Fluids for Kidney Function
You may think drinking extra fluids is a no-brainer for increasing kidney function, but more isn’t always better. It is advisable you to drink just enough fluids to keep your urine either light yellow or colourless. A standard recommendation is 13 cups daily for men and 9 for women. Although that sounds like a lot, it includes both healthy fluids like filtered water and low-fat milk and also the water found naturally in fruits and vegetables. If you already have kidney disease, your doctor will advise you to drink much less so you don’t overwhelm your kidneys.
Cranberry juice has a decades-long association with kidney health, especially in preventing urinary tract infections
Fruits and Vegetables in the Diet
An overall healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables is a smart choice for keeping your kidneys in topnotch shape. Fresh produce is not only high in water content, but it also contains powerful nutrients like vitamin C and flavonoids that support the health of all your organs, including the kidneys. If your doctor advises a low-potassium diet for your kidney health, focus on fruits and veggies that are significantly lower in this mineral. Your best veggie options include:
- Red peppers
Avoid seasoning your vegetable dishes with salt and salt substitutes, and opt instead for dried or fresh herbs, chopped garlic or onion and a splash of olive oil.
Among fresh fruits, you have a lot of delicious low-potassium options, including:
- Berries, such as blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries
Stick to recommended serving sizes, though, because too much of any low-potassium food can end up having a lot of potassium.
Dietary Changes for Increasing Kidney Function
A dietitian may propose other modifications to your diet to increase your kidneys’ function, like reducing your overall protein intake from meats and other animal foods. Because kidney disease is often related to high blood pressure, you may also need to monitor your sodium intake, eschewing canned or frozen foods in favour of fresh, and avoiding processed meats like bacon and sausage.
Suggested dietary changes for kidney disease may involve limiting foods high in the mineral phosphorus, like cheese, milk and yogurt; and protein foods like oysters, sardines and liver.