How to Improve Kidney Function Naturally

Three Methods:Making Lifestyle ChangesChanging Your DietUsing Herbs

Kidney damage can occur for a variety reasons and some of these reasons are beyond your control, such as aging and genetics. If you are concerned about developing kidney disease, then there are some things that you can do to support your kidneys and prevent the onset of kidney disease, such as losing weight, changing your diet, and by drinking kidney support teas (as long as your doctor approves). Keep in mind that you should continue to follow your doctor’s recommendations for diet, medications, and fluid intake as well.

Method 1
Making Lifestyle Changes

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    Quit smoking. Smoking increases your risk of kidney problems and several other serious health problems as well. If you are a smoker, then quit as soon as possible to reduce your risk of developing kidney disease.[1] Ask your doctor about medications and smoking cessation programs that might help you to quit smoking.
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    Reduce your alcohol intake. Having one or two alcoholic drinks a couple times each week is a reasonable amount, but any more than this amount may damage your kidneys. Heavy drinking will put you at an even higher risk of kidney damage. Heavy drinking is defined as more than 3 drinks a day for women (or more than 7 a week) and more than 4 drinks a day for men (or more than 14 a week).[2]
    • If you are having trouble controlling your alcohol intake, talk to your doctor for help.
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    Lose weight. Being overweight can contribute to poor kidney function because your kidneys will have to work much harder.[3] If you are overweight, make losing weight a priority and work to maintain your weight loss. Talk to your doctor for help if you are struggling to lose weight. Some good ways to improve your chances of weight loss include:
    • keeping a food diary
    • drinking more water
    • getting more exercise
    • eating more fruits and vegetables
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    Increase your activity level. Getting more exercise with benefit your overall health and it may also help to improve your kidney function, so try to make sure that you get some exercise every day.[4] Even 30 minutes of walking can help to improve your overall health.
    • If you have a hard time fitting in 30 minutes at a time, then try breaking your exercise sessions up over the course of the day. For example, you could do two 15 minute exercise sessions or even three ten minute sessions throughout the day.

Method 2
Changing Your Diet

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    Drink more water. Water is essential for preventing kidney stones, but it can also help to promote good kidney function. If you are concerned about kidney disease, then you should try to drink more water. Make it your goal to drink between six to eight 8 ounce glasses (about 1.5 to 2 liters) of water every day. If you are at risk of kidney stones, then you should drink even more water per day.[5]
    • Keep in mind that if your doctor has recommended a specific fluid intake for you, then you should stick to this recommendation.
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    Eat a moderate amount of protein. High protein diets can “overload” the kidneys, so it is important to eat only a moderate amount of protein to keep your kidneys healthy. About 20 to 30% of your calories should come from protein.[6] For example, if you ate 2,000 calories in a day, then your calories from protein should be between 400 and 600 calories.
    • You can determine whether or not you are meeting this goal by keeping track of what you eat and paying special attention to your calories from high-protein foods. High-protein foods include things like meat, eggs, fish, and dairy products.
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    Reduce your sodium intake. Sodium can also cause problems for your kidneys, so it is best to avoid high-sodium foods and reduce your sodium intake as much as possible. You can reduce the sodium in your diet by cooking your own food and by limiting the amount of prepared and processed foods that you eat.
    • If you do use any prepared foods, make sure that you read the labels and avoid foods with added salt.
    • Keep track of how much sodium you eat each day. You should try to stay below 2,300 mg per day if you are under 51 years old and under 1500 mg per day if you are over 51 years old.[7]
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    Choose foods that are low in fat. Low-fat foods will help to protect your kidneys as well as your heart and arteries. Try to steer clear of high-fat foods like fried foods, baked goods, and other fat-laden dishes. Instead, choose low-fat foods such as:[8]
    • lean cuts of meat
    • low-fat cheese
    • low-fat milk
    • poultry with the skin removed
    • fruits
    • vegetables
    • beans
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    Limit phosphorus if you have been told to do so. If you you have kidney disease that is more advanced, then you may need to limit your phosphorus intake. Make sure to limit your phosphorus intake if you have been instructed to do so. Foods that you should limit include:[9]
    • deli meats
    • meats with added phosphorus
    • dairy products
    • cola
    • processed foods
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    Watch your potassium intake if you have been advised to do so. It is important to maintain the proper balance of potassium, so you may need to avoid or limit certain foods if you have been told to follow a lower potassium diet. Foods that tend to be high in potassium include:[10]
    • salt substitutes
    • oranges
    • bananas
    • potatoes
    • tomatoes
    • brown rice and wild rice
    • bran cereals
    • dairy products
    • whole wheat breads and pastas
    • beans
    • nuts

Method 3
Using Herbs

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    Ask your doctor before you start taking any herbs. Herbs can improve the health of many different systems, but you should not use herbs if you have kidney disease. If you want to use herbs to improve your kidney function, make sure that you check with your physician first. Many herbs contain significant levels of electrolytes such as potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and sodium, which can cause problems for you if you have poor kidney function. Some herbs can also interact with other medications that you are taking.[11]
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    Consider drinking kidney support teas. If you have visited your physician and have received a “clean bill of health” regarding your kidneys, then you may be able to use some kidney support teas. To make a cup of herbal tea, use a tea bag or use one teaspoon of dried herbs for every cup of boiled water. Pour the boiled water over the herbs and allow it to steep for about five to 10 minutes. Drink two to three cups of tea per day. Some of the herbs that may be used to support kidney function include:
    • Dandelion leaf[12]
    • Parsley leaf
    • Corn silk
    • Marshmallow[13]
    • Uva Ursi (Bearberry)[14]
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    Stop using herbs if you experience any negative side effects. Herbal teas may cause some negative side effects for some people, even though these effects are often mild. If you notice that your body is reacting to one of the herbs you are using, then stop using that herb and contact your doctor.


  • Never stop taking a medication without talking to your doctor first. It is also important to let your doctor know about any natural or alternative medicines you are using to improve your kidney function.

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