Renal-Friendly Diet Plan for Kidney Disease Patients
Be mindful of your food and beverage choices to maintain good health while living with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Due to the kidneys’ impaired ability to eliminate waste and fluid from the body, adhering to a renal-friendly diet that supports kidney function is vital for prolonging the overall well-being of kidney disease patients.
What is a Renal Friendly Diet?
The kidneys are crucial in removing waste and extra bodily fluid, balancing minerals and fluids, and producing hormones that regulate other organs. A kidney-friendly diet helps protect the kidneys and maintain balance in the body. However, as CKD progresses, dietary restrictions may become necessary to avoid the buildup of fluids and minerals while ensuring an adequate intake of protein, calories, vitamins, and minerals.
Healthcare professionals often recommend working with a dietitian to choose kidney-friendly foods.
Tips to Follow a Renal-Friendly Diet
Here are the tips for following a renal-friendly diet:
1- Reducing Sodium Intake
Sodium, commonly found in table salt, impacts blood pressure and helps regulate fluid balance in the body. However, excess sodium and fluid in CKD can lead to serious problems such as swelling, shortness of breath, high blood pressure, and fluid buildup around the heart and lungs.
Aim for less than two grams of sodium daily to maintain a healthy sodium balance. Simple steps to reduce sodium include avoiding table salt, cooking at home, using herbs and spices instead of salt, avoiding packaged foods, reading labels, and rinsing canned foods before consuming.
2- Managing Phosphorus and Calcium Levels
Phosphorus and calcium are minerals essential for strong bones, but high phosphorus levels can put one at risk for heart disease. Late-stage CKD may result in the doctor recommending no more than 1,000 mg of phosphorus daily. To achieve this, choose foods with low phosphorus levels, eat more fresh fruits and veggies, choose corn and rice cereals, drink light-colored sodas, cut back on meat and dairy products, and limit processed foods.
The doctor may also advise reducing calcium-rich foods and suggest using a phosphorus binder or avoiding over-the-counter calcium supplements. Dairy products with low phosphorus levels include Brie or Swiss cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, and Sherbet.
3- Limiting Potassium Intake
Potassium is essential for proper nerve and muscle function, but excess potassium can harm individuals with CKD as their kidneys can’t effectively filter it out. High levels of potassium can induce heart problems. If needed, the doctor may advise limiting potassium-rich foods like bananas, potatoes, and avocados and suggest low-potassium options like apples, cranberries, and strawberries.
As CKD progresses, other dietary changes may be necessary, such as limiting high-protein foods like meats and dairy and increasing iron intake through iron-rich foods as suggested by the doctor.
4- DASH Diet
The DASH diet is an eating plan designed to lower blood pressure. It emphasizes consuming more fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains, poultry, fish, nuts, seeds, and beans while limiting sodium, fats, red meats, and sweets.
If you have CKD, your doctor can advise you if the DASH diet is appropriate for your needs and health status. However, it is not recommended for those undergoing dialysis.
5- Limiting Fluids in Later Stage CKD
In early-stage CKD, fluid restrictions may not be necessary. However, if your condition progresses, your doctor may advise you to reduce fluid intake. To do this, you can:
- Limit foods that are high in sodium
- Satisfy your thirst with sugar-free hard candies, ice chips, or frozen grapes
- Keep a log of your fluid intake and monitor changes in weight.
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