Renal Disease Diet

Kidney failure means the kidneys are unable to filter out toxins from the bloodstream and dispose of them through urine. Waste originates from food and drink. In most cases, kidney failure develops slowly over time (so called chronic disease) and some individuals might develop a complete kidney failure (end stage renal failure) which requires dialysis.

Dialysis is a process of removing excess fluid and waste products from the body by a special device. There are several causes of the development of kidney damage, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.

The diet for renal impairment controls the intake of protein and phosphorus. The intake of sodium should be reduced as well. Following the principles of this diet, you may reduce the amount of waste generated by the body and therefore help kidney function and delay the total renal failure.

This diet should certainly be adjusted to any additional medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and some other medical conditions.

Changing your diet can be quite difficult at the beginning since it needs to become a part of your daily routines. It is advisable to study the diet and to consider all means to maintain the variety of food.
Also, you should always have the list of recommended foods near, in the kitchen, while shopping and visiting other people. You should tell your family and friends about your diet so that they can help you as well.

It is strongly advised to make a diet plan with your doctor and dietitian.

Changes in diet:

Protein: you should limit the amount of protein in your diet; it will help reduce the amount of wastes in the body. Foods that are rich in protein include meat, fish, eggs, dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt). The diet plan will determine the amount of protein you should take in per a day.

Phosphorus: phosphorus should also be limited. When the kidneys are damaged they cannot remove a sufficient amount of phosphorus from the blood, which can cause the release of calcium from the bones and weaken them. Foods that are rich in phosphorus are milk products, beans, peas, nuts. It was also found in some fluids such as cocoa, beer and cola drinks. You should consult your doctor about the diet plan to determine the daily intake of phosphorus.

Sodium: you should try to limit the amount of salt and if you have any other medical conditions such as high blood pressure, its daily quantity should be strictly determined. High amounts of sodium are found in salt, canned food, meat products like salami and sausages, soups and salted snacks so you should limit both salt and foods containing large amounts of salt.

Potassium: it is usually necessary to limit the amount of potassium in the diet because there is a possibility that potassium level in the blood is too high. Your physician may control it for you.
Potassium is found in fruits and vegetables, so you should limit the intake of fruits and vegetables with high levels of potassium.

Meat and cheeses which are rich in sodium are ham, corned beef, chicken and turkey, canned fish like sardines, and most cheeses except cottage cheese are rich in sodium, phosphorus and saturated fats, also sausages, and some ready meals, including bolognese sauce, salami, etc.

Cereals have a lot of low quality protein and phosphorus and should be avoided, or eaten in small quantities; muffins, muesli and energy bars with cereal and canned, dehydrated or frozen ready meals, some breads and crackers etc.

Vegetables: it refers to fresh vegetables, not canned or salted. Low amount of potassium are found in: alfaalfa sprouts, raw cabbage, kale, all types of lettuce, green peppers, etc. – you should always watch the amount you take in!
Medium amount is found in: asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, raw carrots, raw celery, mushrooms (be careful of phosphorus), raw spinach. High amount of potassium can be found in: artichokes, cooked celery, avocado, tomatoes and tomato juice.

High amounts of both potassium and phosphorus are found in: boiled or mashed potatoes, thick tomato sauce, fresh or cooked mushrooms, etc. Very high in potassium are: sweet potatoes, roast potatoes, chips, cooked spinach, etc.

Fruits: low amount of potassium is found in: apple juice, blueberries, raspberries, tinned pears, grapefruit juice. Medium amount of potassium is found in: apples, fresh peaches, cherries and sour cherries, pineapple juice, grapes, strawberries, mango, watermelon and high in potassium are: fresh or dried apricots, nectarines, orange juice, melons, fresh pears, etc. Very high in potassium are: bananas, prune juice, dried or canned plums.

Fats: they have very little protein.

As for liquids, you should take into consideration the amount of your drinks, being particularly careful with the following drinks: fruit juices, cola, lemonade, blueberry juice, wine and frozen desserts like ice cream or fruit sorbet, some candies such as bonbons, gummy bears, fruit rolls, marmalade, jams, syrups and honey.
Some foods that have low protein amount are: special low-protein desserts, some special kinds of bread similar to biscuits and cookies, and pasta.

Extremely salty foods that you should be warned of are: some spices containing a lot of salt, barbecue sauce, ketchup, chili sauce, pickles, mustard, black or green olives, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, etc.

It may be necessary to take some extra vitamin supplements or dietary minerals (like calcium), but they must be taken only under doctor’s advice.

It would be good to read the ingredients on the packages, to see what the food contains and in what quantity, particularly those ingredients that are highlighted.

It may take some time to get used to this diet and make it a part of your daily routines, but it is extremely important to take in sufficient number of calories, protein and other nutrients required by our organism.

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