Healthy Eating For Kidney Patients
Changes to your diet can often help to lower blood pressure, slow down your loss of kidney function and reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Most people with chronic kidney disease can get all the vitamins and nutrients they need by following a healthy, well balanced diet. But if you are approaching end-stage kidney disease you may need a special diet, where some types of foods and drinks are restricted, especially if you are on dialysis.
Eat These 15 Foods To Boost Your Kidney Health
09/29/2019 / By Zoey Sky
The kidneys are small, bean-shaped organs that serve the body in many ways. To improve your kidney health, eat fresh fruits and vegetables like apples, cucumbers, and garlic.
Your kidneys have several important functions:
- They help eliminate waste and excess water from the body
- They maintain salt and mineral balance
- They balance red blood cells
- They help metabolize vitamin D, which is essential for bone health
However, the kidneys can be overburdened by environmental toxins and an inflammatory diet. When your kidneys arent working properly, you may experience several problems, such as:
If youre worried about your kidney health, avoid the following foods:
- Foods high in potassium or phosphorus Your kidneys may have trouble balancing these minerals properly.
- Foods high in salt Foods like canned food, processed meats, and pickled foods are full of sodium, which can cause fluid retention and other kidney health issues.
- Protein-rich foods Consuming too much protein can strain your already overworked kidneys.
Maintain your kidney health by avoiding salty, processed junk foods and incorporating the kidney-friendly foods listed below into your diet.
Foods That Boost Kidney Function
Our kidneys are organs we typically don’t think about until we experience some sort of kidney distress or dysfunction. From kidney stones to acute kidney failure that requires dialysisthere are life-threatening dangers involved with your kidneys not functioning properly.
World Kidney Day, which falls on March 14, is aimed to raise global awareness of the importance of Kidney Health, as well as to increase screening for chronic kidney disease.
The leading causes of kidney failure are diabetes and high blood pressure, which have caused kidney failure to rank as the 9th leading cause of death in the United States. Similar to how you can adjust your lifestyle to help prevent heart disease or diabetes, you can also make changes to help boost your kidney function.
You May Like: Can You Have 4 Kidneys
Will I Need To Change My Diet If I Have Kidney Disease
Your kidneys help to keep the right balance of nutrients and minerals in your body. But if you have kidney disease, your kidneys may not be able to do this job very well. You may need to make some changes to your diet.
Ask your doctor about meeting with a Registered Dietitian with special training in kidney disease. A dietitian can teach you to make the best food choices based on your lab tests and personal lifestyle. Making changes in your diet to better control diabetes and high blood pressure can also help to keep kidney disease from getting worse. Meeting with a dietitian is a covered service by Medicare. The service may also be a covered benefit by other types of insurance. You may need to call your insurance provider to find out if meeting with a dietitian is covered by your plan.
Looking for nutrition guidance? Contact a CKD dietitian in your area.
A Healthy Kidney Diet: What Not To Include
A diet comprised of foods good for your kidneys includes antioxidant-rich foods that aim to keep swelling and bloating at a minimum. If you already suffer from kidney dysfunction or renal failure, below are the types of foods to limit consuming in order to keep your kidneys as healthy as possible:
Read Also: What Laxative Is Safe For Kidneys
What Is A Renal Diet
Unfortunately there is no permanent treatment/cure for kidney failure, only strategies to keep someone with kidney disease as stable and healthy as possible. One of these strategies is following a kidney disease diet that limits intake of certain nutrients, in order to cut down on the amount of waste in their blood. Thats because the kidneys are needed to properly balance ratios of water, salt and other minerals in the blood therefore, kidney dysfunction can lead to abnormal mineral levels.
What does a renal diet mean? A renal diet eating plan is one that restricts sodium, potassium and phosphorus intake, since people with kidney disease/kidney issues need to monitor how much of these nutrients they consume. These three micronutrients can accumulate in the blood and contribute to problems like high blood pressure , swelling and fluid retention, heart arrhythmias , bone disorders, and vascular calcifications.
Based on recent research findings, some experts worry that prescribing the traditional renal diet to patients encourages them to eat Western-type diets instead that are high in red meat, packaged products made with lots of preservatives and additives, and foods made with refined grains and sugars.
Eating Right For Chronic Kidney Disease
You may need to change what you eat to manage your chronic kidney disease . Work with a registered dietitian to develop a meal plan that includes foods that you enjoy eating while maintaining your kidney health.
The steps below will help you eat right as you manage your kidney disease. The first three steps are important for all people with kidney disease. The last two steps may become important as your kidney function goes down.
