Kidney Stone Diet: Foods To Eat And Avoid
Kidney stones in the urinary tract are formed in several ways. Calcium can combine with chemicals, such as oxalate or phosphorous, in the urine. This can happen if these substances become so concentrated that they solidify. Kidney stones can also be caused by a buildup of uric acid. Uric acid buildup is caused by the metabolism of protein. Your urinary tract wasnt designed to expel solid matter, so its no surprise that kidney stones are very painful to pass. Luckily, they can usually be avoided through diet.
If youre trying to avoid kidney stones, what you eat and drink is as important as what you shouldnt eat and drink. Here are some important rules of thumb to keep in mind.
Reduce Your Potassium Intake
This mineral helps your nerves and muscles work properly. But when you have CKD, your body canât filter out extra potassium. When you have too much of it in your blood, it can lead to serious heart problems.
Potassium is found in a lot of fruits and veggies, like bananas, potatoes, avocados, oranges, cooked broccoli, raw carrots, greens , tomatoes, and melons. These foods can affect potassium levels in your blood. Your doctor will let you know if you need to limit this mineral in your diet. If so, they may recommend you try low-potassium foods, like:
As your CKD gets worse, you may need to make other changes to your diet. This might involve cutting back on foods that are high in protein, especially animal protein. These include meats, seafood, and dairy products. You may also need extra iron. Talk to your doctor about which iron-rich foods you can eat when you have CKD.
What Is A Renal Diet For Polycystic Kidney Disease
A renal diet for polycystic kidney disease is based on GFR level and what stage of CKD you have. If you have PKD with normal kidney function , you have stage 1 CKD.
Please refer to the What Is a Renal Diet for Chronic Kidney Disease? above for more specific recommendations.
Sodium and fluid are especially important on a renal diet for people with PKD. Eating too much salt can cause faster cyst growth, in addition to raising blood pressure.
A very high fluid intake is often recommended for people with PKD to slow cyst growth too! Drinking 3-4 liters of fluid each day reduces a hormone called vasopressin. Vasopressin can accelerate cyst growth in PKD. So, drinking a lot of water can help slow cyst growth.
There are some new studies done in animals showing some promising benefits of a keto diet for PKD. However, more research is needed before this diet should be recommended to people with PKD. Learn more about the keto diet and PKD.
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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.
Oranges And Orange Juice
While oranges and orange juice are arguably most well known for their vitamin C content, theyre also rich sources of potassium.
One large orange provides 333 mg of potassium. Moreover, there are 473 mg of potassium in 1 cup of orange juice .
Given their potassium content, oranges and orange juice likely need to be avoided or limited on a renal diet.
Grapes, apples, and cranberries, as well as their respective juices, are all good substitutes for oranges and orange juice, as they have lower potassium contents.
Oranges and orange juice are high in potassium and should be limited on a renal diet. Try grapes, apples, cranberries, or their juices instead.
Processed meats are meats that have been salted, dried, cured, or canned.
Some examples include hot dogs, bacon, pepperoni, jerky, and sausage.
Processed meats typically contain large amounts of salt, mostly to improve their taste and preserve flavor.
Therefore, it may be difficult to keep your daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg if processed meats are abundant in your diet.
Additionally, processed meats are high in protein.
If you have been told to monitor your protein intake, its important to limit processed meats for this reason as well.
Processed meats are high in salt and protein and should be consumed in moderation on a renal diet.
Pickles, processed olives, and relish are all examples of cured or pickled foods.
Usually, large amounts of salt are added during the curing or pickling process.
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How Do I Know If I Need A Special Diet
You should only restrict what you eat and drink if youre advised to do so by your doctor. They should refer you to a specially trained renal dietitian for advice. They will work with you to create a plan which is tailor-made to your needs and lifestyle.
Restrictions will vary depending on the cause and stage of your kidney disease, the medications you are on, your blood test results and whether you have other conditions, such as diabetes.
