Top 15 Foods for Kidney Health
Kidney failure can be fatal. Your kidneys are one of the most important organs in your body. They are responsible for several important body functions, including:
1. Water regulation – The kidneys play a vital role in the production of urine. They react to the changes in the body’s water level by removing water when there’s an excess and retaining water when the body needs more.
2. Waste removal – Many substances in the blood must be kept in a normal level in order for the body to function properly. The kidney filters excess minerals, such as sodium and potassium, and passes them through urine. Wastes, like urea and creatinine, are also flushed out. Urea is produced when the body breaks down protein, while creatinine is a natural waste product produced when muscles breakdown.
3. Hormone production – The kidneys are also responsible for the production of certain chemical messengers that help regulate body function. The kidneys produce the hormones erythropoietin, which acts on the bone marrow to increase the production of red blood cells, and calcitriol, which signals for the uptake of calcium and phosphorus from the intestines. It also produces the enzyme renin, which helps regulate blood pressure.
There are several ways you can protect and preserve the function of your kidneys. Prime of these is the uptake of food that is optimum for the promotion of kidney health.
Antioxidants and Oxidative Stress
Antioxidants have long been touted as preventative of diseases. It helps neutralize the damaging effects of free radicals and oxidative stress in the body.
Oxidative stress and inflammation has been linked to sever chronic and degenerative diseases, including cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease and diabetes. Oxidation occurs as the body interacts with oxygen and cells produce energy. A natural consequence of this process is the production of free radicals.
Free radicals are electronically unstable and highly interactive. They interact with molecules in cells, stripping them of electrons in an effort to achieve stability. This causes a domino effect, causing more unstable molecules that can cause damage to cell components like proteins, membranes and genes.
Your body produces antioxidants in order to neutralize free radicals and counter the effects of oxidative stress. Your body, however, cannot produce enough antioxidants to neutralize all free radicals. You can help your body defend itself by eating foods rich in antioxidants.
Antioxidants and Kidney Health
Foods rich in antioxidants help prevent damage to your kidneys and other tissues, and may even halt the progression of kidney disease.
Oxidative stress, on the other hand, places people with chronic kidney disease at risk for chronic inflammation and heart disease. Fortunately, many antioxidant-rich foods are included in the renal diet and make good choices for dialysis patients and people with CKD.
Below is a list of antioxidant-rich foods that is particularly helpful in the promotion of kidney health
Wild blueberries have the highest total antioxidant capacity of all fresh fruits with conventionally grown blueberries coming in second. The fruits contain a significant amount of antioxidants, most prominent of which are Anthocyanins, the compound which gives fruits and vegetables their rich blue, purple and red colors.
The antioxidant defenses of blueberries have long been associated with cardio vascular health. Research has shown that blueberries help in lowering LDL (bad cholesterol) levels, prevents the oxidation of cholesterol and keeps them from forming plaque, fortifies arterial walls and helps in maintaining normal blood pressure.
Cranberries are rich in phytonutrients that have proven antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. They have also been used against urinary tract infection thanks to their proanthocyanidin content, which acts as a barrier and prevents bacteria from attaching onto the urinary tract.
Cranberry sauce and cranberry juice are the most common forms of cranberry products in the market, however, cranberries provide the most antioxidant benefits if consumed as a whole fruit.
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