Keep Your Kidneys in Good Health with the Right Renal Diet
Kidneys are vital organs in our bodies. They are a crucial part of our urinary system. Two bean-shaped organs lying below the rib cage, one on each side of the spine, are kidneys. Daily they filter about 200 quarts of fluid from our bodies. The main role of kidneys is to eliminate waste that leaves our body as urine. Poor kidney health and function can cause a range of discomforting symptoms, such as muscle cramps, vomiting, nausea, a loss of appetite, swelling in the ankles or feet, dry itchy skin, excess or too little urination, shortness of breath, and trouble sleeping. So, kidney health is of utmost importance to leading a healthy life. Chronic kidney disease can be concerning. And, acute kidney failure can be life-threatening. So, good health of the kidneys is crucial. To raise awareness about the significance of kidneys and to minimize the frequency and impact of kidney disease and associated health issues, World Kidney Day is celebrated on the second Thursday of March every year. This year 2023, World Kidney Day is celebrated on 9th March. The theme of World Kidney Day 2023 is “Preparing for the unexpected, supporting the vulnerable!”. It focuses on spreading awareness about kidney health, preventive measures to avoid kidney issues, associated risk factors, and how to live life with kidney disease.
Fortunately, adopting certain dietary measures can help maintain your kidney health, particularly in individuals suffering from chronic kidney disease. A kidney-friendly diet is the right eating plan that helps safeguard your kidney from further damage. You need to restrict the intake of certain foods and fluids so that fluids and electrolytes do not accumulate in your body. At the same time, you need to ensure that you have an appropriate balance of minerals, protein, vitamins, and calories. Consulting certified dieticians and nutritionists can help you receive a customised diet for kidney health. So, you might be wondering what a renal diet should comprise and what it should limit, aren’t you? Check out dietary measures that define a renal diet for maintaining kidney health in individuals with kidney conditions.
8 Dietary Measures of Renal Diet to Maintain Good Health of Kidneys in Kidney Disease Sufferers:
Cut Sodium from Your Diet:
Sodium is a mineral present in several foods. It’s most common in table salt. It helps maintain water balance in your body and affects your blood pressure. Healthy kidneys are capable of keeping sodium levels in check. However, in individuals having chronic kidney disease, extra fluids and sodium accumulate in the body. It can lead to health issues, such as high blood pressure, fluid build-up around the lungs and heart, swollen ankles, and shortness of breath. In such circumstances, you should have less than two grams of sodium in your diet daily. Other simple steps to cut sodium from your diet involve:
- Avoiding table salt and seasonings high in sodium, such as sea salt, soy cause, and garlic salt among others.
- Replacing new herbs and spices in place of salt.
- Eating homecooked food, as fast foods are high in sodium.
- Avoiding packaged foods, as they happen to be high in sodium.
- Making sure that you read labels before buying foods so that you can have low sodium content.
- Rinsing canned foods, such as vegetables and fish, with water before you serve them.
Limit the Intake of Phosphorus and Calcium:
These minerals help maintain your bones strong and healthy. Healthy kidneys remove phosphorus that your body does not need. However, in kidney disease sufferers, phosphorus levels can soar and it can put them at risk of developing heart disease. Moreover, it can cause a drop in your calcium levels, thereby making your body use the calcium from your bones. This would make your bones weak and vulnerable to breakage.
In people with advanced stages of chronic kidney disease, the healthcare provider may recommend limiting phosphorus to not more than 1,000 mg per day. You may do this by:
- Opting for foods low in phosphorous
- Relishing more fresh fruits and vegetables
- Cutting back on meat, fish, and poultry
- Preferring to eat corn and rice cereals.
- Avoiding packaged foods containing added phosphorus. Check for “PHOS” in the ingredients section on the label.
- Limiting dairy and processed foods.
- Eating smaller portions of foods rich in proteins.
Foods high in calcium also happen to be high in phosphorus. So, the dietician or healthcare provider may recommend you cut back on calcium-abundant foods. So, prefer to eat dairy foods that are low in phosphorus, such as low-fat cream and Swiss cheese.
