Smoothies for Kidney Disease…A Guide To Kidney Friendly Smoothies

These days many people consume smoothies for a variety of reasons. Most people take them because they taste great and offer a variety of health benefits.

Smoothies are a great option for people with kidney disease; the fluid helps hydrate the body and the fiber content helps normalize many body functions and helps sweep away kidney toxins.

However, people with renal failure should know that smoothies are slightly different from juices; while both taste great, smoothies contain a higher concentration of fiber and nutrients which can help detox the body. When a smoothie is prepared in a blender, the entire fruit including the pulp is crushed. When making juices, the fibers and pulp are filtered and only the clear liquid remains. 

For kidney health smoothies are preferred over juices.

What Are Smoothies For Kidney Disease Made Of?

Smoothies can be made of almost any fruit or vegetable that is lower in potassium, plus one can add a wide range of kidney friendly juices, and can even include cereal. It is best to make smoothies at home as this is cheaper and you know exactly what the contents are. The only piece of equipment you need is a blender.

Kidney Disease Smoothies Can Be Made Of Any Of The Following:

  • Fruits: apples, red grapes, apricots, cherries, berries all kinds, pineapple, guava, etc
  • Vegetables: Alfalfa sprouts, Arugula, Kale, Leeks, Lettuce, Mustard greens, etc. 
  • Nuts (if allowed in your renal diet): almonds, peanuts, pecans, pistachios. 
  • Extra Add-ons: honey, stevia, low sugar jam and jelly.
  • May need to season it with a touch of sugar, spice (cinnamon, cloves), or salt

There is no rule preventing you from making a smoothie with any kidney friendly food you want. Smoothies are rich in fiber, once you blend the food, it tends to be viscous – hence you will need to add some type of liquid to make it drinkable. Again, the fluid you add depends on your personal preference and taste.

Some Fluids for Kidney Disease Smoothies 

  • Almond milk
  • Rice milk
  • Oat milk
  • Soy milk. 

Can I Add Extra Protein To My Kidney Disease Smoothie?

This depends on what kind of renal diet you are following. If you are including protein in your diet you can add in a vegetarian based protein powder. 

The reason we prefer vegetable based protein such as rice or soy protein powder is, because the toxins produced from digestion are easier for the kidney to handle. As opposed to animal based protein powders such as whey. Which is harder for the kidney to process. 

Make sure to read the label of these protein powders to make sure that they do not contain high amounts of salt and potassium.

Finally when adding protein powders to your smoothie start with a small amount because large amounts can make the taste gritty and difficult to swallow.

If you prefer you can add egg white, if consuming animal proteins, or tofu to your smoothie for your protein needs. However only add one two egg whites otherwise the smoothie will become unpalatable. Tofu is available in stores and if in your budget purchase an organic tofu with little to no salt.

How Often Can I Drink A Kidney Smoothie?

If you have no restrictions on fluid intake, you can drink a smoothie several times a day without any harm. But for most people, a smoothie a day is fine otherwise it may become monotonous.

Besides drinking, smoothies can also be frozen and consumed as a popsicle or use less liquid, so they are thicker and can be consumed with a spoon.

Are Smoothies Safe For People With Kidney Disease?

If you have chronic kidney disease and have no fluid restrictions and use kidney friendly foods than smoothies are healthy and good for your kidneys.

However, if you have diabetes, then you should limit the intake of fruits and sugar in your smoothie. To not raise blood sugar. 

Finally, remember a smoothie may contain anywhere from 100-400 calories depending on what ingredients you use. While fruits and vegetables contain only a small amount of calories, other ingredients like milks, honey, cereal and nuts are packed with calories. If you are trying to control your weight, use plenty of veggies and fruits to make your smoothie but avoid too much dairy, nuts, and sugar

How Does A Smoothie Help People With Kidney Disease

Smoothies are useful for detox as they are rich in fiber. The benefits of fiber include the following:

  • The fiber in smoothies works inside the gut by preventing absorption of harmful substances and supplying essential nutrients to the good bacteria. This good bacteria help the kidneys do their job.
  • Fiber also helps prevent constipation and lowers blood sugars. 
  • Fibers help with the digestive process
  • Even though you may drink small amounts of a smoothie, the fiber will make you feel full quickly. So overeating is less of an issue, especially if you are trying to control or lose weight this will help limit the intake of calories
  • The fiber also acts like a magnet and attracts water, thus, helping you get rid of excess water from the body
  • Finally, smoothies provide extra fluids to the kidneys and this helps excrete any toxins in the body.

