Tag Archives: Renal Failure

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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Fluid Requirements For A Kidney Disease Diet

Kidneys that function in a healthy manner are able to maintain the balance of fluid in the body. Unhealthy kidneys however, cannot handle the volume of fluid most individuals will consume in the course of twenty-four hours. It is well noted by the medical community that excessive dietary levels of fluid in the body leads to high blood pressure, which contributes to heart disease as well as kidney disease.

When the fluid content of the body can no longer remain balanced, the excess fluid causes swelling in the body. This swelling is often first seen in the lower extremities may spread upwards over time, or otherwise swelling may be generalised. If left untreated, this fluid will cause the life threatening condition known as pulmonary oedema. As kidney disease advances, the renal system becomes unstable and not able to flush fluids out as urine. This is when restricting fluid intake becomes vital for the kidney patient.

It is difficult to restrict fluid intake because many foods that we eat and certainly everything we drink adds to the fluid levels in the body. Hydration is necessary to maintain a level balance in the healthy body, but this same course of hydration can be extremely dangerous to a patient suffering renal failure or other kidney disorders.

The more able the kidneys are to flush out fluids, the more fluid intake an individual with kidney problems can ingest. Most healthy individuals should ingest at least 1.5- 2 litres of water per day. Those with kidney stones should drink even more to help facilitate the body’s efforts to eliminate the stone or stones, as well as prevent new stone formation.

Whole body wellness depends on balancing diet, fluid intake and exercise in order for our organs to function effectively. Eating foods high in water content and drinking soft drink, alcohol or excessive amounts of water will upset this balance, and even more so in individuals afflicted with kidney disorders. Follow the advice of your healthcare practitioner in regard to your appropriate daily water intake, to avoid overburdening an already ailing kidney function. Remembering to avoid salty foods, prepared foods and foods high in saturated fats in order to help reduce the strain on the kidneys.

Kidney patients are often advised to drink (in water) the total urine output for 24 hours, plus another 600mls (just over half a quart). This will enable each patient to know just how much fluid and water consumption their body can handle the following day. For instance, if your total output of urine was 800mls for 24 hours, you would add another 600mls to get your total fluid intake of 1400mls (1 ½ Quarts) – this seems to be the best rule of thumb fluid measurement for all. Careful monitoring of the daily output of urine as the indicator of a safe level of fluid intake is a good rule of thumb to follow for the kidney patient; put back in what comes out. I hope those tips enable you to manage your kidney disease diet with ease!

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