Tag Archives: Kidneys

Kidney disease diet and the dangers of sodium

Understanding how the kidneys function will assist in understanding chronic kidney disease and how to maintain a healthy kidney disease diet. Kidneys remove waste and toxins from the blood and excrete them in the urine. Whole body wellness is dependent upon kidneys that work effectively, and when they do not, the negative physical effects can be widespread.

In order for the kidneys to filter toxic wastes from the blood, the flow of blood going to the kidneys must be adequate to flush the system. If the main arteries that go to the kidneys are damaged, the blood flow will not be appropriate to keep the kidneys or other vital organs in a state of good health.

High salt intake overburdens the kidneys and causes the body to retain too much fluid, resulting in edema or swelling in the extremities and trunk of the body. It is important to learn how much sodium is required for the body and a health kidney disease diet; and just how much the ailing kidneys are able to excrete into the urine.

Salt is a compound of two naturally occurring substances, sodium and chloride and is essential to maintaining the fluid balance in the body…except when the kidneys are not functioning properly. Salt will leach calcium from the body when the kidneys are not able to excrete excess sodium from the body, which can result in brittle bones and osteoporosis.

Western diets are well known to contain too much salt. The evidence is seen in the epidemic proportions of individuals suffering from kidney disease and cardiovascular disease. Even when an individual does not add extra salt to food at the dinner table, many of the processed foods loved by Westerners contains copious amounts of salt. Examples of these foods are processed meats, canned foods and the much loved fast foods.

Unfortunately, even the so-called salt substitutes are not suited for those who are coping with renal failure due to the fact that there are large amounts of potassium in the formulations. Another big no no in a kidney disease diet.

In order to give food flavour, while avoiding salt it is recommended to try different herbs and spices added to cooking or in sauces. Read on to discover some of the herbs and spices that will add flavor and not salt to the diet.

  • Beef, vegetables and fruit are enhanced by the spice identified as Allspice. This natural flavor enhancer is derived from the berries of a tropical evergreen tree.
  • Basil has been used for centuries as a flavor enhancer for vegetables.
  • Beef, pork and many vegetables taste great with the use of Bay Leaf, a small evergreen tree of the laurel family with stiff dark green aromatic leaves. Native to the Mediterranean, many Middle Eastern dishes feature Bay in the recipe.
  • The nutty flavor of Caraway adds a delightful taste to green vegetables and many meats. Caraway oil is great on salads and as a base for marinade.
  • Other flavor enhancers that do not include sodium  are: cardamom, curry, dill, ginger, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, sage, tarragon and sage.

By using flavor enhancers rather than salt to flavour food, the risk of fluid retention, which threatens to cause further damage to the body, is greatly reduced. Consult your healthcare provider before any dietary changes are made, when on a kidney treatment program. Even individuals that have healthy kidneys will benefit from reducing the salt intake in their diet. Whole body wellness depends on creating a balance in the body and reducing salt is one way to retain this balance and reduce strain on the kidneys. You’ll be amazed how well this small component of a kidney disease diet really helps.

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Potassium And The Kidney Disease Diet

The kidney disease diet is often confusing to individuals who have never had to be conscious of the amounts of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients they consume in their daily diet. Potassium is one of the minerals that individuals with a kidney disorder must be very conscious of. Too little creates deficiencies in the body and too much causes further damage to the kidneys. The amounts of potassium required will vary due to an individual’s level of kidney function. Dieticians are able to help sort through the confusion, especially for those individuals who are on dialysis or taking medications for kidney problems or disease.

Whole body wellness depends on the proper balance of vitamins, nutrients, minerals and exercise. When the body is busy fighting infection or disease it is especially important to understand the needs that the immune system has in order to function at its best. Whole body wellness is the ideal state for the body and is obtained by a kidney disease diet rich in all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals that the human body requires. In order to be at optimal health, even when recovering from a disorder or fighting infection the diet must supply what the body needs to function smoothly.