 Should I Buy Smoothies From A Store?

Smoothies are available from retail stores but these smoothies are packed with calories, contain many additives and preservatives, and are costly. If you have kidney disease then it is best to make your smoothie at home as you can control the number of calories, the size of the smoothie, and the quality of your ingredients. 

If you purchase a smoothie from a store make sure to ask for kidney friendly ingredients and no added salt or other harmful ingredients

How To Make The Best Kidney Disease Smoothie

  • Select Kidney Friendly Fruit: Use about 1/2 to 1 cup. If fresh fruit not available, use frozen fruit
  • You may also select a kidney friendly vegetable about half a cup
  • Liquid: can be water, cranberry juice, apple juice, rice or almond milk and about 1/2 to 1 cup. 
  • Add a ½ teaspoon of vanilla, lemon extract, honey or peanut butter.
  • Pour into a blender and blend until the contents are smooth. May need to add more juice to thin the smoothie according to personal preference.
  • Sprinkle any accessories like stevia, corn flakes, nuts, etc
  • Chill for 15-30 mins and consume; Best consumed when made fresh

How Healthy Are Smoothies For People With Kidney Disease

Extremely healthy for anyone with kidney problems. There is no question that smoothies taste grea,t but one has to keep in mind that an average glass can contain anywhere from 100-550 calories. 

What Is A Kidney Detox & Can I Use Smoothies To Do It 

One of the ways to protect the kidney is by using a detox or cleansing…essentially what this means is that you clean the kidneys on a regular basis.

Kidney detox is usually done with certain liquids, foods, and herbs. Smoothies are a perfect way to safely and easily detox the kidneys.  The purpose of the kidney detox or kidney cleanse is to get rid of all toxins and harmful substances from the kidneys so that the organ starts to function as new.

There are several kidney cleansing methods and while the concept of detox is the same, the process of cleansing may vary. In general, a kidney cleansing program is a diet and/or liquids, juices, tea, smoothies, herbal drinks, and certain herbs that can help detoxify the kidney and at the same time improve the overall health of the body.

Does Kidney Cleansing Work?

Unfortunately, there have not been many clinical studies to determine if cleansing programs work but anecdotal reports indicate that they don’t harm the individual or the kidney.

There is absolutely no harm in restricting a regular diet for a few days and sticking to a liquid diet for 1-2 days.  On the other hand, others claim that kidney cleansing can be done by simply remaining well hydrated and eating a well-balanced diet. However, the herbs used in cleansing may promote kidney health and there is no harm in trying them. 

So How Does One Cleanse The Kidneys?

Here are some basic recommendations anyone can use:

  • Drink more water: The key to cleansing the kidney is to remain well hydrated and drink adequate amounts of water. Water is essential for many body functions; it also plays a vital role in the absorption of nutrients and getting rid of toxins and other wastes from the body. Regular intake of water helps maintain kidney function and also washes out bacteria and prevents kidney stones. Many healthcare professionals recommend that people drink 6-8 glasses of water a day.
  • Decrease sodium intake: too much sodium is not good as it can result in an increase in blood pressure; in turn, the high blood pressure can damage the kidneys. Thus, it is important to reduce the intake of sodium in the diet. Currently, guidelines recommend that one should not take more than 2.0 g of sodium per day. It is important to read labels and avoid processed foods which are loaded with sodium
  • Change your diet: If you want to maintain your kidneys you need to make the following changes in your diet
    • Avoid regular consumption of fast and processed foods; while these foods taste great, they are full of junk calories
    • Limit the intake of simple carbohydrates and this means avoiding sugar and artificial sweeteners. 
    • Decrease the amount of red meat, bacon, ham, pork 
    • Limit the intake of alcohol as it has no medical benefits. The mild health benefits of alcohol can easily be obtained by walking for 30 mins every day
    • Avoid too many caffeinated beverages
    • Eat kidney-friendly foods which include the following:
      • Fruit
      • Vegetables
      • Whole grains (if phosphorus is not elevated)
      • Organic soy products

Detox of the kidney is not a mandatory undertaking, nor does it have to be rigid. Do not starve yourself and drop your blood pressure as this may result in a trip to the emergency room, which will cost you a fortune.

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