The Best Foods to Detox Your Kidneys: Understanding the Stages of Kidney Disease

In this video, the speaker discusses the importance of understanding how the kidneys work in relation to food and how to take care of them. The kidneys are fragile organs that do not repair well, making it crucial to protect them. The speaker explains the stages of kidney disease and the different dietary restrictions for each stage. They also highlight the main causes of kidney damage, including diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney infections, and certain medications. The video provides a list of recommended foods for kidney health, emphasizing the need for low-sodium, low-potassium, and low-phosphorus options while still ensuring adequate protein intake.

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Key Insights:

– The kidneys are fragile and don’t repair and regenerate well, making it crucial to understand how to take care of them through diet.
– Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is common, affecting about one in seven people in the United States.
– The main causes of kidney damage are type 2 diabetes, hypertension, kidney infections, and the use of certain drugs.
– Sugar and insulin resistance play a major role in kidney damage.
– The stages of kidney disease determine the dietary restrictions. The recommended foods for a kidney diet differ depending on the stage.
– Stage 5, kidney failure, requires careful medical supervision and major dietary restrictions.
– Limiting sodium, potassium, phosphorus, nitrogen (from protein), and fluid intake is crucial for people with kidney disease.
– Consumption of high-quality proteins is important for tissue repair and replenishment, but excessive protein intake can produce excess nitrogen waste.
– Exercise and stress reduction are beneficial for kidney health.
– Apples, bell peppers, berries (especially raspberries), cabbage, cauliflower, green leaf lettuce, onions, egg whites, meat, fish, garlic, ginger, and turmeric are recommended foods for kidney health depending on the stage of kidney disease.


Hello Health Champions. The Kidneys are rather fragile. Unlike a lot of other vital organs, like the liver, the kidneys don’t repair and regenerate very well, and that’s why it’s so critical that you understand a little bit about how the kidneys work in relation to food so that you can take really good care of them and make them last as long as possible. I really urge you to watch this video all the way through because the best foods to help detox your kidneys are going to be different depending on what type of kidney problem you have.

Chronic kidney disease also known as CKD is pretty common. When you reach stage 3, meaning that your eGFR, or your filtration rate, we’ll talk a lot about this, when that goes below 60 milliliters per minute now you have stage three and if that lasts more than three months now you have chronic kidney disease. And this affects about one in seven in the united states that’s 37 million people and if you think about your average crowd then it might be a whole lot more common than you think.

The kidneys are full of tiny little vessels called microtubules and when they get damaged we have micro vessel disease. This is also what’s causing blindness in diabetics so the number one cause of this disease is type 2 diabetes. The high blood sugar causes swelling and damage to these fine blood vessels. The second thing that damages these fine blood vessels is hypertension or high blood pressure. The higher pressure increases the friction and the strain on these blood vessels. Then we can have kidney infections which is of course an immune issue. This is called glomerulonephritis and we also do damage with over-the-counter drugs like aspirin and Tylenol, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and while there are other causes as well, these first three accounts for the vast majority of kidney damage. And what is the cause of these things in turn then of course what we talk about a lot on this channel it is sugar and insulin resistance. So sugar and insulin resistance is almost synonymous with type 2 diabetes but they also cause metabolic syndrome. Type two diabetes is part of metabolic syndrome and so is hypertension a huge percentage of high blood pressure goes away when people reduce their insulin resistance. And also immune issues sugar is very detrimental to your immune system so all in all sugar and insulin resistance accounts for the vast majority of kidney damage.

