The renal diet, often called the renal diet or caloric restriction diet, is a diet plan that is used to manage kidney disease. The renal diet helps patients keep their blood pressure under control and slow down any damage to their kidneys that may have already occurred. However, there are many foods that you can still eat on this diet. In this article, we will take a look at what kinds of foods are available for patients who need to follow this special diet.
Food For Renal Diet
If you have chronic kidney disease (CKD), it’s important to watch what you eat and drink. That’s because your kidneys can’t remove waste products from your body the way they should. A kidney-friendly diet can help you stay healthier longer.
What’s a Kidney-Friendly Diet?
A major function of the kidneys is to get rid of waste and extra fluid from your body through your pee. They also:
- Balance your body’s minerals, like salt and potassium
- Balance your body’s fluids
- Make hormones that affect the way other organs work
A kidney-friendly diet is a way of eating that helps protect your kidneys from further damage. You’ll have to limit some foods and fluids so other fluids and minerals like electrolytes don’t build up in your body. At the same time, you’ll have to make sure you get the right balance of protein, calories, vitamins, and minerals.
If you’re in the early stages of CKD, there may be few, if any, limits on what you can eat. But as your disease gets worse, you’ll have to be more careful about what you put into your body.
The doctor may suggest you work with a dietitian to choose foods that are easy on your kidneys. They might recommend:
Cut the Sodium
This mineral is found naturally in many foods. It’s most common in table salt.
Sodium affects your blood pressure. It also helps to maintain the water balance in your body. Healthy kidneys keep sodium levels in check. But if you have CKD, extra sodium and fluids build up in your body. This can cause a number of problems, like swollen ankles, high blood pressure, shortness of breath, and fluid buildup around your heart and lungs. You should aim for less than 2 grams of sodium in your daily diet.
Take these simple steps to cut the sodium in your diet:
- Avoid table salt and high-sodium seasonings (soy sauce, sea salt, garlic salt, etc.).
- Cook at home — most fast foods are high in sodium.
- Try new spices and herbs in place of salt.
- Stay away from packaged foods, if possible. They tend to be high in sodium.
- Read the labels when shopping, and choose low-sodium foods.
- Rinse canned foods (veggies, beans, meats, and fish) with water before serving.
Foods For Kidneys
The kidneys are small organs in the lower abdomen that play a significant role in the overall health of the body. Some foods may boost the performance of the kidneys, while others may place stress on them and cause damage.
Following a kidney-healthy diet plan may help the kidneys function properly and prevent damage to these organs. However, although some foods generally help support a healthy kidney, not all of them are suitable for people who have kidney disease.
Water is the most important drink for the body. The cells use water to transport toxins into the bloodstream.
The kidneys then use water to filter these toxins out and to create the urine that transports them out of the body.
Salmon, tuna, and other cold-water, fatty fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids can make a beneficial addition to any diet.
The body cannot make omega-3 fatty acids, which means that they have to come from the diet. Fatty fish are a great natural source of these healthful fats.
As the National Kidney Foundation note, omega-3 fats may reduce fat levels in the blood and also slightly lower blood pressure. As high blood pressure is a risk factor for kidney disease, finding natural ways to lower it may help protect the kidneys.
Sweet potatoes are similar to white potatoes, but their excess fiber may cause them to break down more slowly, resulting in less of a spike in insulin levels. Sweet potatoes also contain vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, that may help balance the levels of sodium in the body and reduce its effect on the kidneys.
However, as sweet potato is a high-potassium food, anyone who has CKD or is on dialysis may wish to limit their intake of this vegetable.
Dark leafy greens
Dark leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, and chard, are dietary staples that contain a wide variety of vitamins, fibers, and minerals. Many also contain protective compounds, such as antioxidants.
However, these foods also tend to be high in potassium, so they may not be suitable for people on a restricted diet or those on dialysis.
Dark berries, which include strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, are a great source of many helpful nutrients and antioxidant compounds. These may help protect the cells in the body from damage.
Berries are likely to be a better option than other sugary foods for satisfying a sweet craving.
An apple is a healthful snack that contains an important fiber called pectin. Pectin may help reduce some risk factors for kidney damage, such as high blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Foods to avoid
There are several foods that people should avoid if they want to improve their kidney health or prevent damage to these organs.
These include the following:
Too much phosphorus can put stress on the kidneys.
However, there is not enough evidence to prove that phosphorous causes this damage, so more research into this topic is necessary.
For people looking to reduce their phosphorous intake, foods high in phosphorous include:
- dairy products
- most grains
Some types of protein may be harder for the kidneys, or the body in general, to process. These include red meat.
Initial research has shown that people who eat a lot of red meat have a higher risk of end-stage kidney disease than those who eat less red meat. However, there is a need for more studies to investigate this risk.