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How a Plant-Based Diet Helps Improve Kidney Function


It is imperative to make the right choices that will improve and preserve the functioning of your kidneys. Because chronic kidney disease is progressive, loss of kidney function can decrease over time leading to complete kidney failure and an increased risk of heart disease.

Approximately 26 million Americans have kidney disease, and there’s a 1 in 3 risk of developing it without proper care. Thankfully, with proper nutrition, kidney function can be improved.

Although proper nutrition can increase kidney function, it should never be used in place of medical treatment.

1. How a Plant-Based Diet Can Improve Kidney Function

Healthy Sesame Mushroom, Tofu, and Asparagus Stir-fry/One Green Planet

In recent years, kidney disease has become a major health-related concern. It can lead to end-stage renal disease, cardiovascular disease, and even death. The leading causes of impaired kidney function is brought on by the patient’s genetic makeup, alcohol consumption, smoking, obesity, hypertension, and diabetes.

The kidneys are so important to the overall well-being of our bodies because they filter out harmful substances such as phosphorus, excess water, toxins, drugs, and metabolite. This waste is removed when you urinate. In addition, the kidneys also detoxify your blood. When your kidneys become impaired, waste cannot be efficiently filtered out, and it builds up. This can cause problems like heart disease, nerve damage, anemia, and weak bones.

Thankfully, in a recent study done by the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology found that eating a vegan diet could improve kidney function. This is because high levels of phosphorus can cause a lot of wear and tear on the kidneys as they work to filter it out of our bodies. The study found that patients who consumed a plant-based diet had lower levels of phosphorus in the bloodstream compared to those that eat meat. This is because plant sources of phosphorus are less bioavailable than animal sources. After the research was concluded, it was suggested that patients with chronic kidney disease consume a plant-based diet rather than a meat-heavy diet to avoid high accumulations of toxic phosphorus levels in the body.

Consuming a plant-based diet is especially important to the kidneys because, without the absorption of excess phosphorus, our kidneys can function efficiently, and further complications from kidney disease can be prevented.

2. The Best Foods for your Kidneys

Pen Waggener/Flickr

Specific foods and beverages within the plant-based diet are especially great for cleansing the kidney so they can function to the best of their ability. The best kidney cleansing food and beverage products are:

  1. Water is the best and purest way to flush harmful toxins out of the body. Frequent water consumption can hinder bacterial infections and the development of kidney stones.
  2. Cranberries and 100% Cranberry Juice are a great addition to any diet with their rich array of nutrients, but they also work wonders at clearing out the kidneys. This is because they have specific benefits to the urinary tract that prevents bacteria from developing.
  3. Red Bell Peppers are low in potassium, a nutrient that can sometimes make chronic kidney disease worse because it causes the bladder to empty too frequently. They are also loaded with antioxidants that have protective qualities.
  4. Grapefruit is another fruit that is low in potassium, and a great source of vitamin C. Vitamin C supports the immune system and aids with bacterial removal.
  5. Blueberries are rich in antioxidants and low in phosphorus and potassium. They are a great addition to a protective kidney diet.
  6. Cabbage is loaded with insoluble fiber that aids the digestive systems by removing harmful toxins from the body.
  7. Arugula contains a plethora of vitamins and minerals, as well as naturally occurring nitrates. These nitrates have been known to lower blood pressure, which is very important for those with kidney disease.
  8. Radishes are low in phosphorus and potassium, but high in other nutrients like protective vitamin C!

3. Recipes for Clean Kidneys!


For those who suffer from kidney disease, a diet low in potassium and phosphorus is key. A plant-based diet is the best way to avoid elevating phosphorus levels. If you do not suffer from kidney disease, but wish to improve maintain healthy kidneys, drinking lots of water and eating anti-inflammatory fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains is optimal.

For some recipe inspiration, try some of these cleansing meals such as this Cranberry Apple Detox Juice, Stuffed Peppers with Vegetables, Wild Rice, and Lemongrass, Simple Basil Citrus Salad with Balsamic Jam Dressing, Homemade Raw Sauerkraut, or these Korean White Radish Wraps.

For more information, check out this article! We also recommend downloading this Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 10,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!

Lead Image Source: John Campbell/Flickr 

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