Now we really have to understand the stages of kidney disease because the foods are going to be different for different stages and it’s kind of interesting how they name these because stage one of chronic kidney disease. That sort of sounds like you have early chronic kidney disease, right? But it actually means that your filtration rate is over 90 and that is normal so in my mind that would be called healthy or maybe stage 0 if you will but for some reason normal is called stage 1. Then it’s equally curious with stage 2 because this is when you’ve fallen below 90, but you’re still above 60. So that would be the pie chart number two here and the curious thing there is that now you are starting to get some kidney damage your kidney is not filtering optimally anymore and you could even have some symptoms at this stage even though that’s not very common. However when you get your blood results back and if your eGFR is for example 77, like in this case, then you would be right in the middle of stage 2 but you’re not going to get a flag because you’re over 59 and the lab reference says anything over 59 is normal even though you’re at this point now in stage 2 chronic kidney disease. But stage 3 is when you start to really have some trouble this is where you really want to pay attention. It’s when you’re between 30 and 60 and they’ve divided this into 3a and 3b. Stage 4 is when it’s below 30 but above 15 and stage 5 is when you filter less than 15 milliliters per minute. Now your kidneys are really shutting down. So we’re going to go through and talk about some different foods relating to this but understand that when they talk about the typical recommended foods for a kidney diet, they’re talking about this segment; this pie right here between 15 and 60; stages 3a, 3b and stage 4. The other stages are completely different. And we’ll talk about the worst one first stage five is when you have kidney failure your kidneys are filtering less than 15 milliliters per minute. This affects about 2 million people worldwide and interestingly the us has almost half of those 785 000 people of those are in the U.S. So even though the U.S. has 4 % of the world’s population we have about 39 % of all the kidney failures. Almost 10 times the average rate. So that should tell you something about this being a dietary problem. The fact that we spend four trillion dollars on so-called health care has done nothing to reduce these numbers, which again of course means that maybe that four trillion dollars that they call health care isn’t health care at all but rather sick care. So again if you want to get healthy then you have to learn and understand some things and take care of yourself not rely on the system to do that for you. And the reason you want to do everything you can to avoid stage five is that by the time you get there there’s really only two choices. One is dialysis which is sort of a miracle. It’s very nice that they have sophisticated machines to filter your blood for you when your kidneys have given out. That can keep you alive for a while but it’s not a pleasant lifestyle and the five-year survival rate is only 35 %. That even though there are people who can live 20-30 years with dialysis, the life expectancy is very, very poor and a large number of people die within the first year. If you were a normal person and you hit your 60th birthday you would expect to live to about 80 or 85. But if you are 60 and you get put on dialysis your life expectancy is about 64 years old. The other option besides dialysis would be a transplant and the life expectancy here the five year survival is much better it’s a full eighty percent however, there’s only about twenty percent who can get it there’s a hundred thousand people in line every year for a kidney transplant but there’s only about twenty thousand kidneys available. So most of these people have to wait and get dialysis and a whole lot of them die while they’re waiting.

So why do people with kidney disease need to limit certain foods and the problem with the kidney is that it can’t filter certain things adequately anymore and these are sodium, potassium, phosphorus, nitrogen, which is a waste product from protein consumption and even fluids even clean water. So while the kidney normally does a fantastic job of balancing and keeping and getting rid of all these substances when the kidney is damaged now it can’t do that anymore. It’s also really important that we understand one of the myths regarding this issue. And what they’re saying is we know the damaged kidney can’t filter certain things, that the sodium, potassium, phosphorus, nitrogen from protein and water. They do damage. They injure further the already damaged kidney. But then they jump to a conclusion and they say therefore these are bad things and by reducing them the conclusion is that now we can prevent kidney disease. That is not a valid conclusion because we need protein to build tissue. A healthy kidney needs protein to repair and replenish itself a mildly damaged kidney needs protein to repair the damage and these other things are essential minerals these are very very important that we get on a regular basis. So a healthy kidney needs these things a sick kidney you have to limit them because the body can’t regulate it anymore and to give you an idea how silly this argument is. It’s like saying that weight-bearing on a broken bone is bad because if you break a bone and you put weight on it if you walk on it every day not that you could from the pain but if you did then that bone couldn’t repair properly. And then they say therefore weight-bearing is bad for bones. While the exact opposite is true of course because weight-bearing is what builds strong bones to keep them from breaking.

