Kidney disease, commonly referred to as Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), is a health condition where the kidneys stop functioning the way they should. When the kidneys get damaged over a period of a few years, they can’t filter the blood anymore. This damage can build up the dangerous levels of fluids and wastes in your body.
If you are a kidney disease patient, you may suffer from severe health problems. You are more likely to have a stroke or heart attack. You also have a higher chance of having high blood pressure. The definitive treatment for a failing Kidney is Renal Replacement Therapy but treatments can reduce the symptoms and prevent kidneys from progressing to complete failure. However, it is important to note that not every patient needs a kidney transplant or dialysis. You may just need to change what you eat and add healthy habits to help protect your kidneys from permanent failure.
Healthy eating for kidney disease patients
There is a strong connection between diet and kidney disease. Avoiding or limiting certain foods in your diet can help improve kidney function and prevent further damage. You need to make significant changes to your diet by limiting salt, potassium, fluids, and eating low-protein foods.
Salt is found in almost all foods. Too much salt or sodium can cause you to retain more fluids and raise your blood pressure, which in turn can worsen your kidney disease. The best thing to do is to limit the intake of salt.
• Do not add salt to your food.
• Take fresh fruits and vegetables instead of salty foods and drinks.
• Avoid canned vegetables and processed foods.
• Avoid high-sodium items like soy sauce, ketchup, pickles, etc.
Protein is an essential building block of human body. It helps build, maintain, and repair every cell of your body. But as a high-protein diet produces more waste, it makes your kidneys work harder and causes more damage. Depending on your body size and activity level, you need to limit protein or eat the best source.
• Eat small, limited portions of protein foods.
• Low-protein foods such as fruits, vegetables, rice, etc are recommended during the early stages of CKD.
• Patients on dialysis should eat high-protein foods such as eggs, red meat, fish, etc.
Potassium is found in several fruits and vegetables, nuts, beans, and dairy foods. Just like salt, potassium should be balanced in your body. When your kidneys are not functioning properly, the levels of potassium may rise in your blood, which in turn badly affects your heart rhythm. So, you should choose the right food item to control your potassium levels.
• Eat fruits such as apples, plums, peaches, watermelons, berries, and grapes.
• Avoid cantaloupe, kiwis, oranges, bananas, honeydew, raisins and other dried fruit.
• Choose vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, eggplant, beans, onion, lettuce, cucumber, peppers, cauliflower, cabbage, and zucchini.
• Limit tomatoes, potatoes, spinach, avocado, pumpkin, and asparagus.
Water is essential for your body. But if you have kidney disease, you may not need fluid in large amounts. Too much fluid in your body is dangerous as it can cause high blood pressure and heart failure. During the early stages of CKD, you may not need to watch the amount of fluid you drink. But, if you are on dialysis or your condition worsens, you need to limit the fluid intake. Since many fruits and vegetables are high in water, it’s recommended to cut down on such foods.
The above information should be used as a basic guide. Everybody is different and has different nutritional needs. Consult a renal nutritionist, an expert in nutrition and diet for kidney disease patients, to find a meal plan that is suitable for you.