Making healthy food and drink choices is important to us all, but it is even more important if you have chronic kidney disease (CKD). For CKD patients, eating a healthy diet consists of foods that are low salt, low fat and low cholesterol with plenty of fruits and vegetables. It helps you to control your blood pressure, and if you have diabetes, it also can help you control your blood sugar with healthy food and drink choices. Keeping your high blood pressure and diabetes under control can help prevent kidney disease from getting worse.
It’s important to know that with chronic kidney disease, the amount of protein and fluid a patient should consume depends on the patient’s health, stage of kidney disease, age and weight. Work with your nephrologist and/or a renal dietitian to put together the best plan for you. Your health insurance, such as Medicare and many private insurance coverages, may help pay for your dietitian appointments. Talk to your insurance company to see if your policy covers for medical nutrition therapy. Find a registered renal dietitian in your area.
Here are kidney-friendly diet recommendations from NephCure Kidney International:
- Low sodium (salt)—helps with swelling in the hands and legs
- Lots of fresh fruit and vegetables—fiber such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables canhelp lower total and LDL cholesterol
- Low fat (1% or skim) dairy products
- Lean cuts of meat, less red meat, more chicken and fish
- Sometimes fluids should be restricted, as determined by a nephrologist
- Sometimes protein levels should be increased or decreased, as determined by a nephrologist
- Rarely should potassium or phosphorous be restricted, only if kidneys are failing and as determined by a nephrologist
- Too much sodium can contribute to high blood pressure and edema.
- Most sodium in our diet comes from processed foods.
- We have learned to like salt and it takes time to unlearn the preference for salt.
- Most people consume too much sodium daily.
- We need protein for overall health, muscle maintenance and to fight infections.
- Research has not absolutely proved benefit of low protein diet to preserve kidney function.
- Goal is moderate protein intake, but consult with a nephrologist.
- Good sources of protein are lean meats, well-trimmed poultry, eggs (limit two whole eggs per week), fish, shellfish, beans and nuts.
How to limit fat and cholesterol
- Limit whole eggs to two per week; use egg substitutes or whites only.
- Use lean meats, well-trimmed poultry without skin, fish, shellfish, beans, nuts.
- Use healthy oils, such as olive, canola, coconut or sunflower.
- Limit saturated fats (dairy, animal fat) and eliminate trans fat (partially hydrogenated oils found in processed and fast food).
If you want more information and tips, here are some helpful links: