What the kidneys do.
The kidneys process more than 150 quarts of blood each day to separate out the body’s waste. Small units inside the kidneys, called nephrons, host a chemical exchange where waste and excess water exit the blood and are taken by the urinary system.
What harms the kidneys.
Foods rich in animal protein are not suggested if you have kidney problems, as a diet high in protein can aggravate these conditions. Avoid eating meat, eggs, dairy, and other animal protein sources. Metabolizing the proteins causes the kidneys to enlarge and adds stress to other organs.
Uric acid is a toxic substance that accumulates in the body. This harmful substance can cause damage to the kidneys as well as other organs. Blending and drinking a cup of cranberries with water and lemon juice cleanses the kidneys of uric acid.
Kidneys’ worst aggressors:
Genetically Modified Foods
Kidney Stones and Plant-based Nutrition:
Approximately ten percent of urinary stones are formed from uric acid. The most common risk factors associated with urinary stones are high uric acid excretion, low urine volume and acidic urinary pH values. Diets that help reduce these factors may lower the incidence of urinary stones and uric acid crystallization. An investigation of 10 healthy male subjects ingesting a high meat-containing diet for 2 weeks, followed by three different standardized diets for 5 days each (Western Diet, omnivorous diet, and ovo-lacto vegetarian diet). This study suggested that the western diets may lead to the highest risk of urinary stone formation. Although the omnivorous diet displayed a significant decrease in uric acid excretion; this was reduced even further in the ovo-lacto-vegetarian diet. Therefore, a vegetarian diet may help reduce the risk of urinary stones due to a higher alkali load with fruits and vegetables alkalizing urinary pH and lowering uric acid concentration.
Kidneys and Protein:
Protein from plants may be preferable for patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), due to lower bioavailability of phosphate and decreased acid load on the body. A cross-sectional study of 2,938 patients with CKD found that a higher percentage of plant protein in the diet was associated with lower FGF-23 levels and higher HCO3 levels, but not associated with increased serum phosphate or PTH concentrations. Increased levels of all three biomarkers are among the indicators of the onset of kidney disease. Higher amounts of plant protein were not linked to higher serum potassium, lower albumin, or lower hemoglobin. These associations did not vary by diabetes status, sex, race, CKD stage, or total protein intake.
The kidneys are highly vascular organs, and thus susceptible to vascular damage endured from the standard American diet. Protein in the urine is a sign of kidney injury. Diets high in animal protein, animal fat, and cholesterol are associated with increased microalbuminuria, and subsequent overt kidney disease. Therefore, diets low in these products may be protective against kidney damage.
Chronic Kidney Disease and Diet
From 1990 to 2010, the incidence of Chronic Kidney Disease has doubled. In a review of the standard American diet (processed and refined foods, high contents of sugars, salt, fat, and protein from red meats) and its effects on the kidney, the diet appears to have negative effects on human renal function. A decline in renal function was observed in those who consumed an animal protein-rich diet, as compared to those consuming a plant protein-rich diet. Consumption of excessive animal proteins leads to a marked acid load to the kidney, and has been associated with the development of kidney stones. Higher meat consumption leads to increased renal acid excretion and the production of ammonia, which can cause metabolic acidosis and a higher risk for tubulointerstitial injury. In addition to eliminating meat, it is beneficial to add dietary fiber. In a meta-analysis of 14 trials involving 143 participants, the additional dietary fiber significantly reduced serum urea and creatinine levels.
Consumption of animal products impairs renal vascular function, leading to increased inflammation and subsequent microalbuminuria. Studies show that meat ingestion impacts factors such as GFR, glucagon, prostaglandins, and increased albuminuric response. Glomerular hyperfiltration is thought to be due to an inflammatory response via vasodilatory prostaglandins, as a result of animal protein consumption. This is supported by studies showing that the level of hyperfiltration decreases when indomethacin is administered.
 Siener R, Hesse A. Fluid intake and epidemiology of urolithiasis. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2003;57.
 Scialla JJ, Appel LJ, Wolf M, et al. Plant protein intake is associated with fibroblast growth factor 23 and serum bicarbonate levels in patients with chronic kidney disease: The chronic renal insufficiency cohort study. Journal of Renal Nutrition. 2012;22(4).
 Lin J, Hu FB, Curhan GC. Associations of diet with albuminuria and kidney function decline. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2010;5(5):836-43.
 Odermatt, A. The Western-style diet: a major risk factor for impaired kidney function and chronic kidney disease. Am. J. Physiol Renal Physiol. 2011;301:F919-F931.
 Chiavaroli L, Mirrahimi A, Sievenpiper JL, Jenkins DJA, Darling PB. Dietary fiber effects in chronic kidney disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled feeding trials. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition Eur J Clin Nutr. 2014;69(7):761-768.
 Fioretto P, Trevisan R, Valerio A, et al. Impaired renal response to a meat meal in insulin-dependent diabetes: role of glucagon and prostaglandins. American Journal of Physiology-Renal Physiology. 1990;258(3)F675-F683.
Kidney Cleanser Juice
- 1 cup organic cranberries
- 4 cups of filtered water, divided
- 4 dates or 2 Tbsp. date paste or 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
- 2 red organic apples, sliced
- Juice of 2 organic lemons
- 1 Tspb. Cardamom (optional)
- 1 sprig fresh organic mint or peppermint (optional)
- In a medium size pot combine the cranberries and 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Turn the heat off and let cool. In a food processor blend the dates or date paste with lemon juice and remaining one cup of water. Transfer to a large glass container or jar and add sliced apples, and all the cranberries and water. Stir and add cardamom and mint leaves if desired.
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