Good Foods & Juices for the Kidneys

by Jessica Hendricks

Fresh juice along side of vegetables and fruits for a healthy meal.

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Including a good balance of both plant and animal protein foods, vegetables and fruits, whole grains and low-fat dairy or dairy alternatives in your regular diet as part of an overall healthy lifestyle -- along with regular exercise and weight control -- can potentially help reduce your risk of developing chronic kidney disease. Over 26 million Americans suffer from this condition, and according to the National Kidney Foundation, the number will likely rise. Include kidney-friendly foods in your diet as either whole foods or as fresh, natural juices.

Fresh Juices for Hydration

According to Harvard Health Publications, staying well-hydrated can reduce your risk of kidney stones, which may lead to kidney disease if left untreated, as the extra water from fluids you drink will help dilute the elements in your urine that can contribute to kidney stone formation. While water is the recommended source of hydration -- roughly eight 8-ounce glasses per day -- fresh fruit or vegetable juices can also be drunk in place of water to meet your fluid recommendation. Drinking citrus juices -- such as orange, lemon or grapefruit juices -- will also help with kidney stone prevention because the citrate in the juices helps prevent the stones from forming.

Low-Potassium Foods

Your kidneys are responsible for maintaining healthy potassium levels in your system. If you do not have well-functioning kidneys, a diet high in potassium could raise your blood potassium dangerously high. If making fresh juice, choose fruits and vegetables that are naturally low in potassium, such as apples, cranberries, kale and cherries. If you are cooking the foods, blanch or leach the vegetables first in water to help remove some of the potassium. Do not drink the liquid the vegetables or fruits were blanched or leached in.

Calcium-Rich Foods

Low-calcium diets can lead to raised oxalate levels, which in turn can lead to kidney stones. Include calcium-rich foods in your diet -- as whole foods or as part of a fresh juice -- along with enough vitamin D to aid with calcium absorption. This can reduce your risk of developing kidney stones. While dairy products are among the richest in calcium, broccoli, cabbage and kale are also good sources of calcium. You can eat the vegetables cooked or made into a healthy green juice.

Eat Fewer Animal Products

While getting enough protein in your daily diet is important, eating too much animal-based protein can put you at greater risk of developing kidney stones. A diet high in animal protein can cause uric acid levels to rise and citrate levels to fall, both of which are precursors to developing kidney stones. To meet your protein requirement, include plant-based proteins in your regular diet. Options include nuts and seeds, such as peanuts, sesame seeds, almonds and walnuts, as well as legumes, such as lentils and chickpeas.

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About the Author

Jessica Hendricks has worked as a professional journalist for CBS and ABC News in the areas of health, fitness and nutrition. Passionate about wine, she has also worked for several food and drink publications. She holds three master's degrees in Eastern European culture, journalism and nutrition and dietetics.