We take our kidneys for granted, pure and simple. How important are the kidneys? They’re responsible, first and foremost, for filtering waste out of the body. Don’t want your body to be filled with waste? Keep your kidneys working properly. Unfortunately, people abuse their kidneys routinely with processed foods, excess sodium (salt), painkillers, inadequate water intake and excessive alcohol consumption, among other vices.
As much as those and other lifestyle choices can damage the kidneys, a plant-based diet can protect them from damage – but only the right kind of plant-based diet. According to research published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, people who eat a healthy plant-based diet (whole-grain foods including fruits, vegetables, nuts / seeds, legumes, etc.) the most are 14 percent less likely to develop kidney disease compared to people who rarely eat those foods.
However, “plant-based” doesn’t necessarily mean healthy, especially when it comes to your kidneys. According to the study, people whose plant-based diets are high in potatoes, juice, sugary drinks and processed desserts (yes, plant-based, but no, not healthy) are 11 percent more likely to develop kidney disease compared to people whose plant-based diets are low in these foods.
The moral to the story: A plant-based diet is important, particularly in terms of kidney health – but not if it’s an unhealthy diet! Talk to your doctor to learn more.