If you have chronic kidney disease (CKD), it’s important to watch what you eat and drink. That’s because your kidneys can’t remove waste products from your body like they should. A kidney-friendly diet can help you stay healthier longer.
What’s a Kidney-Friendly Diet?
It’s a way of eating that helps protect your kidneys from further damage. It means limiting some foods and fluids so certain minerals don’t build up in your body. At the same time, you’ll have to make sure you get the right balance of protein, calories, vitamins, and minerals.
If you’re in the early stages of CKD, there may be few, if any, limits on what you can eat. But as your disease gets worse, you’ll have to be more careful about what you put into your body.
Your doctor may recommend you work with a dietitian to choose foods that are easy on your kidneys. Here are some things he might suggest:
Do the DASH
DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It’s a diet rich in fruits, veggies, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, seeds, and nuts. It’s low in sodium, sugars and sweets, fats, and red meats.
It’s not an option if you’re on dialysis.
Cut the Sodium
This mineral is found naturally in many foods. It’s most common in table salt.
Sodium affects your blood pressure. It also helps to maintain the water balance in your body. Healthy kidneys keep sodium levels in check. But if you have CKD, extra sodium and fluids build up in your body. This can cause a number of problems, like swollen ankles, high blood pressure, shortness of breath, and fluid buildup around your heart and lungs. You should aim for less than 2g of sodium in your daily diet.
Try these simple tips to cut the sodium in your diet:
- Avoid table salt and high-sodium seasonings (soy sauce, sea salt, garlic salt, etc.).
- Cook at home — most fast foods are high in sodium.
- Try new spices and herbs in place of salt.
- Stay away from packaged foods, if possible — these tend to be high in sodium.
- Read the labels when shopping and choose foods that are low-sodium.
- Rinse canned foods (veggies, beans, meats, and fish) with water before serving.