BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPRUD) – Maintaining personal health and wellness can easily take a backseat to life’s daily juggling act of trying to balance career, family and social/community responsibilities.
Fortunately, small changes in daily eating habits can produce significant improvements in health.
For example, using the summer to start eating cool and refreshing foods that promote kidney health can be a good start.
The kidneys play a major role in our daily ability to get things done.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the kidneys remove waste and extra fluid from the body. They also remove acid produced by cells and maintain a healthy balance of water, salts and minerals – such as sodium, calcium, phosphorus and potassium – in the body’s blood.
Without this balance, the nerves, muscles, and other tissues in your body may not function properly.
Your kidneys also produce hormones that:
- control blood pressure
- do red blood cells NIH external link
- keep bones strong and healthy
But many Americans suffer from chronic kidney disease (CKD).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that in 2021, more than 37 million people in the US are expected to have CKD. It adds that nine out of ten adults with CKD do not realize they have the disease.
Louisiana residents are not immune to the disease.
America’s Health Rankings reports that in 2021, 3.8% of Louisiana residents were diagnosed with CKD.
Symptoms of CKD can include fatigue, high blood pressure, loss of appetite, water and electrolyte imbalance, abnormal heart rhythm, fluid in the lungs, insufficient urine output, itching, severe unintentional weight loss, and swelling.
To try to improve kidney function and avoid the symptoms listed above, it may be helpful to consume snacks such as the three listed below:
Fresh berry smoothies
Enjoy a cool and refreshing smoothie that includes blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, almond milk, with no added sugar. These fruits are good for the kidneys as they are full of manganese, vitamin C, fiber and folate.
Moroccan sweet potato salad
This naturally sweet salad consists of diced slices of chilled baked sweet potato that are mixed with dried cranberries and thinly sliced almonds. Drizzle your favorite olive oil based salad dressing over it and enjoy. Sweet potatoes in a salad are especially good for kidney health because they contain fiber, beta-carotene, and other vitamins and minerals that support the kidneys. Olive oil and cranberries also have a positive effect on the kidneys.
Golden pumpkin, pepper and tomato casserole
In this recipe, golden squash, tomato, bell pepper, basil and feta (optional) are coated in a thin layer of breadcrumbs and baked for about twenty minutes. Pumpkin and tomatoes are excellent food options when it comes to promoting kidney health. Squash is a good source of essential health nutrients such as fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin C and B6. Tomatoes are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, low in calories and high in fiber.
Additional dietary habits that can help improve kidney function include:
- Buy fresh food often. Sodium (part of salt) is added to many ready-made or packaged foods that you buy at the supermarket or in restaurants.
- Cook foods from scratch instead of eating prepared foods, “fast” foods, frozen dinners, and canned foods that are higher in sodium. When you prepare your food, you control what goes into it.
- Use sodium-free spices, herbs, and seasonings instead of salt.
- Check for sodium on the nutrition facts label on food packages. A daily value of 20 percent or more means the food is high in sodium.
- Try lower-sodium versions of frozen dinners and other convenience foods.
- Rinse canned vegetables, beans, meat and fish with water before eating.
- Look for food labels with words like sodium-free or salt-free; or low, reduced, or no salt or sodium; either unsalted or lightly salted.
So it is possible to protect kidney health by eating well.
Click here for more information on how to eat right for your kidneys.