The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs in the body that are responsible for filtering blood, removing waste through urine, maintaining a balance of the mineral and fluid, and involved in the production of certain hormones.
There are several risk factors that are associated with kidney diseases such as uncontrolled diabetes and high blood pressure. Other factors include alcoholism, heart problems, hepatitis C or HIV infections.
When the kidneys are damaged they are unable to perform their functions properly, resulting in the accumulation of fluid and waste in the body. However, having a balanced diet and keeping some dietary restrictions can help if you are suffering from kidney disease.
The Dietary Restrictions To Be Followed
The diet restrictions vary depending on the stage and type of the disease. For instance, people with early stages of kidney disease will have lesser restrictions than those with end-stage renal disease.
A kidney-healthy diet consists of a limited amount of sodium and potassium. i.e.2000 mg per day. The patients are also advised to limit the protein in their diets.
Different foods that should be avoided for good renal health are:
1. Soft Drinks
Dark-colored colas apart from high calories and sugar, also have additives in the form of phosphorus. This enhances the shelf life and prevents discoloration of the drink. This added phosphorus is highly absorbed by the human body and leads to adverse effects. Having light-colored colas is relatively considered safe compared to the dark ones.
Generally, they are considered a rich source of healthy fats and fibers, but a kidney patient needs to avoid them. This is because of their high level of potassium.
3. Canned Foods
Canned foods such as soups, vegetables, and beans are added with high quantities of sodium to increase their shelf life. Because of this high sodium content, it is recommended kidney patients to avoid this.
Choosing a ‘no salt added’ is best for a kidney patient.
4. Brown Rice
Brown rice is a whole grain, which has higher potassium and phosphorus contents than white rice. Excessive amounts of potassium and phosphorus should be avoided by kidney disease patients. An alternative for this can be the use of white rice, which has controlled levels of these nutrients.
They also have high levels of potassium. Mostly, all kinds of tropical fruits are rich in potassium content. However, pineapples can be a good alternative for these.
6. Dairy Products
Milk products are a rich source of various vitamins and minerals. They are a natural reservoir of phosphorus, potassium, and proteins.
When the kidneys are damaged, too much phosphorus consumption can cause a build-up of this nutrient in the blood. It can make the bones weak and thin, resulting in an increased risk of bone breakage or fractures.
Alternatives such as unenriched rice milk have lower levels of potassium and phosphorus than cow’s milk and thus can be used.
7. Orange & Orange juice
Not only are they rich in Vitamin C, but they also contain large amounts of potassium. Oranges or orange juice should be avoided or limited when a person is suffering from kidney disease.
Grapes and apples, however, can be an effective alternative for orange, given their lower potassium content.
8. Processed Meat
They are considered unhealthy due to their high levels of preservatives. These preservatives include large quantities of salt to retain the taste and flavor of the meat.
Additionally, the meats also have high levels of protein, which needs to be kept under supervision when on a kidney-healthy diet.
9. Some Vegetables To Be Avoided
Potatoes, tomatoes, sweet potatoes are all potassium-rich vegetables. These need to be avoided in order to maintain a healthy renal diet. Alternatives available include red pepper sauce instead of tomato, as it has lesser potassium per serving.
When it comes to potatoes, double cooking them reduces the amount of potassium to a great extent. This is known as ‘potassium leaching’ or “double cook method”.
10. Dates And Raisins
Commonly called as dried fruits. These are highly concentrated sources of potassium. These are to be completely avoided when on a renal diet. There are no generic alternatives available to them.
They are rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin A and fiber. Potassium content is even more concentrated in dried apricots and they are very high in potassium. One cup of fresh apricots provides 427mg of potassium.
12. Olives & Pickles
Pickles, processed olives are all examples of cured & pickled foods. In the processing of these large amounts of salt is added.
For example, one pickle contains more than 300 mg of sodium. And, 2 Tablespoon of sweet pickle contains more than 250mg of sodium. Processed olives also are very salty because they are cured and fermented to taste less bitter. Five green pickled olives provide about 195 mg of sodium, which is a high portion of the daily amount in only a small serving.
There are also some stores that have sodium-free pickles that contain very less pickles than the traditional pickle.
However, These less sodium options are also very high in sodium than the specified limit so you still have to watch your portion.
For any patient on a renal diet, reducing their intake of potassium, phosphorus and sodium can be an important aspect in managing the disease’s progression.
But if the disease has progressed, the available treatment options depend on the condition of the kidney and extent of the damage.
Different Treatment Modalities Available For A Patient Suffering From Kidney Disease Are:
- Diet prevention and salt restriction in the early stages
- Transient dialysis if the condition progresses
- Blood transfusions to aid in infections
- Medicines to support the symptoms
- Kidney Transplant in end-stage renal disease
The best kidney transplant hospitals in Turkey suggest that any patient who is suffering from stage 5 of kidney disease, including – End-Stage-Renal-Disease (ESRD) or a Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), are eligible candidates for a kidney transplant evaluation.
The success rate and life expectancy after a kidney transplant are good. However, it usually depends on the stage at which the patient is undergoing a kidney transplant.