Kidney Disorders –Symptoms, Causes, and prevention by Superfoods

Sep 10, 2019

Kidneys are a set of two bean-shaped organs which act as the waste filtering system of our bodies. Healthy kidneys filter our blood twelve times every hour. Recent studies have shown, that, one in three women and one in three men will suffer bladder infections in their lifetime. And, one in 10 men and one in 35 women are likely to suffer from kidney stones.

What is Kidney related Disorders?

Any illness which affects the normal functioning of our kidneys is known as a Kidney Disorder. They are, primarily, of two types:
 

  • Acute Kidney Injury and failure - A sudden damage to the kidneys is known as Acute Kidney Injury. It is extremely serious and requires immediate treatment. Typically, Acute kidney failure occurs when kidneys stop working suddenly or over a short period of time (normally within two days). In a healthy body, the damage can be reversed if cured immediately. Kidneys may even function normally after the treatment.

 

  • Chronic Kidney Disease - Chronic Kidney disease is a gradual worsening of kidneys over a number of years. The last stage is known as kidney failure. At this stage, the patient will require regular dialysis or a kidney transplant.


There are often few or no symptoms of kidney disorders. For this reason, it is also known as the Silent Disease. According to the National Kidney Foundation, only 10% of people are aware that they suffer from Kidney Diseases.

Symptoms of Kidney Disorders:
 

  • High blood pressure
  • Haematuria or, blood in the urine
  • Change in frequency of urination
  • Pain or a burning sensation while urinating
  • Oedema or swelling around legs and ankles
  • Back pain, under lower ribs
  • Tiredness and lack of energy
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Dry and itchy skin
  • Cramping muscles


What causes our Kidneys to Malfunction?

Kidney diseases can occur due to any of the following reasons:

  • Glomerulonephritis or, acute inflammation of the kidney
  • High blood pressure can cause damage to vessels carrying blood to the kidneys.
  • Diabetes leads to too much glucose in the blood
  • Polycystic kidney disease, i.e., growth of cysts on kidneys
  • Reflux nephropathy or, damage due to the backward flow of urine
  • Congenital abnormalities of the urinary tract or the kidneys
  • Kidney disorders can be genetic as well


Can Foods help Prevent Kidney Disorders?

Research has shown that antioxidant-rich ‘superfoods' can help protect our kidneys against diseases. Free radical molecules form in our bodies due to excessive oxidation of fats and cholesterol. Foods containing antioxidants can help neutralize these free radicals, thereby, protecting our organs. Maintaining a renal diet consisting of the following kidney-friendly foods can work wonders for patients.
 

  1. Red bell peppers - Red bell peppers are a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, folic acid and fiber. They also contain an antioxidant known as lycopene which protects our body against certain diseases.
  2. Cauliflower - Cauliflower is rich in vitamin C and a good source of fiber and folate. It is full of compounds like, indoles, glucosinolates, and thiocyanates which help the liver neutralize toxic substances. 
  3. Cabbage - Cabbage contains chemical compounds, known as phytochemicals, that break up the free radicals before they can cause any harm. It is an affordable source of vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B6, folic acid and fiber.
  4. Blueberries - Blueberries are rich in antioxidant phytonutrients called anthocyanidins, which help reduce inflammation. They are also a good source of vitamin C, manganese and fiber.
  5. Cranberries - Cranberries prevent bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall, thereby, protecting us from infections. In a similar fashion, they also protect the lining of the gastrointestinal tract.
  6. Raspberries - Raspberries contain a phytonutrient called ellagic acid. Ellagic acid helps in neutralizing free radicals in our body, thereby, preventing cell damage. They are also rich in vitamin B, vitamin C, fiber, folate, and manganese.
  7. Strawberries - Strawberries are a good source of two kinds of phenols - ellagitannins and anthocyanins, which prevent oxidative damage. They contain vitamin C, fiber and manganese. 
  8. Cherries - Cherries are full of antioxidants and phytochemicals and help reduce inflammation.
  9. Red Grapes - Flavonoids present in red grapes help by preventing oxidation and reducing the formation of blood clots. Reversetol found in this fruit can help stimulate the production of nitric acid which relaxes muscle cells in the blood vessels and help increase the blood flow. 
  10. Apples - Rich in fiber and anti-inflammatory compounds, apples prevent constipation, help reduce cholesterol, protect against heart disease and reduce the risk of cancer.
  11. Onions - Onion contains sulfur compounds which have a pungent smell. They are rich in quercetin, a powerful antioxidant. They are also a good source of chromium, a mineral which helps in maintaining carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism.
  12. Egg whites - Being high in protein, egg whites are a rich source of amino acids and low in phosphorus.
  13. Olive oil - Olive oil contains is a good source of anti-inflammatory fatty acid, known as, oleic acid. Polyphenol and antioxidant compounds present in olive oil help prevent inflammation and oxidation.
  14. Fish - Fish is a rich source of protein and anti-inflammatory fats, known as, Omega-3s. Tuna, herring, mackerel, rainbow trout, and salmon are varieties of fish rich in these Omega-3 fatty acids.


Apart from the above, garlic, buckwheat, Radish, Turnips, Pineapple, Macadamia nuts, sea bass, and shiitake mushrooms also make the cut-off for foods ideal for a renal diet.

However, if you are currently suffering from kidney diseases, it is recommended that your daily diet should not exceed a limit of 2000 mg per day of sodium and potassium and, 1000 mg per day of phosphorus. Keeping this in mind, it is essential to avoid foods from the following list as they may aggravate your condition.
 

  • Fruits like avocados, apricots, bananas, oranges
  • Brown Rice and whole wheat bread
  • Colas
  • Processed and Canned foods
  • Cured or pickled foods
  • Dairy Products
  • Potatoes, tomatoes, dates, raisins, and prunes


It is important to consult your doctor regarding dietary restriction if you are suffering from kidney disorders. A renal dietician can help you design a diet low in sodium, potassium, and phosphorus. It is also important to maintain an overall healthy lifestyle to ensure a healthy mind, body, and organs.
 

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