Tag Archives: Vital Organs

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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Alkaline And Acidic Foods In The Kidney Disease Diet

The kidneys help to regulate the amount of acidity and alkalinity in our body. The body operates best when slightly alkaline, in the range of 7.35-7.45 pH. This delicate balance is maintained by the kidneys, and remains correct when there are no disorders or disease to interfere with the filtration system of the kidneys. Research has shown that reducing the acid intake in a kidney disease diet will assist in healing the kidneys and will also help with the prevention of many other health disorders.

Foods that are highly acidic, such as hard cheese, cereal grain, and meat, among many other examples, overload the kidneys and cause the body to become imbalanced, with too much acid in the blood stream. By reducing intake of highly acidic foods, one can avoid an overload of acid that must be filtered by the kidneys.  Green vegetables and fruits will help the body to naturally return to the delicate balance of acid in the body.

What is The Alkaline Kidney Disease Diet?

The alkaline kidney disease diet is a diet that emphasizes fresh fruit and vegetables. It’s based on the diet our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate. The modern diet is filled with meat, dairy products, soft drinks, alcohol and other highly acidic foods and drinks. These departures from the diet that are bodies are designed to consume can cause serious injuries to our vital organs that have the job of maintaining a delicate balance in the body. Other factors that contribute to high acidity in the body are stress, lack of exercise and too many foods laden with sugar, saturated fats, yeast, and processed foods.

The “back-to-nature” aspect of the dietary movement to return the body to a state of wellness depends on the right amount of acid in the body. Too much acid can cause many physical problems, including a drop in energy, digestive disturbances and immune problems as well as burden to the filtration system of the kidneys.

A diet that is laden with sugars will cause acidity levels in the body to rise to dangerous levels when the kidneys are not functioning properly. The acid-alkaline kidney disease diet helps prevent the kidneys from becoming over stressed. This is especially important for those who are afflicted with chronic kidney disease. The presence of too much acid in the diet causes a vicious cycle to begin where toxins are created, the pH levels are lowered and bacterial and yeast growth causes an imbalance of bacteria within the digestive system. This type of toxicity can have devastating effects on the body.

Here is a short list of some of the natural remedies that will help detoxify the system:

  • Buchu
  • Burdock
  • Dandelion
  • Cleavers
  • Couch Grass
  • Echinacea
  • Yarrow

These herbal supports to the filtration system of the body help return the body to a state of wellness that our ancient ancestors enjoyed. Leaving out salty, processed foods, alcohol and carbonated drinks does not hurt anyone and has proven to be beneficial even to those with healthy kidneys. Enjoy your kidney disease diet to the fullest!

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