good bad carbs

Around 26 million Americans are believed to have chronic kidney disease. There is a lot of evidence that a diet high in plant-based foods can be beneficial for kidney health. Of these plant-based foods, certain whole grains, beans, vegetables and fruit are known to have a particularly good impact on our kidney health, potentially helping to combat chronic kidney disease. Below are 6 best plant-based foods to eat to improve your kidneys. 

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Kidney Function

Our kidneys play an essential role in detoxifying our body. They help to filter out toxic products into our urine. However, kidneys play other vital roles within the body. This includes: 

  • Regulate the mineral, water and acid content in the body
  • Maintain healthy fluid
  • Balance blood sugar levels
  • Manage blood pressure
  • Regulate bone health
  • Control red blood cell production

Why is Kidney Health Important?

Many factors can increase the risk of developing kidney problems including genetics and bad habits like smoking. However, one of the biggest factors is a diet high in meat and dairy and processed meats, and iced drinks; not enough healthy carbohydrates and vegetables could put you at risk. The reason is meat and dairy cause a buildup of toxins and increase acidity in the body. That being the case, the kidneys have to work harder and harder as they are responsible for removing these toxins and neutralizing acidity in the body. If kidneys are unable to fully perform their duties, then we will feel physically and emotionally drained. Issues that may arise are tiredness, weight loss, swollen ankles, insomnia, an increased need to urinate, and feeling fearful.

6 Best Foods to Eat for Kidney Health

Brown Rice

First and foremost, the most healthy food for your kidneys is brown rice. Brown rice is the most balanced and stable food. Keep in mind, some consider brown rice to be acidic food. However, if properly cooked and chewed well then brown rice is alkalizing. Additionally, brown rice is high in fiber. The fiber supports kidneys by helping to detoxify the gut and digestion. As well as, improves the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. We recommend having a daily bowl of brown rice. 


Buckwheat is not actually a grain, but a wild grass that has been used as a grain for thousands of years. Therefore, it is a great for gluten intolerant individuals. Buckwheat is high in minerals, protein, fiber and antioxidants making it perfect for improving the health of kidneys and digestion. Additionally, whole grains to include in your plant-based diet are barley, millet, oatmeal, bulgur, polenta, semolina pasta, and unyeasted sourdough bread that is steamed before eating. Toast and hard-baked flour products are hard on the kidneys

Root vegetables

In Oriental medicine, root vegetables are used to strengthen and nourish the kidneys. Carrot, daikon, burdock, parsnip, turnip, and radish can be cooked in soups, stews, sautes and a variety of vegetable and bean dishes. Root vegetables also provide a good balance of minerals, vitamins and fiber to prompt healthy kidneys and vitality in general.


Onions are also good for renal health. They are rich in vitamin C, manganese and vitamin B – all nutrients that are important for good kidney health. Most importantly, is that onions help kidneys to control blood sugar levels. They are also a very versatile vegetable for cooking with. Onions can provide flavoring when you don’t want to use salt. If you don’t already cook with onions, now is the time to embrace them.

Azuki beans, Lentils and other beans

All beans help promote healthy kidney function and are beneficial for cardiovascular health, regulating blood sugar, digestive health and weight loss. Beans are an excellent source of folate manganese, phosphorus and other minerals. They are an excellent source of fiber and plant protein and also promote healthy, smooth skin.

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens, such as Chinese cabbage, collard and turnip greens, broccoli, cabbage, kale, brussel sprouts, and bok choy are high in vitamins and minerals. They are also alkalizing and aid in neutralizing acids in the body. But actually one of the biggest benefits of eating leafy greens for kidney health is that they are high in iron. Iron is essential for the production of hemoglobin and red blood cells. So kidneys need iron to supply oxygen to the body. Not only do these vegetables nourish you with calcium and iron, they can also be added in almost any meal.

Macrobiotic Counseling

A macrobiotic diet and lifestyle should be adjusted from person to person to get optimum results. That is why consulting a macrobiotic specialist is essential. With over 45 years of experience, Denny Waxman is an accredited macrobiotic counselor ready to help you feel better through diet and lifestyle. Contact Denny Waxman to schedule a macrobiotic counseling session today.

For more interesting articles about nutrition, macrobiotics, and living a healthy lifestyle, please visit Denny’s macrobiotic blog.