Choosing to eat healthy always comes with a bit of effort, patience and determination. First and foremost, you can’t just give in to any craving or eat anything what is offered to you; second, meal preparation is almost drastically altered.

It’s no different for Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) patients like you, who need to slow down on eating habits to keep overall health in check. Although a Kidney diet requires some sacrifice, the benefit is however grand.

If you start implementing a healthy Kidney diet during the early stages of your CKD, then you are doing yourself a great favor by simply avoiding the worsening of your condition. Not just that, by keeping your Kidney functioning well, you are also keeping your blood, heart, muscles, joints and a lot of other organs functionally well.

WHAT SHOULD BE AVOIDED?

Let’s start with the don’ts so you won’t feel too bad at the end of the article (because you can still eat yummy stuff even on a Kidney diet). Of course, it’s crucial to know the don’ts first so you can immediately slow down your intake and be wary on the kind of food you’ll be eating next.

In a nutshell, here’s the recommended intake of the following for an effective Kidney diet.

Sodium<1000mg
Phosphorus1000mg
Potassium2000mg
Fluid IntakeAt least 7-8 cups a day or more (depending on Doctor’s recommendation).
Protein7-8 oz.

 

It’s common knowledge to avoid salty foods if you don’t want to stress your Kidneys. For CKD patients, and even for those who are already experiencing early signs of it, you must avoid any food that contains high amounts of any and or a combination of the following:

1.) Sodium

Sodium is basically what we plainly call “salt”. If the Kidney is having a hard time flushing out excess sodium in our body, it can eventually build up and affect our blood pressure and the regulation of fluids in our body—that can sometimes lead to dehydration.

Types of food that are rich in sodium are of course, junk foods (chips, nachos, curls, etc.) and processed foods (canned meat and anything that’s preserved or manufactured food). Sadly, this also means that you should avoid foods like bacon, ham, and hotdogs. It’s also crucial to avoid salt substitutes or what we sometimes call “food seasoning” like MSG and other artificial flavor enhancers.

Some CKD patients, in an effort to completely eliminate sodium intake in their diet have grown accustomed to the bland taste of unseasoned food. However, for people who may have been still starting on a Kidney diet, it would be hard to get used to such. And you don’t really have to suffer because healthy alternatives are at hand.

What is the best alternative?

Any food that is prepared without salt or any flavor enhancer is undoubtedly bland, and it would be miserable for our taste buds. Luckily, the market nowadays offer flavor enhancers that are low in sodium, but the best option you have is to use fresh herbs or homemade condiments with fresh and organic ingredients.

Examples of fresh ingredients that you can use as seasoning are garlic, fresh ginger, vinegar, onions, spring onions and herbs like rosemary, thyme and the likes.

2.) Potassium

Like Sodium, excessive Potassium in our bodies can build up and affect our blood pressure—most especially, the heart. Almost every food contains a certain amount of Potassium, and it’s still an important mineral for our daily function. However, the recommended intake for CKD patients should only be more or less 2000mg of Potassium daily.

We are not saying that you shouldn’t eat the following foods listed below because a lot of them are still healthy and good for you. However, just be reminded that you shouldn’t take too much on any one or two of it in the same day:

Fruits:

  • Bananas
  • Tomatoes (including Tomato juices, purees and other byproducts)
  • Prunes (including Prune Juice)
  • Avocados
  • Melon
  • Papaya
  • Oranges (including Orange juice)
  • Cantaloupes

Beans:

  • Lentils
  • Black, White, & Red Beans
  • Lima Beans
  • Baked Beans
  • Split Peas
  • Garbanzo Beans

Others

  • Milk & Chocolates

What’s my best alternative?

You can opt for other fruits like apple, lemon, grapes and berries. They are not just equally yummy, but healthy too!

3.) Phosphate

Unlike Sodium and Potassium which targets the blood and heart if they excessively build up in our bodies, excessive Phosphate in the body can cause joint pains, muscle aches, bone brittleness, and skin pain. To avoid any of those, we need to flush out excess phosphate as much as we can.

To not stress your Kidneys, your Kidney diet should include a 1000mg daily limitation of phosphate-rich foods like:

  • Milk, cheese, and other dairy products—if you have to, limit your intake of these to 4oz. a day.
  • Chocolates
  • Sodas/Bottled Beverages
  • Black-eyed Peas, Red Beans and all the other Beans listed under Potassium-rich foods.
  • Peanut Butter
  • Brown Rice

What to eat instead:

The following are foods that are low in Phosphorus and can be eaten in generous amounts.

  • Butter/Margarine
  • Honey & Jam
  • White Rice
  • Pasta (e.g. macaroni) – you still have to make sure that the preparation of your pasta dish doesn’t contain flavor enhancers or sauces that are high in sodium or potassium.

4.) Fluid Intake

If you are on dialysis, chances are, you may have a decreased amount of urine. As a result, slowing down on fluids should be observed. Otherwise, it may create pressure to the lungs and heart that can potentially harm you.

If your urine output is normal and frequent, there may be no need to adjust. But if it is higher than normal, then you may need to drink more fluids to replenish the lost fluids in the body.

It’s best to ask your doctor about the right fluid intake for you. Most usually, for patients who have decreased output in urine, fluid intake is limited to 4 cups a day.

Also remember that the fluid present in foods such as fruits, vegetables and desserts should be taken in account.

5.) Protein

We all need protein because it helps us acquire energy and build up muscles or tissues. However, if we want to keep our kidney in shape, it’s best to maintain protein intake at a 7-8oz. limit per day. This includes food like beef, pork, chicken, veal, turkey, fish and seafood, and even eggs.

As a Kidney patient, the actual menu of your Kidney diet doesn’t look too deprived because you have a lot of alternatives and options that are still good for you. However, it may depend on a case to case basis. If you are on dialysis, then a special Kidney Diet plan may be needed depending on the nutrients you need—that can be determined by your doctor.

If you still find yourself craving for an unhealthy favorite, you can read here to know more on how to control your diet. But if you want to know more about how to prepare and season your food that follows the don’ts of this article, you can download the Kidney Diet Secrets guide and enjoy sumptuous meals every now and then!