7 Tips For A Kidney-Friendly Eating To Prevent Kidney Disease From Getting Worse

Date November 21, 2017 15:15

Once you’re diagnosed with kidney disease, you have to change your diet in order to keep your kidneys functioning as well as prevent complications. You have to learn to say ‘no’ to unhealthy foods and limit the consumption of some products. Proper diet and medicines will help support your kidneys and slow down the progression of the condition. A registered dietitian can help create a meal plan for you.

What exactly do you need to change in your diet to make it kidney-friendly? Below are some recommendations.

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Note: the advice is not intended for patients on dialysis and those who have had a kidney transplant.

For a start, you can add a few healthy snacks to your diet. After all, there are times when you want to eat, and you need something to be at hand:


Limit salt and sodium

Limiting salt and sodium (which is part of salt) in your diet will help control blood pressure and prevent further damage to the kidneys. 2,300 mg of sodium daily is a maximum for you.

  • don’t add salt to your food when cooking – add taste to the dishes using lemon juice, salt-free spices, and herbs;
  • pay attention to sodium content on the 'Nutrition Facts' labels of the foods you buy – the food is high in sodium if the 'Daily Value' is 20% and higher;
  • rinse canned foods with water before consuming;
  • avoid “fast” foods, prepared foods, and salted snacks – they are often high in sodium;
  • when at a restaurant, always ask about sodium content of the food you’re going to order.

Eat the right amount of protein

Eating too much protein can overload your kidneys. But protein is a key nutrient, and your dietitian will help determine what amount of protein is right for you.

  • animal foods high in protein include poultry, milk, and dairy products;
  • plant foods high in protein include grains, beans, and nuts;
  • limit foods high in protein to 5-7 ounces a day, if your doctor or dietitian says so.

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Limit fluids if you have to

Depending on the stage of your condition, your doctor may recommend limiting fluid intake because damaged kidneys can’t get rid of excess fluid effectively. You may have to start drinking less fluids and limit foods with high water content.

Limit potassium

Your muscles and nerves need potassium to function well. Damaged kidneys can’t properly regulate levels of potassium, and this is why you have to be careful with foods that contain plenty of this electrolyte.

  • foods high in potassium include oranges, bananas, tomatoes, potatoes, brown and wild rice, bran cereals, dairy products, whole-wheat breads and pastas, beans, and nuts – you’ll likely have to eat less of those;
  • foods lower in potassium include apples, peaches, blueberries, raspberries, carrots, cucumbers, radishes, green beans, white bread and pasta, white rice, cooked rice, and wheat cereals;
  • some medicines can alter the levels of potassium - ask your doctor whether you need to change the dosage or start taking a different medicine.

Limit phosphorus

When kidneys aren’t working properly, levels of phosphorus in your blood increase. Excessive phosphorus in your blood can damage your blood vessels and cause your bones to become fragile.

  • you may have to limit foods high in phosphorus, which include poultry, bran cereals and oatmeal, dairy foods, beans, lentils and nuts;
  • avoid foods and drinks with added phosphorus;
  • your doctor may also recommend taking a phosphate binder to reduce the levels of phosphorus in your blood.

Limit alcohol

Ask your doctor whether it’s safe for you to drink alcohol. If it is, don’t drink more than the maximum amount allowed by your doctor.

Choose healthy fats

  • limit saturated fats and avoid trans fats altogether;
  • trim the fat from meat and remove the skin from poultry before consumptions;
  • include more unsaturated fats into your diet – good sources include olive oil, corn oil, and canola oil.

Source: NIDDK, American Kidney Fund, WebMD

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This article is purely for informational purposes. Do not self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for harm that may result from using the information stated in the article.