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A good diet resembles healthy kidneys

  • Posted on- Jul 30, 2015
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Healthy kidneys ensure the removal of fluids and wastes from our bodies. Many vital body functions are controlled by the kidneys. A healthy kidney diet is important, because when the kidneys are affected by any disease, their functions begin to fail to the point of becoming fatal. In order to control the deterioration of the kidneys, it is imperative that one follows an appropriate diet. It is also important to understand when one may be at risk of developing a kidney disease, in order to be able to follow a suitable diet. One may be at a risk of kidney disease when one suffers from any of the following:

  • A person may be susceptible to contracting kidney disease when one suffers from diabetes.
  • People suffering from high blood pressure may develop kidney problems.
  • Chain smokers are susceptible to kidney dysfunction.
  • If one has a family history of kidney disease, one is more prone to suffering from the same.
  • Kidney disease is also common in people who are obese, and in people who are above 50 years of age.

By following the diet for healthy kidneys mentioned below, one may reduce the risk of contracting chronic kidney disease. Even for those who already endure the same, this diet will help reduce the effects of the disease.

Diet for Healthy Kidneys

Persons with kidney problems are required to follow a diet low in proteins, which should also be low in sodium and potassium. For those who have diabetes along with conditions of the kidney, one must also follow a low-carb diet. Mentioned below are some guidelines to avoid certain nutrients, and consume some others, in order to be able to follow a diet for healthy kidneys.

  • Sodium
When the intake of sodium is high, it leads to high blood pressure and water retention, thereby causing excess water to collect in the kidneys, thus affecting kidney function. A Daily Value of 20% or more implies that the food item has high amount of sodium. To control sodium intake:
  1. Limit the intake of table salt in the food you eat.
  2. Apart from table salt, there are various foods high in sodium levels such as crisps, crackers, and processed foods. Try to avoid the intake of such foods.
  3. It is wise to read the nutrition facts of any food product before purchasing it. These facts enlist the exact amount of sodium present in the product.
  4. Sodium is also present in foods under the name monosodium glutamate (MSG). Keep a watch for such ingredients in packaged foods.

  • Proteins
It is true that proteins help build muscle and repair tissues in the body. However, excess proteins increase the stress on the kidneys and cause further damage. Surplus proteins have been detected mainly in non-vegetarians, as meat contains significant amounts of protein. As such, it is sensible to reduce the consumption of proteins. Limiting the intake of protein and eating the right kind of protein foods will help decrease the stress on the kidneys. You must consult with your nephrologist and dietician to chalk out a suitable quantity for your individual case.

  • Water Intake
Kidneys tend to become unhealthy, when there is lack of water in the body, as their primary function is to filter wastes and eliminate toxins through urine. As such, they require enough water to perform this function. But this is not always the case when you have a kidney disease.
  1. Usually, during a kidney disease, nephrologists suggest to have adequate consumption of fluid, but ensure that you don’t push fluids in your body. When the kidneys become impaired, their ability to filter the excess water deteriorates. Depending upon the condition of the kidney, there are some cases wherein you may be asked by the nephrologist to limit your fluid intake due to complications including high blood pressure and edema.
  2. Avoid drinking caffeinated products such as tea, coffee, and soft drinks. Green tea may be permitted in limited amounts.

  • Calcium and Phosphorus
These two minerals strike a balance when working together and help keep teeth and bones strong. When the kidney fails, there may be a collection of phosphorus in the kidneys, which is unsafe, while calcium may become low. As such, limiting foods high in the same is essential.
  1. Some examples of foods high in phosphorus are dairy products, legumes, meat products, nuts, and seeds.
  2. Technically, every food item has some amount of phosphorus. You can opt for foods lower in phosphorus such as, fresh fruits and vegetables, white bread, rice, pasta, green peas, and cereals.
  3. In some cases, additional supplements will be required to adjust the level of both calcium and phosphorus in the body. Your nephrologist may prescribe a medicine that would help reduce the building up of phosphate in your blood.

  • Potassium 
Potassium is a mineral that helps the kidneys function normally. When the kidneys fail, there may be a collection of potassium in the blood, which is bad for the muscles and mainly, the heart. As such, it is advisable to avoid potassium rich foods.
  1. Salt used to flavour meals, that are available in the market are very high in potassium. Try to substitute salt with other flavouring agents such as lemon and herbs.
  2. Low potassium fruits such as apples, grapes, blueberries, and tangerines may be consumed.
  3. Other potassium rich foods to be avoided are tomatoes, oranges, avocados, spinach, and more.

By including these foods in your diet, you will be able to control any kidney problems or dysfunction. However, it is advisable to consult a nephrologist as well as a dietician when facing kidney problems. Do not self-diagnose or diagnose anyone else. Kidney problems are crucial and prevention is always better than cure.