Diet to Keep Kidneys Healthy

A healthy diet is vital for healthy kidney function. The kidneys are vital organs that process blood in the body and remove waste products. Waste is then converted into urine and sent to the bladder via ureters, where it is in storage until it is released during the process of urination. An unhealthy diet can cause the kidneys to develop disorders like kidney stones and can eventually contribute to the partial or total failure of the kidneys.

Cola with straw and ice cubes
Cola with straw and ice cubes (Siraphol/iStock/Getty Images)
Avoiding Sugars

You want to refrain from consuming as many unnecessary sugars as possible to keep your kidneys healthy. High sugar diets are not nutritious and can eventually lead to conditions like diabetes. Diabetes develops when glucose remains in the bloodstream, and the excess glucose can prove damaging to the nephrons in the kidneys: the organs’ primary filtration device. Unnecessary sugars are found in cakes, cookies, candies and sugarcoated pastries; the latter foods should be limited in your diet to ensure adequate kidney health. You will also want to refrain from consuming sugary colas and beverages, alcoholic beverages, and/or caffeinated beverages, because they are dehydrating and place an extra work burden on the kidneys.

Cola with straw and ice cubes
Cola with straw and ice cubes (Siraphol/iStock/Getty Images)
Low Sodium

Your diet should consist of a low sodium intake to maximize the healthy kidneys. High levels of sodium contribute to hypertension. When your intake of sodium is too high, you may require a higher intake of potassium, which puts an extra burden on the kidneys. According to the Food and Nutrition Board for the Institute of Medicine, an adult requires no more than 1.2 g to 1.5 g of sodium per day in his diet to remain healthy. Processed foods containing significant amounts of sodium should also be limited in your diet to promote kidney health.

Salt spilled from fallen shaker
Salt spilled from fallen shaker (Levent Konuk/iStock/Getty Images)
Potassium

An adult only requires 4.7 g of potassium daily for maximum dietary health. Potassium can be derived from bananas, dry beans, nuts, peas, oranges and potatoes and is a necessary nutrient for the body as well as for normal kidney functioning. Excessive levels of potassium can cause the kidneys to work harder to separate the potassium from the blood and can also result in a condition called hyperkalemia, which requires medical treatment.

Sliced banana in bowl
Sliced banana in bowl (tycoon751/iStock/Getty Images)
Water Intake

To keep kidneys completely healthy, you need to consume eight 8 oz. glasses of water every day. Some people require more water, especially if they are ill, or if they are taking dehydrating medications, or eating high-sodium foods and/or beverages. Adequate hydration is imperative for the proper functioning of the kidneys. Water consumption aids in the prevention of kidney stone formation, and further helps to flush toxins from the body.

Mature man drinking water
Mature man drinking water (Digital Vision/Digital Vision/Getty Images)
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