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Maintaining Kidney Health with the Renal Diet: A Guide

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Chronic kidney disease or renal disease is the kidney’s inability to function correctly and failure to extract excess fluids. Kidneys are the two bean-shaped organs in the renal system located at the base of the rib cage on either side of the spine. The kidneys are essential for maintaining the body’s mineral balance and create a hormone that promotes the creation of red blood cells. There are several causes of kidney damage. Some common risk factors are age, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, alcohol use disorder, and the hepatitis C virus. Your body absorbs nutrients needed for fuel when you eat and drink. Anything that is not necessary is transported to the kidneys by the blood. The kidneys use urine to flush out extra nutrients. The overload of some nutrients can impair your kidneys if you have renal disease. However, a renal diet can safeguard your kidneys from harm.

Reducing kidney damage is directly proportional to how well you manage your health. The simplest solution to prevent kidney issues is avoiding foods that cause harm. Therefore, nutrition is key to managing kidney diseases and your overall health. In addition, limiting the number of minerals and fluids you consume might aid in avoiding fluid and waste buildup and the following difficulties.

Renal Diet: An Overview

Renal disease is a kidney issue that prevents the kidneys from filtering your blood as they typically would. It allows your blood to accumulate too much salt, potassium, phosphorus, and protein waste. That could worsen renal impairment and result in excessive fluid retention in your body. A renal diet supports healthy kidney function in people with kidney disease. 

A renal diet is low in protein, phosphorus, and salt (sodium). It focuses on the need for high-quality protein and often restricts fluid intake. Limiting potassium and calcium may also be necessary for some people. Additionally, it aids in fluid management so that you don’t retain too much fluid. The severity of the disease will determine the amount of protein, salt, potassium, and phosphorus you can consume. Since every individual’s body is unique, you must consult a nutritionist to create a customised diet suited to your requirements.

The HealthifyMe Note

The kidneys are tiny but potent bean-shaped organs with many vital functions. Your body may accumulate waste and fluid if your kidneys are not functioning correctly. It may eventually result in issues with the heart, bones, and other organs. In addition, the foods you consume directly impact your kidneys. Therefore, if you are a patient with a renal illness, you should know about the foods you should eat and the ones you must avoid. 

Foods to Incorporate into a Renal Diet

Dietary modification is vital for people with renal disease. Although the amendments are not too restricting, you must avoid foods that can lead to any further damage. Fresh, whole foods are preferred while following a renal diet over packaged, frozen, or canned items. Whole foods are better for your kidneys and the rest of your body since they naturally contain less salt and are more nutrient-dense. 

The following foods are some options to consider:

Choices for Proteins

Protein is necessary for strong kidneys, but you should not overconsume it if your kidneys cannot filter out excess waste. In addition, patients with chronic kidney disease must be careful to consume the right amount of protein because the amount varies depending on the stage of the disease. However, a research found that people with end-stage renal illness receiving dialysis—a procedure that filters and cleans the blood—have higher protein requirements.

Several excellent protein choices include:

  • Chicken or turkey without skin
  • Seafood or fish.
  • Eggs.
  • Kidney beans.
  • Lentils and tofu. Since they contain more potassium and phosphorus than other foods, you must eat them in moderation.

Fruits and Vegetables

You may need to avoid or eat minimal amounts of several fruits and vegetables because they are high in potassium. 

Delicious fruits and vegetables with low potassium levels include:

  • Apples
  • Blackberries
  • Cherries
  • Pineapple
  • Strawberries
  • Beans
  • Cabbage
  • Cucumbers
  • Lettuce
  • Sweet peppers
  • Zucchini

Choices for Grains and Starches

Whole grains are high in potassium. So you might need to cut back on the number of whole grains you eat and portion sizes. 

Some nutritious choices with less potassium are:

  • Barley
  • Bulgur
  • Roti
  • White Rice
  • Popcorn without salt

Foods to Avoid in a Renal Diet

The severity of the disease has the most significant impact on dietary restrictions in renal disease. The three food categories you should stay away from are: 

Foods High in Potassium

You should restrict your potassium intake and stay away from foods high in potassium such as:

  • Bananas
  • Melons
  • Oranges
  • Raisins
  • Prunes
  • Avocados
  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Spinach
  • Root vegetables
  • Brown rice
  • Wild rice

Fluids

If you have a renal illness and are undergoing some treatment, you might need to cut back on your fluid intake. You might also need to limit foods with a lot of moisture. Soups and meals that melt, like ice, ice cream, and gelatin, for instance, contain a lot of water. Water content is also high in many fruits and vegetables. Therefore, you should avoid them.

Foods Rich in Phosphorus

Phosphorus can accumulate in your blood when your kidneys are not functioning correctly. As a result, kidney patients must restrict their phosphorus intake.

You must avoid foods high in phosphorus. Some examples are:

  • Whole-grain bread
  • Oatmeal and bran cereal
  • Sunflower seeds and nuts
  • Colas with a deep colour

Sodium

Sodium is a crucial ingredient in a variety of foods, including table salt, of course. But unfortunately, your kidneys cannot excrete the extra salt if you have renal disease.

Stay away or limit consuming these high-sodium foods:

  • Crackers
  • Salted popcorn
  • Chips
  • Soups or stews in cans
  • Olives
  • Pickles and pickled vegetables 
  • Sauces
  • Cheese
  • Bacon
  • Sausages
  • Rice or noodles in a package

The HealthifyMe Note

The renal diet is not a generalised eating plan. So, everyone must not follow the same eating plan as everyone’s body requirements are different. As a result, it’s crucial to maintain a well-balanced diet while making the appropriate adjustments for your unique demands. In addition, you may have other medical conditions that require a different eating strategy. Hence, for the most remarkable dietary advice, speak with a nutritionist. They will give you the best solutions to maintain your health.

Reference Renal Diet Plan

  • Breakfast: 1 cup scrambled eggs, 1/2 cup oatmeal with blueberries, and black coffee. 
  • Mid-meal: 1 pear
  • Lunch: 1 cup rice + 2 chapati + 1/2 cup snake gourd dal + 1 cup cabbage sabzi
  • Evening: 1 cup unsalted popcorn + 1/2 cup tea
  • Dinner: 1 cup chicken rice + 1/2 cup stir-fried zucchini

Conclusion

Kidney disorders develop over time. It can be severe if not treated at an earlier stage. A balanced diet is beneficial for most people suffering from renal disease. Eating various healthy meals is essential for maintaining good health since it will reduce your risk of heart disease and help you manage your blood pressure and sugar levels. In addition, it plays an important part in preventing further kidney damage by giving you the right kind and amount of food that will eventually make your kidneys healthy.

It is critical to consult a nutritionist for the best guidance. They will ensure things don’t get worse and help the kidneys repair and recover.

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