If you have renal (kidney) disease, let’s be honest with yourself you cannot eat whatever you want. As our kidneys are not functioning properly. As a result, our bodies will retain waste and this can leads to multiple diseases that include osteoporosis, joints pain, muscle and nerve problems, high blood pressure, and heart failure. Whatever we eat and drink is going to influence our health. We have often heard about maintaining healthy weight, eating balance diet. As they can significantly restrict the further damage to kidneys.
One must consult renal dietitian before planning kidney friendly diet. A kidney friendly diet mainly restrict protein, sodium, phosphorus and potassium, as our bean shaped organ is not working properly some nutrients and minerals build up in our body, which can be life threatening for us. Nevertheless, when we are talking about kidney friendly diet it does not mean that we have to cut down on our taste and delicacies or we have to eat something boiled with some pepper and lemon on it. No actually, there are plenty of delicious food you can eat.
While dietary restrictions vary from the stage of kidney disease, for example diet plan of individual with early kidney disease will vary from someone on dialysis or end stage renal disease (ESRD).
Usually our food is made up of Carbohydrates, Fats, Proteins, Minerals and vitamins. Let us see how we should incorporate all these nutrients in our diet with moderation and modification.
Patients with renal disease need to pay wise attention to their minerals intake.
Patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) are allowed to consume sodium, potassium with less than 2000mg per day, and phosphorus between 800-1000mg per day. Damaged kidneys cannot remove extra amount of minerals from the body. As a result, they start piling in our body. Let’s discuss them and their sources in detail.
Sodium: It is one of the most abundant mineral present in all food item and is the major component of table salt. This mineral make you thirsty. Too much sodium in diet can raise your blood pressure and put extra work on heart. One should limit their salt intake in general. But individual with CKD should be more attentive.
“Try to prepare fresh food with spices (black pepper) and fresh herbs ( they are good substitute of salt)
“Avoid canned and frozen food, soups. If et al using canned vegetables, fish, meat, make sure to rinse them with water properly. This way you can get rid of extra sodium.
Watch amount and type of sauces you are consuming. Soy, BBQ and ketchup have high amount of sodium. Limit your pickle and olive intake.
Be cautious when using “sodium substitutes or sodium free seasoning”. They are known to be high in potassium and too much potassium along with renal complication is bad.
Potassium: This is second most abundant mineral find in our diet. We need potassium for our muscles and nerves. Individual with renal complications have high level of potassium in blood and this can cause serious heart ailment.
- Salt substitutes are high potassium, check with your dietitian before incorporating them in your diet.
- Properly drain canned vegetables before consuming them.
Food high in potassium: Oranges, Banana, melons, winter squashes, spinach, potatoes, tomatoes, brown rice, granola, pastas, dairy foods, salted nuts, beans, avocadoes,
Food low in potassium: Apples, cranberries, grapes, pineapple, strawberries, summer squash, onion, pepper, radish, lettuce, cauliflower, beef, chicken, egg white.
We will be discussing about these vegetables in details later on. In addition, individual with renal complications should ask their dietitian regarding potassium binder. This medicine binds to extra potassium in your gut. Therefore, extra potassium comes out in your stool.
Phosphorus: It is also find in almost all foods. It works with calcium and vitamin D to keep our bones healthy. Damaged kidney, build up lot of phosphorus in blood. As a result, calcium comes out from the bones, make them weak, brittle. High phosphorus can cause itchy skin, and joint pain.
Watch out for foods which have high amount of phosphorus like dairy products, poultry, meat, fish, bran cereals, lentils, beans, nuts, sodas. Lot of packaged foods have “PHOS” written over them. Be considerate while consuming them. One can swap them with foods having low amount of phosphorus like, fresh fruits, vegetables, rice milk, corn and rice cereals, lemonade.
Usually, phosphate binder is given to the patients. That will take care of extra phosphorus in our body.
Here are some vegetables, if you consume them. Your kidneys will say “THANK YOU” for taking care of me….
- Blueberries: These small juicy natural dumplings are full of antioxidants. They contain an important antioxidant “anthocyanin”, which is very good for heart disease, cancer, good skin, healthy gut, diabetes.
