If you have kidney problems, or you want to make sure you avoid having one in the future, you have to be careful about what you eat.
The goal of this article is to offer tips on a sensible diet for people with kidney problems - whether you currently have a kidney problem, or hope to avoid having one in the future. Anyone who has to cook or plan meals for an individual with kidney trouble will also find some helpful guidelines below. Of course, always follow the recommendations of the patient's doctor for specific nutritional and dietary guidelines.
Diet is an important part of managing your kidney problem. Nutritional choices should be made on the basis of several factors.
* Your current kidney health and ability to function.
* Your overall health and physical well-being, especially in regard to any other conditions or disorders you may have.
* Your weight. Obesity places more stress on the kidneys and raises the risk or kidney disease or kidney failure.
When planning a diet for people with kidney problems, there are five main food groups that must be taken into consideration.
Amount of Sodium or Salt
Sodium, which is more commonly known as salt, plays an important role in metabolism. It maintains our bodily fluid balances, influences our muscle control, and even helps us keep our blood pressure in a healthy range.
But many people eat way more salt than they should. Some don't realize that many of the prepackaged and processed foods that are regular parts of their diets are loaded with sodium - it's not just the salt that comes out of the shaker on the dinner table.
Normally, your kidneys filter out excess salt. But unhealthy kidneys fail to do this. They allow salt to accumulate.
As a result, there's a fluid build up in the body which causes bloating and usually appears first in the joints and the face.
Anyone who's concerned about their kidneys should watch their consumption of
* processed dinner mixes
* salted snacks, especially potato chips
* nuts that have been salted
* processed foods like cold cuts
* Soups that come from a can, a dehydrated package, or broth made with bouillon cubes
* vegetables in cans
It also helps to use the salt shaker lightly - if at all - during all meals.
Everyone needs protein, but eating too much of it is particularly hard on the kidneys. Too much protein strains the kidneys by creating more metabolic waste than they can handle. You need to get enough while being careful not to get too much. Your doctor can help give you some guidelines that are appropriate to your situation.
Most people get the majority of their protein from poultry products (including eggs) and from the meat they consume. Vegetables and grains generally include little or no protein.
Potassium is important to the health of nerves and muscles. But once again, you can get too much of it, which may result in an irregular heartbeat. Most of the food you eat contains some level of potassium.
So if you have a kidney problem, you have to educate yourself about the amount of potassium in foods you consume.
Meanwhile some foods have high levels of potassium, so you should make sure to limit your consumption. Foods that contain a lot of potassium include collard, mushrooms, mustard, oranges, potatoes, prunes, raisins, salt substitute, tomatoes, apricots, bananas, beets and broccoli.
Like potassium, phosphorus helps maintain normal nerve and muscle performance. It combines with calcium to build strong bones and teeth.
Kidney problems will sometimes alter your phosphorus balances - and not in a good way. This reduces your calcium levels, and your body begins to "rob" calcium from your bones to make up for the deficiency.
But too much phosphorus is bad too Excessive phosphorus levels can result in brittle bones, painful joints, and itchy skin.
You'll find relatively high levels of phosphorus in foods like nuts and peanut butter, caramel, and liver (both beef and chicken). Some drinks are also high in phosphorus, including cola and beer.
One of the most important metabolic functions of your kidneys is filtering fluids. Good fluid filtration can be a problem for someone with unhealthy kidneys. So monitoring fluid intake is important.
If you consume too many fluids, it can drive up your blood pressure along with causing swelling and shortness of breath.
Your doctor will advise you on how much fluid intake is okay.
And remember, some fluids are consumed as solids, but they melt into a liquid once you've eaten them. Ice cream leads the list here.
A healthy kidney diet is critical to anyone with a serious kidney problem.
Kidney failure leaves you faced with two grim possibilities: years of renal dialysis, or a kidney transplant. Eating a diet for people with kidney problems today will help you avoid having to make such choices in the future.