Most people know that potassium is one of the essential minerals needed by the body to ensure the proper function of cells, tissues and vital organs. Obtaining the levels of potassium that the healthy body requires is not difficult if the diet includes vegetables and fruit on a daily basis. Individuals with kidney disorders or disease must be careful to get just the right balance in order not to overwork the already ailing kidneys.

The condition known as hyperkalemia is when there is too much potassium in the blood. This is commonly seen in kidney disease, as the kidneys can no longer effectively remove excess potassium from the body. Knowing the facts about potassium is essential to repair the kidneys or slow the progression of kidney disease. High sources of potassium include potatoes, bananas, tomatoes, chocolate, pumpkin, nuts and seeds. For individuals who must strictly control their intake of potassium these foods must certainly be limited. Meal planning is best done with qualified healthcare providers who can educate each person on their unique needs to repair damage or slow the progression of kidney damage using a kidney disease diet.

Always seek the advice of your healthcare provider, be it conventional medical practitioners or holistic practitioners before you change your diet drastically or plan to add supplements to your diet. This holds particularly true for those who are afflicted with kidney disease.

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Protein Requirements In A Kidney Disease Diet

A well balanced kidney disease diet is critical when one want to take the pressure off the kidneys, and protein is definitely a key component. The human body requires nine essential amino acids to stay healthy; especially for a kidney disease diet. A food is a complete protein only when it contains all of the amino acids in the group of nine essential amino acids. In this case the term essential, refers to the fact that the body is not able to synthesize the protein, so it must therefore be consumed in the diet.

Protein foods from animals are eggs, meats, fish and other seafood, poultry, cheese, and milk. Certain soy products contain the nine amino acids as well. High biological value proteins are the complete protein foods, while plant proteins are low biological value proteins as they are not considered complete proteins. Even though plant proteins are not complete proteins, they should still be included in the diet. These foods include grain, legumes, seeds, tofu, tempeh and nuts, and if combined correctly they can supply us with complete protein.

Eating foods that contain protein is essential for many aspects of human functioning. Proteins repair damaged tissue, help with chemical signaling of messages between cells, create antibodies and enzymes and assist in balancing the acid base in our bodies along with the fluid levels and electrolytes.

Protein makes up nearly fifty percent of the human body. If our bodies do not get enough protein injuries will not heal, bleeding will not stop and the body will not be able to fight infections. Whole body wellness requires we consume 40 to 65 grams of protein each day. However this can vary greatly and depends upon a person’s body size and their level of activity.

Protein has proven to be a tricky question in the treatment of kidney disease and levels must always be assessed as part of a kidney disease diet. Even though protein is necessary in the diet, too much harms the kidneys and leads to serious complications. Patients suffering kidney disease are often required to limit their intake of proteins, and this may be an issue that you need to discuss with your doctor. Individuals that are trying to bring their bodies to a state of whole body wellness need to be mindful of how much and what types of protein they are ingesting in order to keep all of their vital organs in good health, including their kidneys.

Protein in the diet is utilized by the body and the remaining waste products are eliminated via the kidneys by filtering the waste into the urine. Healthy kidneys are able to process very large amounts of protein, but kidneys that are ailing have a difficult time processing the same amount of protein.

When unhealthy kidneys are unable to process all of the protein that is consumed, the waste products will build up in the blood. As the kidneys continue to decline, the buildup creates a situation that is known as proteinuria. The kidneys are one of the essential organs responsible for purging the body of waste and over time, when the kidneys don’t function properly an individual can end up with toxic buildup of wastes.

Foods such as milk and meat are high in saturated fat and cholesterol. There are more heart and kidney friendly protein choices that include fish, lean skinless poultry, tofu, organic eggs and soy products. The amount of protein that you should consume if you have kidney damage will differ to that which was required when your kidneys were functioning effectively. If you are undergoing dialysis then your daily requirements will differ again. Body size and level of physical activity will determine how much protein an individual should consume to enable the body to support the kidneys and whole body wellness. The best option would be to speak to your doctor or health professional to assess the exact amount of protein that is appropriate for you, and have them devise the best possible kidney disease diet.

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