Minimize Your Potassium Intake:
Potassium helps your muscles and nerves function well. However, in people with kidney disease, their body fails to filter out extra potassium. It may make you suffer from serious heart issues when you have an excess of potassium in your blood. So, you need to limit foods high in potassium and avoid seasonings having high potassium content. You need to go for low-potassium foods, such as apples, cranberries, plums, pineapples, strawberries, cabbage, boiled cauliflower, cucumber, and celery.
Be Mindful of Protein Intake:
While proteins are crucial for maintaining a healthy body, eating more of them may make your kidneys work harder. When suffering from kidney disease, it is recommended to follow a low-protein diet. Excess proteins can cause waste to accumulate in your blood, and your kidneys may fail to eliminate it. So, you need to limit your protein intake. It involves cutting back on foods high in protein, particularly animal protein. You may need to restrict the intake of seafood, meats, and dairy products. Good protein options include skinless chicken, eggs, beans, and tofu. Proper protein consumption is tricky as the quantity differs from person to person based on the stage of kidney disease. Consulting certified dieticians and healthcare providers can help you have the right diet plan of protein and nutrients for maintaining kidney health.
Follow a DASH Diet:
This diet signifies Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It is rich in nutritious options, such as fruits, whole grains, vegetables, seeds, nuts, fish, and beans. DASH diet comprises low-fat dairy products, foods that are low in sodium and fats, and low quantities of sweets, sugar, and red meat. Have a word with your healthcare provider and dietitian to have a customised DASH diet that suits your kidney health needs the best. It is not an option for those who are on dialysis.
Regulate Fluid Intake:
Early-stage of chronic kidney disease does not need to cut back on fluids. However, in later stages, some kidney patients are recommended to limit their daily intake of fluid. If you experience worsening symptoms with increased fluid intake, you may need to reduce the quantity of water and fluids you drink daily. To limit your intake of fluid, you need to exercise some dietary measures, such as:
- Manage your thirst with frozen grapes.
- Avoid eating salty foods
- Keep a track of your fluid intake in your food journal or use a specific container to have fluids to keep a track of the quantity you have daily.
- Keep a track of your weight.
Prefer Complex Carbs over Simple Carbs:
Counting carbohydrates can be a challenge at first when you are on a kidney-friendly diet. It helps you to keep a track of the quantity of sugar you consume. If you have diabetes, it’s necessary to check your intake of carbohydrates to keep your blood glucose levels in check. Simple carbohydrates, such as added sugar in packaged foods, desserts, and sweetened beverages, can cause a spike in your blood sugar easily and increase your risk of chronic conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, and heart-related ailments. On the contrary, complex carbohydrates require a longer time to digest and get absorbed. So, they raise your blood sugar slowly. So, complex carbohydrates are healthier options than simple carbohydrates. Replace simple carbohydrates with complex ones by including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lentils, and beans in your diet.
Restrict or Avoid Alcohol
Alcohol is harmful to your kidneys in many ways. It’s dehydrating that impacts your kidney’s ability to manage water levels in your body negatively. Also, it’s a waste product that your kidneys need to filter out of your blood, thereby making your kidneys less efficient. On top of that, alcohol can affect your liver function which can impact your blood flow to the kidneys, thereby leading to chronic kidney disease over time. Excessive consumption of alcohol increases the risk of hypertension which can make you suffer from kidney disease. So, make sure that you restrict or avoid alcohol to keep your kidneys healthy.
So, if you or your loved ones are kidney patients and wish to maintain the good health of your kidneys, adopt these dietary measures and spread the word about the significance of kidney health this World Kidney Day. Consulting certified dieticians and nutritionists, such as health experts at Health Total, can help you receive a personalized diet plan for kidney health. Our renal diet plan not only helps you keep your kidneys in good condition but also nourishes you with essential nutrients, manages your weight, boosts your immunity, and lowers or prevents potential health risks. So, waste no time, get in touch with us at Health Total and step up to care for your kidneys with our customised diet for kidney health.
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