What is Kidney Friendly Diet and Why it is important?
What you eat and drink affects your health. Staying fit and healthy along with eating a balanced and good diet that is less in salt and fat can help you control your blood pressure. If you are suffering with diabetes, you can help control your blood sugar by carefully choosing what you eat and drink. Controlling high blood pressure and diabetes are vital for preventing kidneys from getting further damaged. A diet which is kidney friendly may also help protect your kidneys from getting more damaged. A kidney-friendly diet restricts certain Food to prevent the minerals in those Food from building up in your body.
Stages of Chronic Kidney Disease
There are five stages of chronic kidney disease (Stage 1-5). Your doctor will determine your stage of kidney disease based on the presence of kidney damage and your glomerular filtration rate (GFR), which is a calculation of your level of kidney function. Your treatment will be based on your stage of kidney disease. Ask your doctor if you have any questions about your stage of kidney disease or your treatment.
Why is good nutrition important for people with kidney disease?
Making healthy food choices is important for all of us, but it is more important if you are suffering with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Why? Good nutrition provides you energy to:
- Complete your daily tasks
- Stop infection
- Build muscle
- Maintain a healthy weight
- It will prevent your kidney disease from getting worse.
Will I need to change my diet if I have kidney disease?
A single eating plan that is right for everyone with kidney disease does not exist. What you can or cannot eat will alter with time, depending on how much kidney function is left and other things, like suffering from diabetes. Your doctor can refer you to a dietitian who can guide you, how to choose fooditems that are right for you.
What are the basics of good nutrition?
A healthy eating plan gives you the correct amount of:
Why do I need protein?
Protein is an important nutrient. Protein is required to help build muscle, repair tissue, and fight infection. But if you have kidney disease, you may need to closely monitor the protein you eat to prevent protein wastes from piling up in your blood. This can help your kidneys work for a longer duration. Your doctor will guide you if you need to limit how much protein you eat each day.
How many calories do I need?
Every person is different. Calories are like fuel—they provide your body with the energy you need to live. They are important because they:
- Helps you maintain a healthy weight
- Provides you energy to do your daily tasks and remain active.
- Aids your body to use the protein in food to build muscles and tissues (Without enough calories, your body will “waste” protein to provide you with energy instead of using protein to build your muscles and tissues.)
It is important to plan meals that give you enough calories each day.
How do I get enough vitamins and minerals?
Most people get enough vitamins and minerals to stay healthy and fit by eating a wide variety of Food per day. However, if you have kidney disease, you may need to restrict some Food that would normally give you these important vitamins and minerals.
How will I know if I am getting calories and nutrients in enough amount?
Your doctor will ask for your blood tests and urine tests. These will help show whether or not you are getting enough nutrients. Your dietitian may also ask you about the Food you eat. You can also be asked to maintain a “food diary”.
Will I need to control any other nutrients?
You may need to balance fluids and other important nutrients too. They are:
Sodium is a mineral which is there in most Food. It is also found in table salt. Sodium will affect blood pressure and water balance in your body. Healthy kidneys have ability to control Sodium. But, if your kidneys do not work properly, Sodium and fluid buildup in your body. This can result in high blood pressure and many other problems.
You can restrict sodium by avoiding table salt and Food such as:
- Various seasonings ex. soy sauce, sea salt, teriyaki sauce, garlic salt, or onion salt
- Canned Food and frozen dinners
- Processed meats ex. Deli meats, ham, bacon, hot dogs, sausage
- Salted snack Food, like chips and crackers
- Canned or dehydrated powdered soups (like packaged noodle soup)
- Most restaurant Food, take-out Food, and fast Food*
*The food list is not complete
People with kidney disease will need to closely keep a check on Phosphorus in Food, especially if their kidney disease is advanced. Phosphorus is a mineral found in many Food. Large amounts of phosphorus are found in:
- Dairy products such as pudding, milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream.
- Peanut butter and nuts
- Dried beans and peas, like lentils kidney beans etc
- Many beverages like cocoa, beer, and dark cola drinks
- Bran breads and cereal
- Processed food and fast Food, including some meats that have additives to make them tender*
*This food list is not complete.
What will happens when phosphorus collects in your blood?
Your blood Calcium levels decreases and Calcium is leached out from the bones. With time, your bones will become weak and breakable. A high level of phosphorus in your blood may also cause Calcium to deposit in your blood vessels, heart, joints, muscles, and skin, where it should not deposit.
Calcium is a mineral that is important for making and building strong bones. However, food that are good sources of Calcium are mostly high in Phosphorus. One way to prevent Calcium loss from your bones is to restrict high-Phosphorus Food. You will also need to consume phosphate binders and avoid eating Calcium-rich Food.
Do not take over-the-counter vitamin D or calcium supplements unless prescribed by your kidney doctor.
Most people with kidney disease do not require to restrict the amount of fluids they drink if they are in initial stages. If you are not aware of your stage of kidney disease, consult your doctor.
If kidney disease worsen, your doctor will let you know if you need to restrict fluids and how much fluid is okay for you each day. To prevent dehydration, let your doctor and dietitian help plan your fluid intake.
What if I am suffering from diabetes?
You may need to make a few alterations in your diet if you have diabetes and kidney disease. If your doctor asks that you should take less protein, your diet may need to include more amount of carbohydrates or high-quality fats to give you proper calories. Work with your dietitian to make a meal plan that is proper for you.
What if I’m a vegetarian?
Most vegetarian diets are not saturated in higher quality protein. But eating a wide variety of Food and getting proper calories can provide help. Without proper calories, your body will utilise the protein you eat to create energy instead. If protein is broken down, more excretory products have to be excreted by your kidneys. Ask about ways to check that the amount of protein you are eating is right for you.
What if I need help planning meals?
Your doctor can prescribe you to a registered dietitian with special training in kidney disease. The dietitian can:
- Aid you choose Food that will give you the right nutrients in the right amounts
- Detail you why the diet changes you need to make are necessary