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If there is any mantra for managing a kidney disease it is simple.- follow the right diet. What you eat and drink has a direct impact and can help slow down chronic kidney disease.
The kidneys are two important organs in our body. They help remove wastes from the blood and avoid water retention in the body. When anyone is detected with kidney problems it is a must that you have a kidney friendly meal every day to avoid major issues.
Diet plays a crucial role in managing kidney disease.
The foods that we eat can affect how the kidneys work. Therefore, below are four food groups which should be limited or totally avoided if possible.
- High Phosphorus Foods – Phosphorus is a mineral found in the. Along with calcium, it is necessary healthy strong bones and to keep other body parts healthy. Healthy kidneys help the body get rid of the extra amounts of phosphorus that is not needed in the body. During renal diseases, the kidneys are no longer able to function properly. This leads to high levels of phosphorus in blood called hyperphosphatemia. This is harmful as it can bone pain and other health problems. It also leads to calcification in the heart arteries, joints and lungs that is extremely painful and dangerous. Therefore, foods such as chocolates, cocoa, nuts, carbonated drinks, beer, cheese, custard, ice cream, milk, pudding, chicken liver, sardines, vegetables like kidney beans, chick peas, soy beans, black beans and bran cereals and whole grain products must be avoided.
- High Potassium Foods – Potassium plays an important role in keeping the heartbeat regular and proper working of our muscles. It helps in sustaining a healthy nervous system and brain function. Healthy kidneys maintain a proper level of potassium. When kidneys fail they are no longer able to remove excess potassium, thereby leading to a build up of potassium in the body. If the potassium level becomes too high, it causes irregular heartbeat or even leads to a heart attack. So while most foods already have potassium, anyone with kidney disease must limit the portion size of fruits such as apricots, bananas, papaya, pear, figs, oranges and veggies like broccoli, carrot, black beans, kidney beans, mushroom, avocado, pumpkin, dark leafy greens, potatoes. One must also reduce the consumption of milk products and dried fruits.
- High Sodium Foods – When there is renal malfunctioning, extra sodium and fluid build up in the body leading to swollen and puffed ankles, legs, hands and face. There is also a rise in blood pressure, shortness of breath, and/or fluid around your heart and lungs. Limit the salt intake in your daily meals. Also avoid salty seasonings such as soy sauce, pickles, instant soups, fast foods and salad dressings. Salted snacks (chips, nuts) are a complete no no. Canned and processed foods must not be consumed. Opt for foods labeled as sodium free, salt free, light in sodium and lightly salted.
- High Protein Foods – Protein on consumption produces a lot of waste products in our body. These are filtered out by the nephrons in the kidneys and flushed out in the urine. Anyone with unhealthy kidneys lose the ability to remove this waste and it builds up. Excess protein waste causes nausea. One also experiences a loss of appetite, nausea and fatigue. Reduce the consumption of meat. Additionally keep a watch on the intake of eggs, poultry, fish and milk products like cheese and paneer.
Some recommended diet pointers for people suffering from CKD –
- Avoid adding salt to your food when cooking or eating. Try cooking with fresh herbs, lemon juice or other salt-free spices instead.
- Include veggies like bell peppers, cabbage, cauliflower and fruits like apple, strawberries, cranberries, cherries in the diet.
- Use virgin oil for cooking, to make salad dressing or for marinating vegetables.
- Tip for reducing potassium intake: Cut vegetables into small pieces, soak them in a large volume of water for 1-2 hours before cooking, drain and cook normally. You could also boil them and drain off water.
- Control your meal portions. Eat slowly. Stop eating the moment you feel full.
- Since you need to limit fluids, measure your fluids before consumption. Drink from small cups to help keep track of how much you’ve had to drink.
Maintaining a healthy weight makes it easier to manage your health. Maintain a regular note of your weight and any increase or decrease must be discussed with your doctor. Since each one's condition varies it is essential that you have a tailored dietary plan specific to you. So reach out to a good renal dietitian to guide you and follow the prescribed diet carefully.