A healthy kidney diet plays a major role in the management of kidney problems and the prevention of kidney disease. Whether food is “kidney friendly” or not depends on how much – or little – of the following five items are in it: fluids, phosphorous, protein, potassium and sodium.
Let’s look at fluids first. Generally speaking, drinking a lot of fluids like water is good for your kidneys – especially for preventing kidney stones. But if you are experiencing kidney problems, you have to be careful about fluid intake. When a kidney is damaged or diseased, it has trouble filtering out excess fluids and flushing them from the body in urine. Taking in even more fluids at a time like this can trigger swelling, high blood pressure and shortness of breath. So it’s important to watch your fluid intake carefully if you already have kidney trouble of any kind.
You can work with your physician to determine how much or how little fluid consumption is best for you. Remember that fluids don’t just come from things you can drink from a glass or a bottle: they also come from other sources, especially food that melts into a liquid when you eat it. Ice cream leads the list here.
Phosphorus is another important element in your healthy kidney diet plan. Phosphorus helps maintain normal nerve and muscle performance. It also combines with calcium to give you strong bones and teeth. When you have kidney problems, your phosphorus balances tend to change in a negative way. Calcium levels drop, and your body compensates by absorbing calcium from the bones. An oversupply of phosphorus results in itching, joint pain and osteoporosis.
Foods that contain lots of phosphorus include caramel, cheese, chicken liver, beef liver, and with many types of nuts and peanut butter. Some liquids are high in phosphorus too, including beer and cola.
Potassium is also an important element in maintaining kidney health. Potassium helps control the performance of nerves and muscles. But too much potassium in your diet can lead to an irregular heartbeat, which also tends to put pressure on your kidneys.
Many, many foods contain potassium, so moderation is especially important. Foods that have a high potassium content include apricots, bananas, beets, bran and bran products, broccoli, cantaloupe, chocolate, coffee, collard, mushroom, mustard, oranges, potatoes, prunes, raisins, salt substitute, and tomatoes.
Protein is another factor to consider in formulating a healthy kidney diet plan. We definitely need protein because it promotes strong muscles, helps us fight infections, and plays an important role in repairing tissue. But a diet that includes large amounts is bad for the kidneys. Too much protein produces excess waste and increases the risk of kidney problems. So it’s important to consult with your physician to find the balance that’s best for you.
Protein comes from meat and poultry products, including eggs. If you have kidney trouble, you’ll want to be careful with these foods. Low protein foods, on the other hand, include many types of cereals and vegetables.
Sodium also plays a big role in kidney health. Your body needs sodium – also known as salt – to work. Sodium helps control muscle contraction, fluid balance, and keeping your blood pressure in a normal range. But many people use way too much of it, and it can be especially harmful to those suffering kidney trouble.
Kidneys normally filter unneeded sodium out of your system. But if there’s an excessive amount, or kidneys are damaged and can’t perform their work properly, fluids start to accumulate. This results in swelling and bloating, especially in the face and joints.
A healthy diet plan kidney and eating kidney-friendly foods are essential for anyone with a serious kidney problem, as well as those who want to avoid kidney trouble in the future. Always remember that as kidney function declines, kidney dialysis or even a kidney transplant may become necessary. Both of these significantly impact your quality of life. Maintaining a kidney healthy diet plan will help you avoid these measures.