Stage 1 and 2 the very early stages there is no major damage your kidneys are still pretty healthy stage one they’re absolutely normal stage two they’re starting to get just a little bit congested. So should we restrict these items? Well, stage one; I would say no, because you’re still healthy. You eat real, healthy food, then your body can regulate this. Stage two; it sort of depends. Now you wanna start looking at your blood work. Are your minerals off balance? Are some of these starting to build up? And if they’re not, then you’re still doing fine then you want to eat whole food so that your body has the resources to repair and replenish what it needs. But if your blood pressure is going up but if you have some other problems then yes maybe start looking at that. What you do want to do is you want to understand that the problem is insulin resistance. That’s what causes it. The sugar and the insulin clog up the kidneys, so with a low carb, high fat diet or a whole food diet, a paleo type low carb diet, you can stop putting the things in that damage the kidney in the first place. That’s the first key. Besides low carb you want to eat whole foods so you get the proper nutrients to rebuild your body including the kidneys. And what about protein? Well, you do need protein to rebuild the tissue so don’t cut back too far and don’t exaggerate by eating huge amounts because large amounts of protein produce a lot of nitrogen as a waste product and that can be toxic to a kidney especially if it’s having some trouble but you’d have to eat quite a lot to really create a toxic load of nitrogen but if you’re getting closer to the 60 here then maybe restrict the protein a little bit but remember you still need it to rebuild your tissues. And then of course you still want to do some exercise because exercise creates signals for your brain and your nervous system. It drives every single functional system in your body benefits from exercise. And you want to do some kind of stress reduction because stress drives blood pressure up relaxing and meditation reduces blood pressure and like we said high blood pressure is damaging to the kidneys. By reducing stress you’re also going to improve your immune system and reduce the chances of a kidney infection.

So stage five is a little different than any other case because now there is major damage. You do not want to try to handle this on your own you need to be under the care of a medical doctor. This is an emergency. The specialist is called a nephrologist. And you have to limit your sodium, potassium and phosphorus because your body can’t eliminate it. But you even have to limit your water intake because the kidneys are filtering so poorly you can’t even eliminate fluids properly. Now, protein is kind of a special case here because even though your kidneys are damaged and the nitrogen waste products are tough to get rid of you’re losing protein and you have to have a little extra. So there’s a protein called albumin. That’s the main blood protein that holds the water inside the bloodstream. But you’re losing albumin a few different ways. Usually when the kidneys are really bad your liver isn’t super healthy either so very often the production of albumin in the liver goes down. Then if your kidneys are still producing any urine then the protein is leaking out through the kidneys and the very process of dialysis actually filters out additional quantities of this protein. So you’re losing it three-way and this is causing severe edema. So it is very important that you get some protein but if you also watch my previous video on proteins you’ll understand that you want to focus on the high-quality proteins because the nitrogen waste comes from proteins that are turned into fuel, into energy. You want the better the quality of protein the higher the percentage of the protein that gets turned into tissue and if it gets turned into tissue there is no nitrogen waste. The lower the quality of the protein like oftentimes protein powders are poorly utilized and create a lot of nitrogen waste.

And this brings us to the situation where a standard kidney restriction diet is appropriate and this is stage three and four of chronic kidney disease. This is what we talked about the shaded area and now there is moderate to severe damage. There is still hope, but you can’t burden the kidneys very much and they can’t do their job optimally anymore. So in stage three and four you need to limit your sodium below 2000 milligrams per day you need to limit your phosphorus to less than a thousand and your protein should probably be limited somewhere between 60 and 80 grams depending on your body size now potassium’s a little different because it is still filtered properly in this stage 3a between 45 and 60 so you don’t want to limit it because it is a very very valuable mineral and if your body needs it and can still handle it then you don’t want to restrict it however once you hit 3b between 30 and 45 now you need to start watching it and you should limit it to below 3 000 milligrams and once you hit even lower in stage 4 you need to limit it below 2000 and why is this so important because a lot of your signaling in the body especially regarding the heart is very sensitive to potassium so too high a level of potassium can cause heart arrhythmias and in really severe cases it can actually cause your heart to stop.