Berries can be a very good addition to kidney friendly diet. They are less in sodium, phosphorus, and potassium.
Amount Per 1 cup (148 g)
Sodium 1 mg
Potassium 114 mg
Phosphorus 18mg (Courtesy: healthline.com)
- Red Grapes: They are not only delicious, but they contain tons of nutrients. High in vitamin C and flavonoids. Resveratrol is a common flavonoid present in abundance, which is known to reduce inflammation, boost immunity and reduce risk of heart disease. Inflammation is commonly seen in kidney disease. So red grapes are must for renal friendly diet.
Amount Per 1 cup (150g)
- Bell Peppers: Peppers are not only bright in color and nice in taste; they contain impressive amounts of nutrients. What make them more attractive, besides having lot of antioxidant, they have low amount of sodium, potassium, phosphorus.
Amount Per 1 Cup 100g
- Garlic: As I mentioned individual with kidney problems are advised to restrict their sodium intake. Garlic is a very good and delicious alternative. Not only it provide nice aroma to our food, garlic is a good source of vitamin B6, B12, sulfur, magnesium and have anti-inflammatory properties.
Three cloves of garlic contain
Sodium: 1.5 mg
Potassium: 36 mg
- Cauliflower: This cruciferous vegetable is a good source of fiber, vitamins (C, K and B). They are abundant in “indoles” which is responsible for anti-inflammatory properties of cauliflower. They are very good substitute of mashed potatoes as a side dish. One cup of cooked cauliflower contains:
Sodium: 19 mg
Potassium: 176 mg
Phosphorus: 40 mg
- Cabbage: This magical veggie is not only loaded with nutrients, vitamin (B, C, and K), and minerals. Nevertheless, it contain insoluble fiber, which is very important for our morning big job (poop).
Moreover, it is low in potassium, phosphorus and sodium. One cup of shredded cabbage contain:
Sodium: 13 mg
Potassium: 119 mg
Phosphorus: 18 mg
- Onion: Well they can make you cry. Tears does not matter when it comes to providing sodium free flavor to renal friendly diet. Onion contain quercetin an important antioxidant, which has great anti-inflammatory properties. Kidney disease mainly characterized by inflammation. Shallow frying the veggies with garlic, olive oil and onion add extra flavor to our meal. Onions contains vitamin B and C, Manganese. Onion contain
Sodium: 3 mg
Potassium: 102 mg
Phosphorus: 20 mg
- Pineapple: Pineapples are really delicious. They are really popular among patient undergoing dialysis. Pineapple have added advantage (low in potassium) over other tropical fruits that are rich in fiber and vitamin C like oranges, banana, kiwi. They are not only great source of vitamin C, fiber, manganese. It contains bromelain enzyme, which has known to reduce common symptoms from which ESRD patients suffer i.e. wound healing time, swelling, pain. One cup of pineapple contain
Sodium: 2 mg
Potassium: 180 mg
Phosphorus: 13 mg
- Turnips: They are excellent replacement of potatoes. This root vegetable are great source of fiber. Usually individual with kidney disorder suffer from constipation problems. Baked, mashed, or broiled turnips works wonder for a renal diet. A full cup of turnip contain
Sodium: 25 mg
Potassium: 138 mg
Phosphorus: 20 mg
- Mushrooms: Not all but shiitake mushroom makes a great choice for excellent renal diet. And they are good substitute for meat. They are low in potassium. One cup of cooked mushroom contain.
Sodium: 6 mg
Potassium: 170 mg
Phosphorus: 42 mg
- Cranberries: This dried tart fruit is good for urinary tract and kidney. It contain one phytonutrient-proanthocyanidins. This has antibacterial properties. Kidney disorder are mainly accompanied with infection of urinary tract. One can have them in salads, or in juices. One cup of cranberries contain
Sodium: 2 mg
Potassium: 80 mg
Phosphorus: 11 mg
- Arugula: Green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale are good for our body. But not for a person suffering from kidney disorder. As they are rich in potassium. Arugula is an excellent source of fiber, low in potassium. Wash arugula, sprinkle some pepper and little bit olive oil and have it as a side dish. One cup arugula contain
Sodium: 6 mg
Potassium: 74 mg
Phosphorus: 10 mg
Veggies and fruits are not only loaded with macro or micro nutrients. But they contain one important fruit sugar i.e.myo-inositiol. Researchers have preliminary data, which suggest that this fruit sugar rescue kidney from injury in a disease state.
Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are the simplest nutrient and primarily favored by our body for providing energy. Reason for this favoritism: our body prefer carbohydrates over proteins and fats as simple carbohydrates does not produce metabolic waste. As a result, our body does not need to work extra for throwing waste out. However, individual with renal complications need to be extra cautions for the amount and type of carbohydrate they are consuming.
Healthy carbohydrates are fruits, vegetables, buckwheat and bulgur. Unhealthy carbohydrates are sugar, syrups, candies, canned vegetables, sodas.
Buckwheat: Whole grains are in general good for your body, but they tend to be very high in phosphorus. Among all whole grains, buckwheat turns out to be healthy option. First its gluten free, rich in fiber, loaded with tons of nutrients like manganese, vitamin B, iron. A cup of cooked buckwheat contain
Sodium: 7 mg
Potassium: 148 mg
Phosphorus: 59 mg
Bulgur: It is one of the best kidney friendly whole grain wheat. It is excellent source of fiber, magnesium, iron, manganese. One cup of bulgur contain
Sodium: 7 mg
Potassium: 148 mg
Phosphorus: 59 mg
Proteins: Proteins are important for our body, as they are the only building blocks. However, with renal disease, one cannot consume same amount of protein as a normal individual. Pulses, grams, beans are considered as a big NO. To stay healthy, even kidney patient need some amount of protein.
Skinless Chicken and egg white can serve as a great source of proteins. Although egg yolk contain vitamin D, good fat. But they are excellent source of protein people undergoing dialysis, as these patients body need proteins, but they have limit phosphorus. Similarly, skinless chicken breast contain less potassium, sodium, phosphorus. Never buy pre-made roasted chicken.
Two large egg white contain
Sodium: 110 mg
Potassium: 108 mg
Phosphorus: 10 mg
84 grams Skinless chicken contain
Sodium: 63 mg
Potassium: 216 mg
Phosphorus: 192 mg
Fats: Not only kidney patients, but in general one should be considerate enough while consuming fat. Why? If we want to keep our blood vessel, kidney and heart healthy.
Use grill, broil, baked, roasted food item instead of deep fry.
Cook in a nonstick pan, with a dash of olive oil.
Limit consumption of saturated or trans-fat.
Olive oil is healthy source of fat and it is free from phosphorus. Usually patients with chronic kidney disorder have difficulty in keeping weight under control. So olive oil is a great option. Although amount of calories in olive oil remains the same as compared to other oil. We cannot have deep fried stuff made in olive oil. No things does not work in this way. However, olive oil contains oleic acid – a type of monounsaturated fat, which has great anti-inflammatory properties.
One table spoon of olive oil contain
Sodium: 0.3 mg
Potassium: 0.1 mg
Phosphorus: 0 mg
Macadamia Nuts: Most of the dry fruits are rich in phosphorus. They are mainly excluded from renal diet. However, macadamia nuts are lower in phosphorus as compared to other nuts like almonds, peanuts. They are packed in healthy fats, vitamins, magnesium, iron, copper.
28gm of macadamia nuts contain
Sodium: 1.4 mg
Potassium: 103 mg
Phosphorus: 53 mg
If we want healthy kidney please limit alcohol and cigarette consumption. They are never good anyhow, but if one is hooked up besides having renal complication. One should seriously considered giving them.
N.B. I genuinely believe we all have capability and right to live happy and healthy life. Cheers
ahaṁ vaiśhvānaro bhūtvā prāṇināṁ deham āśhritaḥ prāṇāpāna-samāyuktaḥ pachāmy annaṁ chatur-vidha BG 15.14: It is I who take the form of the fire of digestion in the stomachs of all living beings, and combine with the incoming and outgoing breaths, to digest and assimilate the four kinds of foods. BG: Bhgawad gita