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Kidney disease and kidney failure are often caused by a build-up of waste in the blood, which comes from ingesting certain foods and drinks that our kidneys struggle to filter. One of the best ways to help alleviate some of the symptoms and prevent further damage is to follow the Renal diet.
This diet helps reduce any build-up of waste by encouraging the consumption of foods that are low in sodium, protein, and phosphorous, which, as you'll see below, can all compromise kidney function.
While every person's body and conditions are different, there are a few general guidelines for following a renal diet that can be useful to anyone who has been recently diagnosed. Here are the top 8 nutritional tips for managing kidney disease.
Our number one tip to ensure that you're on the correct diet is to consult a nutritionist or renal dietitian. This is by far the easiest way to ensure that you're getting it right! They'll be able to take an educated look at your current health and suggest the perfect tailor-made diet.
Obviously, a personal dietician does come at a cost, so the next best thing would be to pick up a diet cookbook specifically aimed at people with kidney problems. This Renal Diet Cookbook for the Newly Diagnosed. is an excellent starting point. It includes over 100 recipes, tips on incorporating this diet into your lifestyle, and 4 weekly renal diet menu plans to make the whole process as simple as possible.
Now, this tip isn't necessarily just for those with kidney failure - it's an excellent rule for anyone looking for a healthy, balanced diet. Essentially, your plate should consist of half fruits and vegetables, one-quarter lean protein, and one-quarter whole grains.
Sodium is the chemical compound found in salt, which for anyone, can lead to serious health issues if consumed on a large scale. Sodium is a common cause of raised blood pressure and increased fluid retention, which can both cause havoc on your kidneys. Try to limit your sodium intake to 2,000 mg per day (which is less than 1 tsp of salt!).
Protein is one of the biggest culprits of waste in the blood, meaning that anyone with kidney disease needs to be especially aware of their protein intake. It's recommended that anyone with compromised kidney function should limit their amount of protein to 0.6 g per kg of their ideal body weight. This can help slow down the loss of kidney function to a manageable level.
There are two main types of carbs - simple and complex. Simple carbs consist of added sugars, found in things like sweets, chocolates, and fizzy drinks, whereas complex carbs occur naturally and are found in things like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. When following a renal diet, it's advised to limit any foods containing added sugars and replace them with complex carbs.
It's probably not news that saturated and trans fats are bad for your heart, but they are also just as bad for your kidneys. The heart pumps blood while the kidneys filter it, meaning that the two are highly connected. It's recommended that saturated fats (things like butter, meats, baked and fried goods) should take up no more than 10 percent of your daily calories.
While calcium is excellent for helping us improve our bone strength, having too much can cause calcium deposits to develop in our blood vessels. Again, cutting down on this (especially if you have high calcium levels) can help keep your blood clean, lower the waste, improve overall kidney function and prevent any further damage.
Considering the above points, one of the best ways to control what you eat is to cook from home. By cooking meals using whole, unprocessed foods, you can control precisely how much salt, sodium, carbs, proteins, and fats you eat during each meal.
There's a lot that a healthy diet can do to improve and prevent kidney damage - it all comes down to closely watching exactly what goes into your body. One of the easiest ways of making sure you're getting everything you need while keeping your meals exciting, and above all tasty, is to grab a copy of The Renal Diet Cookbook for the Newly Diagnosed.