Kidney disease can have a devastating impact on the body, so it is important you do everything you can to improve your body’s health and wellness. This includes eating a healthy diet. A healthy diet may depend on many factors, including whether you have an underlying condition. Often patients with kidney disease have an underlying condition, like diabetes or heart disease that precipitated their kidney disease.
If this is the case you want to optimize your diet to treat both your underlying condition and your kidney disease. Typically your diets will match. The good news is for the most part many of the dietary recommendations for an individual with a chronic disease, including inflammatory diseases, are similar. Here are some excellent suggestions for individuals with kidney disease. Keep in mind; you should always follow the guidance provided to you by your healthcare provider. If your doctor recommends specific dietary changes to you, then be sure to follow them. DO not modify your diet in any fashion unless you have your health care provider’s approval.
- Eat a diet that is lower in protein.
- Try to limit your intake of potassium rich foods, phosphorous, and other electrolytes. These may include: serum and ionized calcium, ions, serum phosphorus, serum sodium and serum chloride.
- If you have lost weight due to your disease, be sure you get enough calories to help maintain your weight and gain weight if possible.
- Limit your intake of fluids if you are in later stage kidney disease, as this will help balance your electrolytes, minerals, and fluid especially if you are on dialysis. You may not have to limit your intake of fluids if you are not on dialysis. Remember your dietary guidelines may change with time depending on the severity of your condition. Some patients may have a mild form of kidney disease that is easily treated. In this case, your doctor may recommend how much fluid you should have.
- Do not eat too many carbohydrates, and if you do try to eat low glycemic carbohydrates. What are low glycemic carbohydrates? These are things like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables rather than products made from white flower or candies, sugar and honey. These can cause your blood sugar to spike and then rapidly decline. They can also cause problems for patients with diabetes, and diabetes is often a condition that precedes kidney disease. Some patients may have to limit their intake of other products like chocolate too.
- Some patients may benefit by limiting their intake of dairy. Dairy contains phosphorous, which can be problematic for patients with kidney disease. There are some dairy foods that are lower in phosphorous that may be ok, including butter, ricotta, brie, sherbet and cream cheese. For some patients dairy causes auto-immune reactions. SLE or systemic lupus is a condition that is an auto-immune condition. Some studies suggest that certain auto-immune conditions are caused or worsened by certain allergies, some which may include food allergies or sensitivities. Milk is a mucous forming food that can contribute to inflammation. There are many suitable milk alternatives on the market now that may be suitable; as your health care provider which may be best for you.
- Try to use monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, including olive oil, canola oil, and safflower oil so your arteries are better protected, especially if you are prone to cardiovascular disease.
- Try to eat iron rich foods, as this can help with anemia, which is a common side effect of kidney disease. Iron rich foods include kidney beans ironically, iron-fortified cereals, lima beans, chicken and other meats. Your doctor can discuss this with you.
Your doctor will work with you to make sure that you maintain adequate levels of potassium, iron, calcium, phosphorus, and other essential nutrients and electrolytes. Be sure you follow the guidelines suggested by your doctor and report any problematic health changes right away. Together the two of you can fine tune your diet.