BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Maintaining personal health and wellness can easily take a backseat to life’s daily juggling act of attempting to balance career, family, and social/community responsibilities.

Fortunately, small tweaks to daily eating habits can trigger significant improvements to health. 

For example, using the summertime 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 Institutue of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the kidneys remove wastes 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, nerves, muscles, and other tissues in your body may not work normally.

Your kidneys also make hormones that:

  • control blood pressure
  • make 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 U.S. are estimated to have CKD. It adds that as many as nine in ten adults with CKD don’t realize they have the illness. 

Residents in Louisiana are not immune to the disease.

America’s Health Rankings reports that in 2021, 3.8% of Louisianians were diagnosed with CKD. 

Symptoms of CKD may include fatigue, high blood pressure, loss of appetite, water-electrolyte imbalance, an abnormal heart rhythm, fluid in the lungs, insufficient urine production, itching, severe unintentional weight loss, and swelling.

To try and improve kidney functioning and avoid experiencing the symptoms listed above, it may be helpful to consume snacks like the three listed below

#1

Fresh Berry Smoothie 

Enjoy a cool and refreshing smoothie that includes blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, almond milk, with no added sugar. These berries are good for the kidneys as they are all full of manganese, vitamin C, fiber, and folate. 

#2

Moroccan Sweet Potato Salad 

This naturally sweet salad consists of diced slices of cooled roasted sweet potato that’s been mixed with dried cranberries and thinly sliced almonds. Drizzle your favorite olive oil-based salad dressing over it and enjoy. The salad’s sweet potatoes are especially good for kidney health as they cotain fiber, beta-carotene, and other vitamins and minerals that support the kidneys. The olive oil and cranberries also have a positive impact on the kidneys.  

#3

Golden Squash, Pepper, and Tomato Casserole

In this recipe, golden squash, tomato, bell pepper, basil, and feta (optional) are topped with a thin layer of bread crumps and baked for about twenty minutes. Squash and tomatoes are both excellent food options when it comes to promoting kidney health. Squash is a good source of essential nutrients for health like fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin C and B6. Tomatoes are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, low in calories and high in fiber.

Additional eating habits that can help improve kidney functioning include:  

  • Buy fresh food often. Sodium (a part of salt) is added to many prepared or packaged foods you buy at the supermarket or at 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 own food, you control what goes into it.
  • Use spices, herbs, and sodium-free seasonings in place of salt.
  • Check for sodium on the Nutrition Facts label of 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, meats, 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; or 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.