You need to follow a renal diet plan in case you are suffering from a kidney disease or are on kidney dialysis. The focus in this diet is more on the foods that you should avoid, which have been covered in this HealthHearty write-up.
You will be advised to stick to a renal diet if your kidneys have failed, meaning that your kidneys are not able to remove the wastes from your body, which are usually produced from the foods that you eat and the liquids that you drink. Following a diet is an important part of your treatment and recovery process. Not will the diet help you recover, but also help wade off any complications such weight loss, excess fluid buildup, etc.
The main purpose of this diet is to control the amount of protein, sodium, and phosphorous. Along with this, a renal diet will also help reduce the amount of wastes present in the body, thereby, helping the kidney work better and avoiding a total renal failure.
While learning about the renal diet, we will focus more on what foods are to be avoided because of what they may contain:
Protein: Unless you are on hemodialysis, you should limit the protein in your diet to 0.75g per kilogram of your body weight. Ensure that you are taking in sufficient calories, else you will have to increase the intake of protein. The richest sources of protein are meat, fish, cheese, eggs, milk, pulses, and nuts.
Sodium: This element has to be controlled in the diet of renal patients. This helps in maintaining the fluid balance in the body along with avoiding fluid retention and high blood pressure. A high content of sodium is found in table salt, soups, processed cheese, canned food, junk food, and pickles. All of us know that we cannot avoid the normal table salt in our diet completely as food would be completely tasteless and inedible. Fortunately, the quantity of the salt that we use can be controlled with the help of using garlic, mustard, and pepper that helps in making the food tastier when very little salt is used. Also, be wary of salt substitutes like ‘Lo-Salt’. No doubt these substitutes are low in sodium, but they are very high in potassium, which makes them equally dangerous in your diet.
Potassium: The intake of potassium should be restricted only if the tests reveal high potassium levels in the blood. The main reason for this is that many healthy foods that form an important part of the diet contain potassium. If you do have to restrict the intake of potassium, avoid leafy vegetables, fruits, and fruit juices. Also, potatoes contain a high level of potassium especially if they are fried or baked.
Phosphate: Excess of phosphate in the blood becomes a problem during the 4th and 5th stage of the chronic kidney failure wherein the kidney works at about 20% of its maximum capacity. A high level of phosphate makes the patient itch very badly and has an adverse effect on the arteries too. A good diet is not sufficient to control the level of diets in most cases, and additional medications known as phosphate binders too have to be taken along with the food which keep the phosphate in the gut and prevent its absorption into the blood. These medicines have to be taken just before eating or along with food, else they will not be effective. Phosphates are usually associated with proteins and are found in high content in milk, cheese, baking powder, shellfish, and whole grain cereals. It is also found in convenience foods, which are added by their manufacturers.
With so many limitations on the food that you can consume, it is not uncommon that kidney patients start to lose weight. You have to maintain your weight at a healthy level, and here are some tips that you can use which will fit your diet plan and help you maintain your weight:
- All breads, tortillas, and cereals except bran breads and cereals can be consumed.
- Add a measured quantity of margarine, mayonnaise, and vegetable oils like olive oil or canola oil in your diet.
- If you are not diabetic, you can add honey and sugar to add calories.
- Lastly, remember that you must eat snacks and meals at regular intervals and should not miss any meal.
No matter how much of information you can gather on the Internet, it is vital that you consult a dietitian and work out a diet plan for you, which will be based on your weight, food habits, and renal history. A good diet plan will ensure that you can move forward beyond your kidney failure and lead a healthy and fulfilling life. All it will take is a little self-control. All the best!
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by an expert on the subject.