Kidney infections, also known as pyelonephritis, are a painful condition caused by bacteria entering the urinary tract and making their way to one or both kidneys. This infection leads to inflammation and swelling that can permanently damage the kidneys if left untreated. While antibiotics are necessary for treating the underlying infection, making dietary changes like drinking certain fruit and vegetable juices can help reduce symptoms and promote healing. When choosing juices for a kidney infection, it’s important to avoid produce high in potassium and select options that have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and hydrating properties. In this article, we will discuss the best juice options to drink when trying to treat and recover from a kidney infection.
Causes and Symptoms of Kidney Infections
Kidney infections often start as bladder infections (cystitis) that ascend through the ureters to infect one or both kidneys. Women are at higher risk as they have a shorter urethra that allows bacteria quick access to the bladder. The most common cause is the E. coli bacteria, but kidney infections can also be caused by Klebsiella, Proteus, Enterobacter, or Enterococcus faecalis bacteria.
Symptoms of a kidney infection include:
– Fever and chills
– Nausea and vomiting
– Pain in the back, sides, or groin
– Frequent and painful urination
– Cloudy, bloody, or foul-smelling urine
– Increased urge to urinate but inability to pass much urine
Left untreated, a kidney infection can permanently damage the kidneys and lead to serious complications like sepsis, kidney scarring, abscesses, or kidney failure. If you experience symptoms of a kidney infection, it’s important to see a doctor right away for prompt antibiotic treatment.
Why Stay Hydrated with Juices
When fighting a kidney infection, it’s crucial to stay well hydrated to help flush bacteria from your urinary tract. Drinking juices provides hydration along with nutrients, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory compounds that can aid healing.
Some key reasons to drink juices for a kidney infection include:
– Increased Fluid Intake – Drinking juices is an easy way to increase your fluid consumption which helps dilute urine and prevent bacteria from adhering to the urinary tract.
– Nutrient Absorption – Juices make nutrients from fruits and vegetables more bioavailable and easier to absorb compared to eating whole produce. This allows the body to readily utilize beneficial compounds.
– Anti-Inflammatory Effects – Many juices contain antioxidants like vitamin C and flavonoids that reduce inflammation levels and help relieve kidney pain and swelling.
– Detoxification – Specific juices can boost kidney function, aid detoxification, and help flush out bacteria and toxins through increased urination.
– Immune Support – Juices containing vitamin C, zinc, and other nutrients bolster the immune system to help your body fight off infection.
Best Juices for a Kidney Infection
When choosing juices for a kidney infection, you’ll want to avoid produce high in potassium like bananas, melons, potatoes, and tomatoes, as excess potassium can further tax the kidneys. It’s also best to limit high sugar fruits and opt for low sugar vegetables instead.
Here are some of the top juices to help treat and recover from a kidney infection:
1. Cranberry Juice
Cranberry juice is a kidney infection go-to thanks to its beneficial compounds called proanthocyanidins. These compounds prevent bacteria like E. coli from adhering to the lining of the urinary tract and bladder, allowing them to be flushed out in urine. This helps prevent recurrent kidney and bladder infections.
Look for unsweetened cranberry juice and dilute it with water to reduce sugar content. Drink 1-2 glasses per day. The bitter taste can be improved by blending cranberry juice with apple juice or lemon water.
2. Lemon Water
Lemon water is a simple but highly effective kidney detox drink that stimulates urination to flush out toxins and bacteria. It also contains vitamin C, an antioxidant that reduces inflammation and boosts immune function. Squeeze fresh lemon juice into warm water and drink 3-4 times daily. Adding lemon juice to other juices can also provide these benefits.
3. Celery Juice
Celery juice contains potassium and sodium that help balance electrolyte levels within the body and support kidney function. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce swelling and kidney pain. Juice 4-5 stalks of celery and drink first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
4. Cherry Juice
Cherry juice is packed with antioxidants called anthocyanins that reduce inflammation and pain. It’s an ideal kidney-cleansing drink thanks to its mild diuretic effect that increases urination. Opt for tart cherry juice with no added sugar and drink 6-8 ounces daily.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar Drink
Adding 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to water creates an alkalizing kidney detox drink. Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid that prevents bacteria growth, balances pH levels, and promotes urine production. Mix with a squeeze of lemon juice and sip this drink 3 times per day.
6. Ginger Tea
Ginger contains compounds called gingerols that exhibit anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and pain-relieving properties. Steep sliced ginger root in hot water to make a therapeutic kidney infection tea. Drink 2-3 cups per day with lemon and honey for additional healing benefits.
7. Beet Juice
Beets are a kidney superfood that enhances overall kidney function and blood filtration thanks to their nutrients like nitrates, carotenoids, folate, and betalains. Juice raw beets and carrots for a sweet, earthy juice. Have 4-6 ounces daily.
8. Pomegranate Juice
Pomegranate juice provides Punicalagins, ellagic acid and potent antioxidants that protect kidney cells from damage, reduce inflammatory cytokines, and decrease oxidative stress. Drink 4-8 ounces of unsweetened pomegranate juice daily.
9. Blueberry Juice
The antioxidants in blueberries called anthocyanins reduce inflammation of the kidneys, combat bacterial growth in urine, and protect the renal system from oxidative damage. Blend fresh or frozen blueberries into a smoothie or juice.
10. Watermelon Juice
Watermelon is very hydrating thanks to its high water content while also being rich in nutrients like citrulline that boost nitric oxide levels and improve kidney function. Watermelon juice makes a tasty, cleansing drink for kidney infections.
Other Important Tips for Kidney Infection Recovery
Along with drinking the best juices for kidney health, here are some other important tips to speed up your recovery:
– Get plenty of rest to allow your body to heal.
– Apply a heating pad to provide relief for kidney pain and muscle aches.
– Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and carbonated beverages which can irritate the bladder.
– Increase your fiber intake to prevent constipation from antibiotics.
– Take over-the-counter pain medication as needed to manage discomfort.
– Drink juices and water consistently throughout the day to stay hydrated.
– Finish your full course of antibiotics even after you start feeling better.
– Monitor your temperature and symptoms and return to the doctor if not improving.
– Get kidney function tested after to check for any lasting damage.
Kidney Infection Juice Recipe
This simple juice recipe incorporates many of the best ingredients for combating kidney infections into one powerful beverage:
Kidney Tonic Juice
Wash all produce thoroughly. Juice the cranberries, celery, apples, lemon, and ginger until smooth consistency is reached. Add several ice cubes and enjoy this nutritious beverage once or twice daily. Shake or stir well before drinking.
Kidney infections cause serious discomfort and can permanently damage the kidneys if left untreated. While antibiotics are necessary to clear the bacterial infection, drinking the right juices can help reduce symptoms, speed healing, and support kidney function. The best juices for kidney infections are cranberry, lemon water, celery, cherry, apple cider vinegar, ginger tea, beet, pomegranate, blueberry, and watermelon. These provide hydration, nutrients, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory compounds that deter bacteria, flush the urinary tract, and protect kidney cells. Along with juices, get plenty of rest, apply heat, avoid irritants, take pain medication, and finish all antibiotics. With the proper medical treatment and supportive care, you can recover fully from a kidney infection.