.

Sources: National Kidney Foundation, Mayo Clinic

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.