Eating well is an important part of living well with kidney disease. And as your disease progresses, your dietary needs are likely to change. Here are a few of the factors your dietitian will consider when developing guidelines for you to follow:
- Protein. Protein is used to build muscle and fight infection, and is found in animal and plant sources. However, many studies suggest that limiting the amount of protein in your diet may slow the loss of kidney function.
- Salt. The mineral salt is essential for life, but it can raise blood pressure to a level that negatively impacts your disease.
- Potassium. This is a mineral found in many of the foods you eat. It plays a role in keeping your heartbeat regular and muscles working right. But certain foods can increase potassium in your blood to a dangerous level, increasing your risk for an irregular heartbeat or a heart attack.
- Phosphorus. This mineral — found naturally in meats, poultry, fish, nuts, beans and dairy products and also in many processed foods — is needed to build strong bones and keep other parts of your body healthy, but too much can be a bad thing. If your kidneys are unable to remove extra phosphorus from your blood, that can pull calcium out of your bones and make them weak.
- Fluids. Before starting dialysis, it’s important to stay hydrated. But, as your kidney function declines, fluids can build up quickly in your body and may lead to an increase in blood pressure and increased swelling in legs and feet.
To receive individualized nutrition information aimed at slowing down the progression of your disease, ask your kidney doctor for a nutrition consult.
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