Are Olives Good for the Kidneys? Images

Olives are high in sodium, a mineral that leads to problems if you consume too much. Having kidney disease or a family history of renal problems may mean you need to limit sodium. Since olives are naturally rich in sodium, keep your kidneys healthy by limiting or excluding olives from your diet.

Kidney Functions

Your kidneys' primary function is to excrete waste and toxins from your body. They excrete waste in the form of urea, a type of protein, and eliminate excess sodium, potassium and phosphate from your body. If your kidney function is impaired even slightly, these substances can build up in your kidneys, causing further irreversible damage. Adhering to a strict low-sodium diet, by limiting olives and other high-sodium foods, helps keep your kidneys working at their best.

Sodium in the Diet

Sodium helps regulate fluid balance throughout your body, but you only need about 180 to 500 milligrams for basic functions. Limit sodium to less than 2,300 milligrams per day to lower your risk of renal disease, high blood pressure and other health problems. If you already have these health problems, you may need to limit your intake to less than 1,500 milligrams, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sodium in Olives

Olives are in a variety of foods, including salads, burritos and pizzas. A serving of two to three olives, either black or green, provides approximately 60 milligrams of sodium, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. Because a small portion of olives provides such a high amount of sodium, ask for your entree without olives. Replace them with onions, peppers or mushrooms, all naturally low in sodium and full of flavor.

Other Considerations

Olives provide a small amount of potassium, another mineral. Too much potassium can damage your kidneys and impair your heart's normal function. Your doctor may suggest limiting potassium to less than 2,000 milligrams per day if you have abnormally functioning kidneys, says Virginia Commonwealth University. Olives contribute minimally to your potassium intake, about 1 milligram for every two olives you eat, but piling them on a pizza or salad quickly ups your potassium consumption. Potassium is in beans, tomatoes, bananas and melons, so eating these foods throughout the day in addition to snacking on olives may be hazardous to your kidneys.