Read Also: Can Seltzer Water Cause Kidney Stones
Why Do Some Kidney Patients Need To Follow Special Diets
Advanced kidney disease can upset the delicate balance of essential nutrients in the body so some people may have to:
- restrict amounts of some types of foods and drinks to stop harmful build up in the blood
- modify their diets to help prevent muscle or bone weakening.
Others may have to avoid certain foods, such as fresh grapefruit or grapefruit juice because they can interfere with certain medications.
What Food Items Should You Limit In Kidney Disease
Many food items that are part of a typical healthy diet may not be right for you if youre suffering from kidney disease. If you are diagnosed with kidney disease, your doctor may recommend limiting certain food items such as
Depending upon the stage of your kidney disease, your doctor will advise you to reduce the potassium, phosphorus and protein levels in your diet.
Read Also: Can Seltzer Water Cause Kidney Stones
The Water Hydration Technique
You know how most of us generally go for long periods without water, become thirsty and scull the next available glass in about 30 seconds? Have you ever thought what this does to your body? No? I dont blame you.
The actual fact of the matter is that every time you a drink a glass of water in a hurry, you are placing pressure on kidney function. How? Well, seeing as one of the functions of the kidneys is to keep the fluid levels in the blood stream balanced, by drinking a full glass of water at once you are essentially dumping a large amount of water into the blood stream, which the kidneys now need to balance out . By drinking slowly, a mouthful at a time, you reduce the pressure on the kidneys and increase hydration. Sound too simple to do any good? Good. Now try it.
Carrots Good Food For Kidneys
- Carrots contain Vitamin A in the form of Beta carotene, which is soluble in water. It helps the kidneys in filtering the toxins from the blood.
- Beta carotene also helps in repairing any damage present in the tubules, which are the filtering structures present in the kidneys.
- It also works at the gene level inhibiting genes that promote kidney inflammations.
If selecting canned carrots, make sure that there is no additional sugar or syrups and its best to opt for a low sodium version as well while youre at it.
Also Check: Does Red Wine Cause Kidney Stones
Best Foods For Kidney Repair: Healthy Kidney Tips
People suffering from chronic kidney diseases or dialysis patients need to include kidney friendly foods in their diet for a healthy kidney. Check out the top food for kidney repair, many of which contain antioxidants that protect the body from over-oxidation.
Kidneys are important organs for eliminating wastes and toxins from the body, stimulate red blood production and regulate the blood pressure. If you have a kidney problem, the first thing your doctor will do is to give you medications. However, studies reveal that the best thing you could do for your kidneys is take a few servings of fruits and veggies every day. It could save your kidneys and also a lot of unnecessary medical costs.
More than 30 million people in America suffer from chronic kidney disease with another 20 million at an increased risk, and its not just about not drinking enough water. In the early stages, your doctor might not impose limits, but for worse conditions, you might be put on a renal diet. It is important to keep to proper levels of sodium, potassium and phosphorus.
Potatoes And Sweet Potatoes
Potatoes and sweet potatoes are potassium-rich vegetables.
Just one medium-sized baked potato contains 610 mg of potassium, whereas one average-sized baked sweet potato contains 541 mg of potassium .
Fortunately, some high potassium foods, including potatoes and sweet potatoes, can be soaked or leached to reduce their potassium contents.
Cutting potatoes into small, thin pieces and boiling them for at least 10 minutes can reduce the potassium content by about 50% .
Potatoes that are soaked in water for at least 4 hours before cooking are proven to have an even lower potassium content than those not soaked before cooking .
This method is known as potassium leaching or the double-cook method.
Although double cooking potatoes lowers the potassium content, its important to remember that their potassium content isnt eliminated by this method.
Considerable amounts of potassium can still be present in double-cooked potatoes, so its best to practice portion control to keep potassium levels in check.
Potatoes and sweet potatoes are high potassium vegetables. Boiling or double cooking potatoes can decrease their potassium content by about 50%.
Tomatoes are another high potassium fruit that may not fit the guidelines of a renal diet.
They can be served raw or stewed and are often used to make sauces.
Just 1 cup of tomato sauce can contain upwards of 900 mg of potassium .
Unfortunately for those on a renal diet, tomatoes are commonly used in many dishes.
Read Also: Mayo Clinic Kidney
Limit Shellfish And Meat
Research has found that a toxin called domoic acid in shellfish and some fish that eat algae can harm kidneys in mice. People are not mice. But, the really troubling finding was that very tiny levels of the toxin could harm kidneys. Shellfish also have high levels of purines, which can be a problem if you have gout. So, it may be wise to cut back on shellfish if you eat it a lot.
Keep Slim To Help Your Kidneys
Being too heavy raises your blood pressure, which is bad for your kidneys. Try to keep yourself at a healthy weight by keeping active and not overeating.
Don’t Miss: Seltzer Water And Kidney Stones
Management Of Other Conditions
The most effective way to slow the progression of kidney disease is to control any conditions that are contributing to the kidney damage. Obesity is a known risk factor for CKD, and an October 2013 review published in “Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation” linked weight loss to an improve in GFR. Also, high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar and abnormal cholesterol levels can cause kidney damage, and although controlling these conditions may not improve GFR, controlling blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes can slow the progression of kidney disease and slow the decline of GFR levels.
How Diet Can Impact Kidney Health
The kidneys are filled with tiny blood vessels that help filter waste and extra water from your blood and remove them from your body. If you have CKD, your kidneys cant filter blood as well as they should, causing excess waste to build up in your body.
Diabetes and hypertension are the two leading causes of kidney disease. High blood sugar levels in uncontrolled diabetes and high blood pressure can damage the kidneys blood vessels, leaving them unable do their job properly, says Krista Maruschak, RD, a registered dietitian with Cleveland Clinics Center for Human Nutrition.
Untreated or uncontrolled diabetes and high blood pressure can have a significant effect on the development of CKD over time, says Maruschak.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 10 percent of the U.S. population has diabetes and over a third of adults have prediabetes, while about half of American adults age 20 and over have hypertension. These individuals are also at an increased risk of developing CKD.
A healthy diet can help you prevent or manage conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, in part by helping you to maintain a healthy weight, says Maruschak. In turn, this supports your kidney health.
As part of a kidney-friendly diet, you may also need to limit certain foods to help prevent further kidney damage.
Also Check: Does Seltzer Water Cause Kidney Stones
What Are The Ways To Make A Kidney
If you have diabetes along with kidney disease, you need to control your blood sugar to prevent more damage to your kidneys. A diabetic diet and a kidney-friendly diet share a lot of the same food items, but there are some important differences. There are some ways your kidney-friendly diet and diabetic diet can work together. Below are a few food items that are good for you, if youre diagnosed with both diabetes and kidney disease.
- Fruits: Berries, papaya, cherries, apples and plums
- Vegetables: Cauliflower, onions and spinach
- Proteins: Lean meats , eggs and unsalted seafood
- Carbohydrates: Whole-wheat breads, sandwich buns, unsalted crackers and pasta
- Fluids: Water, clear soups and unsweetened tea
- If you drink orange juice to treat low blood sugar, switch to kidney-friendly apple juice. It will provide the same blood sugar boost with a lot less potassium.
Your doctor and/or dietician will help you to create a meal plan that helps you control your blood sugar level while limiting sodium, phosphorus, potassium and fluids in the body.
Work With A Dietitian
Making changes to your diet can be hard. If youre struggling to stick to a healthy diet, a registered dietitian can help you to develop a meal plan thats tailored to your individual needs.
It can seem overwhelming to manage your diet, says Maruschak. An RD can help you to find foods that fit into your specific dietary requirements.
You May Like: Can You Have 4 Kidneys
What Not To Eat
1. Apricots: Great for fiber but full of potassium, apricots are not ideal for those with kidney disease. The potassium content is even higher in dried apricots, so those need to be avoided entirely as part of any renal diet.
2. Avocados: For a healthy individual, avocados are nutritious and beneficial, but for those with kidney problems, these fruits can be harmful. Avocados contain almost double the amount of potassium of bananas.
3. Bananas: Full of potassium, bananas can reduce kidney efficiency. Tropical fruits in general are high in potassium, but pineapples prove to be more kidney-friendly.
| Related: The Health Benefits of the Different Banana Colors |
Keeping potassium levels low prevents hyperkalemia, a dangerous condition where your blood has too much potassium. When combined with renal failure, hyperkalemia can cause serious damage to your heart.
4. Brown Rice: Brown rice contains more potassium and phosphorus than white rice, so it can place unnecessary strain on already damaged kidneys. With portion control, some brown rice can be consumed as part of a balanced renal diet.
5. Canned Foods: Soups, as well as canned vegetables, are popular because of their convenience. The high sodium content is what gives these items a long shelf life but also makes them dangerous for impaired kidneys.
It is best to look for low-sodium options if you do purchase canned foods.