When you suffer from kidney disease, there are a number of dietary tips and tricks to keep in mind. There are some foods that can help support kidney health while other foods like those high in sodium can be detrimental.
Supporting kidney health with a healthy and nutrient-dense diet is one of the best things you can do for your health. And, not only that but once you start adding healthy kidney-supporting foods to your diet you may find yourself feeling better and more energized each day.
Let’s take a look at four diet tips to support kidney health.
#1 Enjoy Cucumbers: Cucumbers make a great addition to a kidney-supporting diet as they are primarily made of water, so they can help keep you hydrated. Cucumbers can also be quite cleansing to the body and refreshing. Cucumbers are also considered a low potassium vegetable which is an important part of tweaking your diet when you have kidney disease. Since the kidneys are responsible for keeping just the right amount of potassium in the body, when you have kidney dysfunction, your care team may tell you to limit your potassium-rich food intake to avoid high levels of potassium in your blood. (1)
Since cucumbers are considered a low potassium vegetable, try adding some slices of cucumber to your water for a refreshing beverage, or add them to a salad for some added crunch.
#2 Cut Soda out of Your Diet: Soda isn’t healthy for anyone, but for those with kidney disease, it can be especially harmful. A study done in 2007 found that the phosphoric acid content in soda can cause issues in those with kidney disease (2) It is best to stay away from all soda and choose filtered water instead. If you need something a little sweet, try making some fruit infused water with some fresh berries or cucumbers.
#3 Watch Your Oxalate Intake: Oxalates are naturally found in foods like spinach, beets, rhubarb, almonds, and nut butter. While these are generally considered health foods, they can cause issues for those with kidney disease since oxalates bind to calcium during digestion and then leave the body through the stool. However, the oxalates that were not bound to calcium will then travel to the kidneys to be eliminated through urination. This can lead to kidney stones which can be a huge issue for those with kidney disease as the stones can lead to a further decrease in kidney function. (3)
#4 Skip the Deli Meat: There’s more than one reason to skip the deli meat. For one, it is loaded with sodium, and secondly, deli meat tends to be very high in phosphorus which can be a big issue when suffering from kidney disease. When dealing with chronic kidney disease, phosphorus can build up in the body which can lead to a number of issues such as weak bones, as well as joint paint. (4)
While there may be several dietary considerations to keep in mind when dealing with kidney disease, the good news is that there are a number of things you can do with your diet to help support the health of your kidneys. In addition to the above tips, be sure to steer clear of as many processed and packaged foods as you can, and to work with a renal dietitian on your care team if possible to come up with the best possible diet for you.
Rebecca Jacobs N.C is a Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant, specializing in digestive and women’s health. She doesn’t believe in dieting but rather making lifestyle changes, and believes that healthy eating must be delicious. Rebecca is also a recipe developer and creates healthier alternatives to traditionally unhealthy foods.