Dietary advice will be different for everyone, even if you share the same medical condition, so dont automatically assume that dietary information on some websites will be right for you. Some information may be unsuitable or inaccurate so always speak to your renal dietitian before making any changes to your diet.
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.
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Foods To Avoid In Renal Diet
Kidney failure patients should avoid foods that are high in phosphorus or sodium. Some examples include biscuits, muffins, pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, cookies, pretzels, deli-style meat, processed cheese, canned fish, artichokes, spinach, potatoes, fresh beets, dates, oranges, frozen dinners, seasoned salts, soy sauce, and other condiments and sauces.
Here is a list of items you should avoid on a renal diet divided by food group category.
- 1 small biscuit or muffin
- 2 x 2-inch square of cake
- 1 pancake or waffle
- ½ cup of oatmeal
- ½ cup of whole-wheat cereal or bran cereal
- 1 piece of cornbread
- ¾ ounce of salted pretzel sticks or rings
- 4 sandwich cookies
- Artichoke or ¼ of a whole avocado
- Brussels sprouts or okra
- Sweet potato
- Tomatoes, regular and low-sodium tomato juice, or ¼ cup of tomato sauce
- Winter squash
- 1 cup of canned or fresh apricots, or 5 dried apricots
- 1 small nectarine
- 1 small orange or ½ cup of orange juice
- ¼ cup of dates
- of a small honeydew melon
- 1 small banana
- 1 ounce of deli-style meat, such as roast beef, ham, or turkey
- 1 ounce of canned salmon or sardines
- ¼ cup of cottage cheese
- Processed cheese, such as American cheese and cheese spreads
- Smoked or cured meat, such as corned beef, bacon, ham, hot dogs, and sausage
Watch Your Alcohol Intake
Alcohol harms your kidneys in several ways, explains Maruschak. Its a waste product that your kidneys have to filter out of your blood and it makes your kidneys less efficient. Its dehydrating, which can affect the kidneys ability to regulate your bodys water levels. It can affect your liver function, which in turn can impact blood flow to the kidneys and lead to CKD over time. And a high alcohol intake has been liked to an increased risk of high blood pressure, which can lead to kidney disease.
Maruschak says both men and women should drink no more than one alcoholic beverage per day. Thats 12 ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Its always best to speak with your physician about your alcohol intake, as some people should not be consuming any alcohol at all, she says.
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Antioxidants May Help You
Every cell in your body needs oxygen. But, too much oxygen in the wrong places can oxidize and cause damage, a lot like rust. Antioxidants help protect your cells, and may help your kidneys. Ask your doctor if antioxidants like these. might be worth taking:
Fish oil can help slow CKD that is caused by a disease called IgA nephropathy.
Note: Talk to your care team before you take any supplement, vitamin, or over the counter remedy. When your kidneys don’t work well, these can build up in your body to levels that could harm you.
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.
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Lower Your Animal Protein Intake
Many sources of protein, such as red meat, pork, chicken, poultry, and eggs, increase the amount of uric acid you produce. Eating large amounts of protein also reduces a chemical in urine called citrate. Citrates job is to prevent the formation of kidney stones. Alternatives to animal protein include quinoa, tofu , hummus, chia seeds, and Greek yogurt. Since protein is important for overall health, discuss how much you should eat daily with your doctor.
Limit Fluids In Advanced Kidney Disease
Water is necessary for life. However, if you have advanced kidney disease you might need to limit the amount of fluids you take in each day. This is because kidneys that are damaged arent able to efficiently eliminate extra fluid as they normally would.
This causes an accumulation of excess fluid in your body, which can lead to high blood pressure, swelling , difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, and heart failure .
Like all nutrients on a renal diet, your level of water restriction will depend on the severity of kidney disease you have. People with stages 1 and 2 kidney disease often do not need to limit water intake, and might actually be encouraged to drink enough water each day to keep their kidneys hydrated and working well.
Fluids not only include the water and other beverages you drink throughout the day, but also foods that contain a lot of water. This includes soups, stews, broths, gelatin, pudding, ice cream, popsicles, sherbet, and some fruits and vegetables.
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What Does A Renal Diet Mean
Renal is simply a fancy word for kidney. In the medical world, kidney has many different names including renal and neph. For example, the formal title for your kidney doctor is a nephrologist.
So, a renal diet is a diet that is good for kidneys. The kicker is, there is no single renal diet that is right for everyone. A healthy renal diet for you is very dependent on what kind of kidney disease you have, what your kidney function is, and what your other labs look like.
Know that there is no single food that will cure or prevent progression of kidney disease. A healthy renal diet must focus on whole diet patterns instead of eating single foods.
Choose Foods With The Right Amount Of Potassium
When your kidneys are not working well, your potassium level may be too high or too low. Having too much or too little potassium can cause muscle cramps, problems with the way your heart beats and muscle weakness.
If you have kidney disease, your doctor or dietitian may tell you to lower the amount of potassium in your eating plan.
Use the lists below to learn foods that are low or high in potassium.
Foods low in potassium
- Apples, cranberries, grapes, pineapples and strawberries
- Cauliflower, onions, peppers, radishes, summer squash and lettuce
- Pita, tortillas and white breads
- Beef and chicken
- Avocados, bananas, melons, oranges, prunes and raisins
- Artichokes, winter squash, plantains, spinach, potatoes and tomatoes
- Bran products and granola
- Brown or wild rice
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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.
Keeping Your Cholesterol Level Low
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is an important type of fat found in the body. It is carried around in the blood and can build up on the walls of blood vessels, making them narrow. Most of the cholesterol found in your blood is produced in your own liver.
A tendency towards high cholesterol can run in families. If you eat a lot of fat , this may also cause a high cholesterol level. In addition, people who have CKD with very high levels of protein in their urine may also have high levels of cholesterol in their blood.
The ideal cholesterol level
Scientists have discovered that low cholesterol levels are associated with low levels of heart disease. Advice about the ideal levels for cholesterol is changing as researchers find out more. Recent analysis suggests that high cholesterol levels in people with chronic kidney disease should be treated in the same was as in people with normal kidney function. There is no ‘target level’ for cholesterol that is right for everybody, your doctor will be able to advise you according to your level and your individual risks of developing disease related to high cholesterol levels.
Eating to reduce your cholesterol level
foods that are high in cholesterol include dairy products, eggs and red meat. Many processed foods contain a lot of cholesterol, so it is a good idea to get into the habit of always checking the information on the labels.
Drugs to reduce cholesterol
Who should have cholesterol-lowering drugs?
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Essentials For A Balanced And Healthy Diet
Should I stop eating protein?
The major source of these waste products is the food you eat, especially protein. Therefore, when you have lost a significant amount of kidney function, a lower protein diet may be ordered by your doctor. Studies from both animals and humans with chronic kidney failure have shown that eating large amounts of protein may accelerate the progressive decline of kidney function. However, the Modification in Diet in Renal Disease study done by the National Institutes of Health looked at protein intake and kidney function. The results did not show any benefit of lowering protein intake in individuals with PKD. At this time, there is no convincing evidence to suggest protein restriction as beneficial unless you are in kidney failure. Despite all of this, many consider it unwise to consume a very high protein diet. If you have moderate to advanced kidney failure, however, a modest restriction may be appropriate. For more information, you should consult your doctor and a dietitian experienced with kidney disease and ideally knowledge of PKD . Recommended: 0.8 g/Kg of body weight. . May eat more if youre vegetarian. View the handy protein chart
Should I stop eating salt?
How much fluid should I drink each day?
Will caffeine damage my kidneys?
What about potassium?
What about calcium and magnesium?
Daily Phosphorus needs: