Our body has a pair of kidneys, which are responsible for maintaining the fluid and electrolyte balance by removal of toxins and other wastes. Kidneys are also in charge of secretion of certain hormones, which maintain the blood pressure, aid in red blood cell production and keep our bones strong. The significance of a regular kidney functioning can be understood by the fact that every day both the kidneys filtering about 120 to 150 quarts of blood to generate 1 to 2 quarts of urine containing toxic waste and extra fluid.
Therefore, when the kidneys’ function starts to decline with age or due to any other reason (kidney stones, cysts, acute injury, infections), it creates a ripple effect throughout the body involving major bodily systems. A high blood pressure and diabetes are two other conditions that significantly affect the kidneys’ functioning. The consequence is termed as chronic kidney disease or failure in which the blood is not efficiently filtered enough to carry out its functions in different organ systems.
About 10% of the world’s population is affected by kidney malfunctioning in varying degrees. Diet is an important part of managing a kidney ailment and it is subjected to change according to the degree of illness your kidney suffers. However, one must take steps in consultation with an expert physician in the field.
It is a misconception that a renal diet is boring with no salt, boiled vegetables, and no meat or fruits. With clever recipes using alternatives as advised by your physician, a renal diet can be colorful as well as delicious.
Nevertheless, this article is about kidney-friendly diet guidelines and some of the best food choices accordingly, to make your decision an easier one.
Principles of a kidney-friendly diet
There some basic principles to follow for a diet that will not add further damage to your kidneys.
- Follow a low sodium and low salt diet to maintain blood pressure
- A total of 2300 milligrams of sodium per day is allowed
- Use fresh materials and try to consume homemade meals
- Rinse canned food with water before consumption
- Look for such food labels; low, reduced or no salt and sodium, unsalted or lightly salted, sodium and salt-free
- A food labeled as 20% of daily value means the food item is high in sodium
- Know the right amount and kind of proteins for your condition, as kidneys remove the residual protein products and eating too much or the wrong kind of protein would damage your kidneys
- Eat small portions of proteins
- Choose between a plant and animal-based protein and know their amounts
- Opt for heart-healthy food items, so as to reduce the amount of dietary fat and avoid unhealthy LDL levels
- Choose healthy fats for cooking as olive oil
- Limit saturated and Transfat in your diet
- Use cooking methods with minimal of oil use
- Select lean meats and limit red meat consumption
- Dietary items should be low in phosphorus to protect the blood vessels and bones (high phosphorus can remove calcium from the bones and weakens them)
- Look for food labels as PHOS
- Ask your physician if you require a phosphate binding medicine
- Limit the phosphorus intake to 800-1000 milligrams per day
- Choose the right amount of potassium, to protect the muscles and nerves
- Check food labels
- Rinse canned food items
- The upper limit of potassium should not exceed 2000 milligrams per day