The kidneys are responsible for flushing waste from the body and controlling blood pressure. A variety of metabolic processes begin when the kidneys don’t function properly, and eventually, over time, the kidneys may begin to fail. Maintaining your kidney function, also referred to as renal function, is part of retaining your good health. If you now you have Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), or have been told you have sub-par blood tests indicating possible renal dysfunction, you can help your kidneys function more efficiently by reworking your diet and avoiding specific foods.
Reduce or eliminate animal protein in your diet, recommends American Association of Kidney Patients. Replace poultry, red meats and fish with vegetarian sources of protein like soy and legumes combined with whole grains to form complete proteins. Animal protein is high in purines which produce uric acid that can deposit in the kidneys in the form of urate stones.
Fruits, Vegetables and Legumes
If your kidney function drops to less than 20%, according to the Association of Kidney Patients, you must reduce potassium intake. The best way to lower potassium is to reduce your intake of fruits and vegetables, which are the highest sources of potassium — including legumes — also high in potassium. Reduce vegetable and fruit choices to no more than a total of five servings per day.
Chocolate, Dairy and Nuts
Kidney function is intricately involved with the body’s electrolyte balance. If the kidneys are not working to their highest potential, foods containing electrolytes must be reduced. Too much phosphorus intake blocks the absorption of calcium, so reduce your intake of the following high-phosphorus foods: cocoa, nuts, chocolate and dairy products, recommends the American Association of Kidney Patients. This means reducing your intake of these foods to a maximum portion of once per day, especially for cottage cheese, yogurt, milk, hard cheeses, soy cheese and soy yogurt, which are very high in phosphorus. Additionally, the Journal of Epidemiology reports that carbonated beverages high in phosphoric acid, have been linked to kidney disease, and should be eliminated from the diet.
Canned, Junk, Processed, Frozen and Fast Foods
One of the causes of kidney disease and also one of its side effects is hypertension. The kidneys’ role in the management and balance of blood pressure is intricately involved with the body’s sodium balance. Too much sodium along with an imbalance of other minerals may be the cause of chronic renal failure, according to the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center College of Medicine. Eliminate or greatly lower your intake of all foods that are high in sodium, including but not limited to all canned foods unless they are labeled low sodium, convenience foods, chips, fast foods, boullion, canned and dried soups, vegetable broths, soy based cheese, frozen meals, hot dogs, processed cheese slices, processed meats, pickled foods, tamari, ketchup, salt, soy sauce, marinades and anything that has the words “sodium added” on the label.
High Oxalate Foods
To avoid developing calcium based and other types of kidney stones, especially if you already have renal dysfunction or CKD, limit foods high in oxalic acid, recommends the National Kidney Foundation. These foods include all instant coffee, tea, beets, berries, peanuts, beans, chocolate, Concord grapes, tofu, dark leafy green vegetables, oranges, sweet potatoes and draft beer.
National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse
Chronic Kidney Disease: A Family Affair
American Association of Kidney Patients: Eating Vegetarian
National Kidney Foundation
Medline Plus: National Library of Medicine: NIH
Journal of Epidemiology: Carbonated beverages and chronic kidney disease
Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center College of Medicine
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