Your kidneys play an important role in your excretory system. The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs located just below the liver. They’re the size of a closed fist. Kidneys filter your blood and maintain a healthy mineral and water balance in your body. The filtered waste is then expelled from the body as urine. This maintains the fluid balance in your body.
An Insight into Kidney Failure
Kidney disease is characterized by improper functioning of the kidneys. If left untreated, this can lead to kidney failure. If you experience kidney failure, you will have to undergo dialysis. A number of factors could be responsible for kidney disease. It can be the result of a decrease in blood flow to the kidneys, because of diabetes and high blood pressure. It can also be caused by sepsis, an extremely severe infection of the kidneys. Some other causes of kidney disease are alcohol abuse, drug abuse, exposure to toxins, and physical injury to your kidneys.
Any disruption in the functioning of your kidneys can lead to a mineral imbalance in your body and other, more serious consequences. When this happens, it affects your body’s ability to maintain the right levels of minerals such as sodium, potassium, and phosphorus. It also hinders the production of hormones such as erythropoietin and renin in the body.
Renin, which is produced by the kidneys, helps regulate and manage your blood pressure. Erythropoietin, another hormone produced by your kidneys, stimulates the production of red blood cells in the body. When you suffer from kidney failure, your body’s ability to produce both these hormones takes a hit. This can lead to a dangerous buildup of toxins and waste, kidney stones, vomiting, ankle swelling, shortness of breath, and trouble sleeping.
If you suffer from kidney disease, keep a close watch on your diet. Some foods tend to put more pressure on your kidneys and overwork them. Avoid eating these foods to prevent more damage to your kidneys.
A diet for kidney disease should also prevent high blood pressure and diabetes. Both these conditions can aggravate symptoms of kidney disease:
What to avoid
Junk food is made to taste good, and stimulate your taste buds while providing very little nutrition. So it’ll often contain an excess of sugar, salt, or fat, which is difficult for the kidneys to process. This puts an immense load on your already overworked kidneys. This can lead to a dangerous buildup of toxins and waste in the body. If you’re eating a diet for kidney disease, avoid junk food.
Food that’s high in sodium is very bad for your kidney health. Reduce or completely eliminate salt from your diet if you suffer from kidney disease. If the sodium content in your bloodstream rises, it ruins the balance in your body, leading to high blood pressure. This can affect your kidneys’ ability to remove excess water. This causes fluid build-up in the body and places additional stress on your kidneys. So keep an eye on your salt intake if you’re on a diet for kidney disease.
An excessive amount of sugar can lead to diabetes, which is a threat to healthy kidney function. The strain on to the blood vessels because of diabetes can lead to urine stagnating in the kidneys. This disrupts kidney function and places excess pressure on the kidneys, leading to the kidney infections and even kidney failure in some cases.
Unskimmed milk or whole milk contains high levels of phosphorus, potassium, and calcium which are not good for a person with a kidney disease.
What to eat
Some foods can be helpful in maintaining nutrient levels in the body, without aggravating your kidneys or putting them under excess pressure. Following is the list of food items that you should eat if you’re on a diet for kidney disease:
Low Protein Foods
The protein contains nitrogen, which is converted into uric acid in the body. This is then excreted, through the kidneys. When you suffer from kidney disease, urea is not excreted properly, which can lead to toxic urea build-up in your body.
Include low-protein foods such as bread, mixed grains, raisins, corn, onions, mushroom, and carrots. Ensure you don’t eat too much protein. It can lead to severe complications when you’re suffering from kidney disease.
Food with low carbohydrate content
For a patient with a kidney disease, it is important to keep blood sugar levels under control to check diabetes. The diet should contain fewer simple carbohydrates to avoid high blood sugar. Simple carbohydrates raise your blood sugar quickly and should be avoided.
Food that is low in carbohydrates includes nuts, seeds, non-starchy vegetables like bell peppers, spinach, and cauliflower.
Eggs are a natural source of protein. While you ensure that you don’t eat too much, they can be incorporated in small amounts into your diet. Try to only eat the egg whites, though. Include eggs in your breakfast to help kickstart your day.
Cottage cheese has little to no carbohydrates. It’s ideal for your diet if you are suffering from diabetes and kidney disease.
Apart from including all the above-mentioned food items, you should also focus on limiting your intake of sodium, phosphorus, and potassium, since all three can add unnecessary pressure on your kidneys.