renal diet plan
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Renal Diet Plan: Dos and Don’ts !!

A renal diet is recommended for patients with renal disease or kidney failure. Kidney failure patients require a special diet because as the function of the kidneys diminishes, processing certain foods becomes more difficult.

Following a diet that is less taxing on the kidneys can improve health outcomes.

Even if a person has kidney disease, it is important to stick with a renal diet specially designed to improve kidney function in order to prevent kidney failure.

What is renal diet?

It is a diet that is low in sodium, protein, and phosphorus. Certain fluid intake should be in a limit.

In some instances, the patient’s intake of potassium and calcium should be tapered too.

This diet can help slow down the rate of damage to your kidneys.

Every person is unique and the severity of the kidney disease varies from one person to another.

Hence, it is important to work closely with a dietician to thoroughly and accurately monitor the patient’s food intake. 

RENAL DIET RESTRICTIONS

Individuals suffering from renal and kidney diseases should pay attention to 3 factors that are considered their enemies: Sodium, Potassium and Phosphorus.

Sodium

It is a mineral that constitutes the basis of table salt.

People suffering from renal diseases should avoid this mineral as it is negatively associated with their condition.

While most people think that by lowering their sodium intake they only need to cut down on adding salt to their food.

Keep in mind that it is essential to reduce your intake to prevent any complication of your condition. So, here are a few tips on how to do it.

First, do not cook with salt and do not add salt when you eat.

Second, try to dissect the ingredients found in your seasonings and canned or ready-prepared food. Also, check for labels stating “no salt added”. Do not use seasonings, as most of them have large amount of salt in them.

Third, when you buy your frozen food packages, make sure they are not soaked in a solution. Most of the time, this solution is nothing other than salt and water.

Potassium

It is another mineral that should be avoided by people having renal disease. This mineral helps the muscles to work properly. When a person has renal problems, potassium builds up in the blood and changes heart beat. The situation could worsen to the point of causing a heart attack.

It is present in many fruits and vegetables as well as meats and some dairy. Here is a list of foods to avoid:

  • cantaloupes and melons
  • Citrus Fruits like oranges, lemons, Grapefruits
  • Prunes
  • Tomatoes
  • Beans, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Kale, Winter Squash
  • Dry beans
  • Bran Cereals
  • Granola
  • Potatoes

Phosphorus

Another mineral that has to be avoided is phosphorus. When you have renal diseases, this mineral accumulates in the blood and drains your bones from calcium that will end up accumulating in your skin or vessels. That’s when people start easily breaking their bones. So, as far as its consumption, here are the guidelines:

  • Limit your dairy intake to 1 cup of milk or 1 ounce of cheese per day.
  • Some vegetables contain this mineral. You need to consume them once a week. These include: dried beans, broccoli, mushrooms, and Brussels sprouts.
  • Eat once a week granola or oatmeal.
  • Stay away from whole wheat bread and go for white bread instead.
  • Stay away from beer as it contains Phosphorus.

What should you eat?

renal diet
  • Cabbage – It contains phytochemicals that can break up free radicals before they can even harm the body. Phytochemicals are shields against cancer and good for the heart. It contains vitamin C and K.
  • Bell peppers – The red bell pepper is perfect for patients with renal disease as it contains low potassium and a great source of essential vitamins such as vitamin A, B6, and C.
  • Onions – They are low in potassium and high in chromium.
  • Coriander – it is has fibre, calcium, iron, manganese, and selenium, which are not only good for the kidneys but for the whole body too.
  • Egg white – It is a perfect addition to chronic renal failure diet. It contains all essential amino acids, which makes it the highest form of protein. The protein it provides contains less phosphorus, in fact, lesser than meat and egg yolk.
  • Fish – It contains high quality protein and healthy fats. Choose high quality fish such as tuna, salmon, and mackerel.

What can you do to help your kidneys function better?

How do you keep your kidneys healthy? Is there a way to prevent kidney-related diseases?

Below are the recommended ways to keep your kidneys healthy and free from diseases:

  • Keep your body hydrated – For your kidneys to function properly, you should keep it hydrated. Drink plenty of water and natural fruit juices.
  • Eat healthy foods – Make sure you eat a well-balanced meal to ensure your body is getting all the nutrients it needs. Increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables and limit your intake of fatty and salty foods.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle – Living a healthy lifestyle is the key to good health. As much as possible, you should limit your intake of alcoholic beverages. Do not smoke. Excessive alcohol drinking and smoking cause high blood pressure, which will eventually lead to kidney disease.
  • Maintain a healthy weight – Obese people have high blood pressure, which have a negative effect to kidneys. Hence, it is a must to maintain a healthy weight. Lead an active lifestyle and avoid overeating.

Sample Diet Plan

EARLY MORNINGWarm water
BREAKFAST• 2 pieces scrambled eggs, with ½ cup mix of mushrooms, garlic, bell peppers, and onions

• 1/2 cup cubed pineapple-grapes
MID-MORNINGFruits
LUNCH 1 cup white rice, cooked
 2 oz roasted chicken breast (no skin)

 1 bowl green salad (medium bowl)

 1 tbsp Raspberry Vinaigrette

 1 slice pineapple
EVENING SNACKS 1/2 cup natural yogurt

• 1/4 cup almond slivers

•  1 piece ripe peach, cubed
DINNER 1 ½ cup pasta, cooked

 ½ cup Vegetable Bolognese, with zucchini, tofu, ground turkey (20g each)

 1 bowl green salad (small bowl) w/ lemon, olive oil dressing

 ¼ cup diced apples/melon
*Drink infused water after every meal, instead of any commercial soda or sweetened beverages. Infuse water with recommended fruit, vegetable or herbs i.e. lemon, cucumber, ginger, and celery.

Planning meals can be a task, but with the right guidance, you’ll eventually get the hang of it, turn it into a second nature.

As long as you listen to your healthcare providers, choose the right foods, and adjust your lifestyle to be kidney-friendly, you’ll eventually achieve your goal of delaying dialysis indefinitely. 

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