How to Observe National Kidney Month
March is National Kidney month. At QOL we love and appreciate our kidneys, and we think you should too! The kidneys don’t get the attention they deserve – they are working around the clock to keep you healthy. In this blog we will tell you about the important role your kidneys play, foods that promote healthy kidney function, and foods you should avoid for optimal kidney health.
For most of us the kidneys are somewhat of a mystery. They do not get as much attention as other organs such as the brain or heart, but they are silently performing a major role within your body. Here are 6 ways your kidneys work to keep you healthy:
- Regulate fluid levels
- Activate Vitamin D for healthy bones
- Filter waste from the blood
- Direct production of red blood cells
- Regulate blood pressure
- Keep blood minerals in balance
Here are 7 kidney friendly superfoods:
- Apples – this fruit is a great source of pectin. Pectin is a soluble fiber that can lower cholesterol and glucose levels. This fruit is also a significant source of antioxidants!
- Blueberries – eat them raw or mix them into a fruit smoothie! Blueberries are a low-calorie source of fiber, vitamin C and antioxidants.
- Kale – this amazing green is packed with Vitamins A and C, calcium, and tons of other important minerals. The high levels of carotenoids and flavonoids may be linked to eye health benefits. Try baking some unsalted kale chips!
- Strawberries – this red fruit is a powerhouse packed with vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber. Known for cardio protective qualities as well as anti-inflammatory properties.
- Sweet potatoes – loaded with beta-carotene, vitamins A, B-6 and C, along with potassium! Sweet potatoes are low calories and a great choice for kidney health.
Here are some delicious recipes featuring kidney friendly foods:
- This shrimp and apple stir fry is fresh, light and perfect for spring!
- This unique cucumber soup is creamy and delicious, while only containing 77 calories per serving!
- These sweet potato fries are low in sodium and make a great kidney friendly side dish.
- Pairing kale and strawberries, sounds delicious! Try this superfood salad.
Some foods contain ingredients that can be especially taxing on your kidneys. Here are 5 foods to stay away from when focusing on kidney health:
- Soda – with no nutritional benefits, soda is packed with sugar and calories.
- Processed deli meats – cold cuts such as, bologna and ham are filled with sodium and nitrates. Choose leaner meats like fresh roasted turkey or chicken.
- Butter – although butter makes everything better, in this case butter is made from animal fat and contains cholesterol, calories and high levels of saturated fat.
- Mayonnaise – mayo is high in calories and saturated fat. A healthier swap is Greek yogurt.
- Frozen meals – pre-made meals like frozen pizza or microwavable dinners are heavily processed. This can mean excess sugar, sodium and fat content.
We hope this blog taught you a thing or two about your kidneys! Keep your kidneys in mind when making meal choices this month – and year. Share this blog with your friends and family so they can be informed on all things kidney health too.