What Should I Eat if I have Kidney Disease?
What you eat and drink affects your health and how your body functions. This is especially true if you have been diagnosed with kidney disease. Your diet should consist of foods that will help you keep your sugar and blood pressure in a healthy range. Keeping your diabetes in check through good diet choices will also help prevent your kidney disease from advancing.
Diet Options with Kidney Disease
Low-phosphorus diet: Phosphorus is found in the majority of dairy and meat products. It’s the mineral that keeps your bones and teeth strong. One of the effects of kidney disease is the kidneys’ inability to remove extra phosphorus from your body. The buildup of extra phosphorus then reacts inversely, harming your bones rather than helping them. Therefore, your kidney doctor or dietician will likely recommend a low-phosphorus diet if you have kidney disease. Foods to avoid on a low-phosphorus diet:
- Seeds (pumpkin & squash)
- Low-fat dairy
Low-potassium diet: The potassium level in your body is largely regulated by the kidneys. When your kidneys aren’t functioning properly, you have to be more aware of how much potassium is in your diet. The body needs just the right amount to keep your muscles healthy and working properly. Your potassium level can be checked through a simple blood test, and if your levels come back too high, you’ll want to avoid these potassium rich foods:
- Dried fruits (raisins, apricots and prunes)
- Salt substitutes
Low-protein diet: Protein, a necessity to build muscle and tissue, becomes harder for your body to breakdown when your kidneys aren’t working at 100 percent. The buildup of protein byproducts can make your kidneys work harder, potentially progressing your kidney failure more quickly than if you were on a low-protein diet. Large amounts of protein are found in foods like:
- Dairy products
- Nuts and some grains
Kidney Disease causes Loss of Appetite
Even if you follow a carefully regulated diet after being diagnosed with kidney disease, another side effect is losing your appetite altogether. It’s common for kidney disease patients to say foods taste differently, or they simply don’t want to eat. While your desire to eat may not be strong, your body still needs nutrients. There are a few creative ways to make sure you’re maintaining your health even if you’re not feeling the next meal:
- Create easy meals you can freeze and pull out to microwave. This will help you be able to eat a healthy meal when you’re hungry, as opposed to having to wait to cook and possibly not even wanting to eat once it’s ready.
- Ask your kidney doctor or dietician about liquid meal substitutes. Depending on how well your protein, phosphorus, and potassium are regulated, you may be able to substitute a nutritional drink for one meal a day.
- Eat small meals throughout the day. Don’t overwhelm your mind or your body by trying to consume a large meal. Eat until you’re satisfied and then have a snack on hand in between meals.
- Recognize the signs. If you’re appetite doesn’t change for an extended period of time, visit your kidney doctor. Make sure your diagnosis hasn’t changed. It will be especially helpful if you can keep a food journal for your doctor so he can observe when, and how much, you’re eating.
Pee Dee Nephrology
If you have questions about your diet, call our office and set up a consultation. In addition, we have wonderful resources and links to resources right here on our website. Take a moment to review today.