Recently, I have been inundated with clients presenting with kidney dysfunction. Our kidneys remove waste from the body while keeping the body’s chemicals and water in balance. Keeping the kidneys healthy is extremely important for overall health, and diet plays a huge role in doing so.

There are a number of diseases that can develop when the kidneys start to malfunction. Nephritis develops when the filtering tissues in the kidneys become inflamed; Bright’s disease develops when blood pressure is high on a continual basis, water is being retained, and there is blood in the urine.  Bright’s disease is also a condition of chronic inflammation in the kidneys.  The bloodstream at this point becomes toxic due to the overload of unfiltered waste and uremia can develop at later stages.  Renal kidney failure can also result from this or other disorders such as congestive heart failure, diabetes, chronic hypertension and liver disease. Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is an inherited condition in which cysts grow on the kidney causing them to malfunction.

Kidney disease can manifest from an unbalanced diet high in protein (especially red meat) and sugars, and/or an excess in oxalic acid-forming foods such as peanuts, pecans, wheat bran, spinach, rhubarb, beets and chocolate. It can also be caused by overexposure to drugs (prescription or recreational), toxins, cleaning solvents, venom from snake or bug bites, and pesticides.

When toxic waste accumulates in the bloodstream, your kidneys are malfunctioning. Symptoms that may indicate an issue with your kidneys include painful urination, frequent urination with irritation, chills and fever as if you have the flu, chronic lower back pain, fatigue, nausea/vomiting, swelling/edema, bloating, swelling of ankles and hands with shortness of breath, abdominal pain, and appetite loss. The urine may become cloudy or bloody or have a lot of foam.

Remember, the body works as a whole, not in parts and if you continue to treat symptoms and not the underlying problems, other areas of the body will continue to break down. Simply taking a pill to fix an immediate symptom can and will cause other issues to manifest.

Changing your diet and taking correct supplementation that aids in controlling a urinary tract infection will help maintain proper kidney function.  Foods that inhibit kidney filtering are red meats; too much animal protein in general such as pork, chicken and turkey; dairy products; refined starches; salty, fatty and fast foods; and dark green, leafy veggies that are high in phosphorus and potassium.

Keeping the diet balanced with correct proteins, complex carbohydrates, fats, sodium, sugars, phosphorus and potassium is vital for healing and reversing kidney disorders. Helpful vitamins include B-complex, vitamin C, total EFA (essential fatty acid), and zinc.

Amanda Beckner is owner of Your Body Code in Palm Desert which offers personalized nutrition and wellness programs. For more information, visit or call (760) 341.BODY(2639).

Sources: 1.) The Merck Manual of diagnosis and therapy 15th edition 1987. 2.) Mosby’s Nutritional Care 4th edition by Mary Courtney Moore RD,  RN, PhD 1993. 3.) Understanding Nutrition by Eleanor Noss Whitney & Sharon Rady Rolfes 17th edition 1993.

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