Nutrition plays an important role in helping to preserve kidney function. There are so many nutritious and delicious foods that we can include in our diet. But are there renal diet restrictions? You may be wondering if there are any foods to avoid for kidney health. This blog post will cover the foods to avoid for kidney health or what the renal diet restrictions are.
Between 8 and 10% of the adult population have some form of kidney damage. And some of the most common causes of chronic kidney disease (CKD) are related to diabetes or high blood pressure. And nutrition plays an important role in helping to manage CKD, diabetes and high blood pressure.
Nutrition is one way to treat CKD and help to manage kidney function. Let’s take a look at how:
- Nutrition can help delay progression of CKD by helping the kidneys to work more efficiently. It can help minimize the build-up of waste products and extra filtering required by the kidneys to eliminate them. By following a low protein diet, choosing foods that are easier for the kidneys to filter – like plant-based proteins, or reducing animal protein – helps to reduce the acid load on the kidneys; nutrition can help to preserve kidney function.
- Nutrition can help manage lab values like potassium or phosphorus and by helping to manage the acid-base balance of the body.
- Nutrition can also help to manage conditions associated with chronic kidney disease like diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol that can cause further damage to the kidneys.
What Foods To Choose For Kidney Health
The right kidney-friendly diet can:
· Meet your nutritional needs
· Reduce your kidneys’ workload
· Help maintain the kidney function you have left
· Control the build-up of food wastes like urea, creatinine
· Reduce symptoms associated with CKD like fatigue, nausea, itching, and bad taste in the mouth
Everyone’s needs are different, and a personalized approach to nutrition is important. But what the research has shown is that the most helpful diets for CKD have:
- Higher intakes of vegetables and fruit, choosing plant-based proteins like legumes and nuts, incorporating small amounts of fish and low-fat dairy, and including whole grains
- Lower intakes of red and processed meats, sodium, and sugar-sweetened beverages
Each of these eating patterns is related to the Mediterranean Diet, the DASH diet and plant-based eating patterns and has the basics of the plate method and we can apply this to every meal and anywhere to help us eat nutritious foods. So at meals, aim for:
- Half your plate in vegetables, choose low potassium if needed
- Quarter plate in protein, choose plant-based more often
- Quarter plate in carbohydrates or starches, choose whole grains more often
Some other things to consider are:
- Have fruit as a snack
- Make water your beverage of choice
- Season with herbs and spices to reduce sodium
Foods To Avoid For Kidney Health. Renal Diet Restrictions.
Of course there are foods that you may want to limit for kidney health. Like protein or added sugars. And if you have a high potassium, limiting portion sizes and frequency of high potassium foods is important. But truthfully, there is actually only one food that you absolutely need to avoid with CKD, the rest a renal dietitian can help you find ways to balance your diet.
So, the one food to avoid for kidney health and this is definitely a renal diet restriction is starfruit. Starfruit (carambola or Averrhoa Starfruit) is a fruit found in tropical areas and originated in Asia. The fruit gets its name because it is shaped like a star when sliced. It can be yellow or greenish and has a taste ranging from bitter to sweet. Studies show that eating starfruit can have a harmful toxic effect for people who have kidney disease. The substances found in starfruit can affect the brain and cause neurological disorders. This toxic substance is called a neurotoxin. People with healthy, normal kidneys can process and pass this toxin out from their body. However, for those with kidney disease, this is not possible. The toxin stays in the body and causes serious illness. The symptoms of starfruit poisoning include: Hiccups, Mental confusion, Seizures, Death (in serious cases). So if you have kidney disease, it is important to avoid starfruit.
Looking To Learn More?
If you’re looking to make changes to your nutrition or learn about what you should be eating for CKD, my Kidney Nutrition Fast Track course is here to help get you started. Learn about it here.
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