Improving your kidney function naturally

When it comes to improving kidney function there are two fields of healing that kidney disease patients usually use. Without a doubt, you will want a good nephrologist ( a medical doctor who specializes in kidney disease) to help in managing your condition by providing you with appropriate testing and proper medications to help your kidney problems.
The second method of healing your kidneys is to use natural treatments. For most Americans, natural ways of improving kidney function do not first come to mind. However, multiple studies in the last decade have provided a wealth of valuable natural treatments for anyone suffering from kidney disease and natural treatments should not be ignored as they have tremendous benefits for kidney function.

Having a diet high in fiber has many known health benefits, including a reduced risk of heart stroke, heart disease, obesity and Type II diabetes. Dietary and supplemental fiber has also shown to lower cholesterol, which is sometimes a problem in chronic kidney disease, along with improving digestive problems by alleviating constipation, diarrhea, and hemorrhoids. It also contains added vitamins, minerals and additional life giving plant nutrients.
What many people don’t know is that exciting old and new research has shown that fiber has the ability to improve kidney function naturally.

High Dietary Total Fiber Intake

A recent study published in the Kidney International Journal showed that a high dietary total fiber intake is associated with lower risk of inflammation and mortality in kidney disease. Dietary fiber also has the ability to reduce inflammation and all cause mortality in chronic kidney disease. Another recent study published in the Journal Renal Nutrition in May 2013 concluded that increasing fiber intake in CKD patients through the consumption of foods with added fiber (supplemental fiber) can reduce serum creatinine levels and improve eGFR.
These two studies demonstrate that adequate fiber consumption plays a crucial role in kidney disease. By reducing inflammation in the kidney and throughout the body, one can only improve and better their kidney health.
Chronic Kidney Disease
Studies have shown that increasing your fiber intake may help in kidney function
 Start by including more fiber rich foods in your diet. Although it sounds simple, there is a caution… Patients with kidney disease must be careful in choosing their fiber containing foods. They should be consuming low potassium options and I recommend the following foods which are super healthy and super kidney-friendly:
  • Blueberries

This low potassium highly nutritious anti-oxidant fruit has 112mg of potassium per cup and 3.5 grams of fiber. They make excellent snacks and I usually add frozen blueberries to fruit shakes to make a delicious beverage during the hot summer days. You can even add supplemental fiber (discussed below) to fruit shakes for added kidney benefit!

  • Apples

This delicious fruit is not just low in potassium but has a healthy amount of fiber. 3 to 4 grams per apple. My favorite way of preparing a tasty and kidney-friendly snack is to bake them with cinnamon and a tiny amount (not too many diabetics) of maple syrup.

  • Cabbage

This powerful anti-cancer and kidney-friendly food should be added often to dishes. In addition to the fiber content, which is about 4 grams per cup cooked, it also provides overwhelming amounts of feel-good nutrients! Boiling cabbage before consuming is usually recommended to reduce the potassium content.

This powerful anti-cancer and kidney-friendly food should be added often to dishes. In addition to the fiber content, which is about 4 grams per cup cooked, it also provides overwhelming amounts of feel-good nutrients! Boiling cabbage before consuming is usually recommended to reduce the potassium content.

Image: Blueberries and apples pack a load of fibers and are super kidney friendly. 

You should be consuming about 25 grams of fiber every day so you can also consider taking fiber supplements to reach the amounts of fiber used to improve your kidney function. Today, there are many fiber supplements available on the market, and fiber is continuously being added to a growing number of foods. However, try switching to a different fiber source if you find that the fiber supplement is causing digestive discomfort such as bloating and excessive gas.

With these simple tips to improve your kidney function, how about making your way down to the grocery store and getting yourself some kidney friendly foods now!

References 

Krishnamurthy, V.M., Wei, G., Baird, B.C., Murtaugh, M., Chonchol, M.B., Raphael, K.L., Greene, T., & Beddhu, S. (2012). High dietary fiber intake is associated with decreased inflammation and all-cause mortality in patients with chronic kidney disease. Kidney International, 81(3), 300-306.
Salmean, Y.A., Segal, M.S., Langkamp-Henken, B., Canales, M.T., Zello, G.A., Dahl, W.J. (2013) Foods with added fiber lower serum creatinine levels in patients with chronic kidney disease. Journal of Renal Nutrition, 23(2), 29-32.

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