Mediterranean Diet and CKD

February is heart month. And if you have chronic kidney disease, taking care of your heart is just as important as taking care of your kidneys. While each organ has a specific job to keep you healthy, because the kidneys and heart are connected. 

In fact, if you have kidney disease, you are more likely to develop heart disease. Because the kidneys play a role in blood pressure and cholesterol management. But these two conditions are also connected with diabetes, which is the leading cause of kidney failure. 

While you can’t always prevent kidney disease, heart disease or diabetes. Nutrition can help to lower your chances of developing them. And one diet that can help is the Mediterranean Diet. This eating pattern has been shown to reduce the risk of kidney disease, heart disease and diabetes. So, what is the Mediterranean Diet and CKD.

What Is The Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean Diet is based on the traditional foods that people used to eat in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. This diet typically encourages fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and heart-healthy fats. And limits processed foods, added sugar, and refined grains. These foods are important for kidney health as they also help to reduce inflammation which is often associated with chronic kidney disease (CKD).

Mediterranean Diet and CKD

The Mediterranean is not a strict diet. But rather an eating pattern that emphasizes nutritious foods with many health benefits. And it can be included in a kidney-friendly diet. 

So, how do you follow a Mediterranean diet? with CKD

  • Eat lots of: vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, fish or seafood, whole grains, use herbs and spices, and extra virgin olive oil
  • Eat in moderation: poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurt
  • Eat rarely: red meat (e.g. pork, beef, lamb), sugar-sweetened beverages, added sugars, and processed foods

I love this visual of the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid which shows how often to include foods. You can check it out from BC Renal.

Foods To Choose On The Mediterranean Diet and CKD

 Base your diet on these healthy Mediterranean foods:

  • Vegetables:, broccoli, kale, onions, cauliflower, carrots, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, eggplant, string beans – remember to choose low potassium if needed
  • Fruits: apples, pears, strawberries, grapes, melons, peaches – remember to choose low potassium if needed
  • Nuts, seeds, and nut butters: pecan, walnuts, macadamia nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almond butter, peanut butter – check out my post on the top nuts and seeds for CKD for more tips and tricks
  • Legumes: beans, peas, lentils, pulses, chickpeas – remember that canned with no added salt have lower potassium and phosphorus than dried
  • Whole grains: oats, brown rice, rye, barley, buckwheat, whole wheat bread and pasta
  • Fish and seafood: salmon, tuna, mackerel, shrimp, mussels
  • Poultry and Eggs: chicken, turkey, duck
  • Dairy: cheese, yogurt, milk; choose low fat like 2% Milk Fat or less for yogurt or milk and 20% Milk Fat  or less for cheese
  • Herbs and spices: choose fresh or dried
  • Healthy fats: extra virgin olive oil, canola oil, avocado

Need Some Meal Inspiration?

Steele cut or large flake oatmeal cooked with low fat milk, topped with cinnamon, apple and sunflower seedsTuna wrap on whole wheat tortilla: 3 oz tuna, lettuce, cucumber, bell pepper; and berriesWhole grain pasta with low sodium pasta sauce and 3 oz chicken or chickpeas; garden salad with olive oil vinaigrette dressingUnsalted pistachios; grapes

Want To Adopt A Mediterranean Diet with CKD?

The Mediterranean Diet is probably one of the healthiest diets in the world. In fact, those who followed a Mediterranean Diet had a 10% lower risk of developing CKD and reduced death with CKD. So this month show your body some love and include more Mediterranean-inspired foods.  

If you’re looking to feel empowered and supported with your nutrition needs, working with a dietitian can help you gain confidence and understand your kidney-friendly diet to meet your nutrition needs. A Mediterranean Diet is one way to help preserve your kidney function. And this diet is reviewed in my group program The Kidney Connection to help you preserve your kidney function. If you’re looking for support with your nutrition and CKD, the doors are open and your spot is saved. 

Want to learn more about Emily? Learn more here.

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