So now that you understand those stages the foods become a cinch and you can figure this out for a wide variety of foods but remember that this applies for stage 3 and 4 primarily and if you need to review the other stages then go back and do that. So apples are often recommended they have some good cleansing properties their phosphorus is very low 11 milligrams potassium 107 milligrams and sodium only one milligram and all of these numbers are per 100 grams. So an apple might be actually large apple might be twice as big as that so here’s the caveat though if you are early like in stage three and your kidney is getting damaged by insulin resistance then you want to pass on this because if you have diabetes or insulin resistance sugar is the last thing that you want to add. There are other things with low levels of these minerals that will not add the burden of sugar. One such example is bell pepper so here you’re getting roughly the same low levels as an apple but without all the sugar. Very low levels of all three very common on recommended lists are berries so my favorite is raspberries because they have a lot of nutrients tons of flavor and very low in sugar so these berries are very similar they’re low in phosphorus potassium and sodium but raspberries only have five grams of sugar. Blueberries are a little higher in potassium and phosphorous but also twice as high in sugar and then something that’s associated with kidneys and bladder to help clear things out which is true are cranberries. Now the problem is I do not know many people who can consume cranberries without adding large amounts of sugar. So again just like the apple if you have insulin resistance or diabetes that’s what caused the kidney problem in the first place so don’t eat that unless you can drink it on its own without adding sugar.

Cabbage is a great food very low in these and there’s many many different ways that you can use cabbage and one of course is sauerkraut. Number five is cauliflower it’s a little bit higher in potassium and keep in mind that these numbers are per 100 grams and cauliflower is something that you could easily consume a few hundred grams so it’s only toward the later stages though that you have to limit potassium. Green leaf lettuce is another great one it’s very low in these items because their numbers are low to start with but it’s also very difficult to consume 100 grams of lettuce. I mean 30, 40, 50 grams of lettuce goes a long way. Another great food is onion. It is low in all these minerals but it’s also low in carbohydrates but high in sulfur-containing amino acids which can help boost glutathione and boost your immune system and your cleansing ability.

Now here’s an interesting one because egg whites are on virtually every list of kidney diets. So minerals are low in the egg white and it has a good amount of protein but here’s the problem when you take out the yolk which they recommend you take it out because of the phosphorus in this case. Now when you take the yolk out you’re lowering the protein value of this food it’s very poorly utilized when you only eat the egg white so you’re going to make more of this nitrogen waste that you’re trying to avoid. So what I would suggest is that you still eat the whole egg. When they say to restrict the phosphorus potassium sodium they say restrict you don’t have to eliminate it you don’t have to eat zero because everything has a little bit so what you want to do is you want to make sure that the protein you eat counts that you get the most possible building blocks the best possible building blocks for the amount of these phosphorus and these minerals that you consume. So you still have a kind of a budget of phosphorus so when you eat the protein make it count but of course you can’t have an unlimited amount of whole eggs because you’re still trying to limit these things. Same thing with meat and fish they’re usually not excluded from these kidney diets but they’re recommended that you limit them which I would totally agree with but these are still some of your best choices to get the protein because you do need some protein so when you do eat the protein make it count. Get the best quality that you can so that your body gets the proper building blocks. Even though it does have higher levels of these items you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck.

And number 10 on the list are three items that are generally considered very cleansing they have a lot of positive properties there. Anti-inflammatory antibacterial etc we have garlic ginger and turmeric and this is the only time I give you the quantities per 5 grams not 100 grams because you probably wouldn’t even be able to eat 100 grams of these if you tried they’re pretty potent. So garlic ginger turmeric very low levels and as you can see even a teaspoon of turmeric has some amount of potassium but again you’re not going to eat all that much. So this would be a great addition almost like a medicinal addition to help cleanse the body in small quantities. If you enjoyed this video you’ll love that one. And if you truly want to master health, by understanding how the body works, make sure you subscribe, hit that bell, and turn on all the notifications so you never miss a life-saving video.