About 37 million Americans have chronic kidney disease (CKD), a condition that happens when the kidneys are no longer able to work the way they’re supposed to. CKD happens for different reasons, and it can develop subtly. In fact, as many as 90% of people with CKD don’t know they have it.
Whether you’ve been diagnosed with CKD or not, it’s important to do all you can to help your kidneys stay as healthy as possible. Part of that means choosing the right foods to support your kidneys while avoiding foods that increase your risk for kidney problems.
With four locations in Houston and Cypress, Texas, Houston Kidney Specialists Center focuses on helping every patient get the care and treatment they need to maintain optimal kidney health and function. In this post, our team offers some tips on what you can do to make sure your diet is “kidney-friendly.”
Limit your sodium intake
When most people think of sodium, they think of table salt. But, sodium is in lots of other products, too. While a tiny amount of sodium is important for good health, too much sodium causes your tissues to retain fluids, which means your kidneys have to work harder to filter it and eliminate it. Cooking from scratch and opting for fresh foods can help you keep your sodium intake under control.
Avoid processed foods
Processed foods often contain high amounts of sodium, along with unhealthy fats, sugars, and preservatives. All of these substances can be bad for kidney health and bad for your overall health, too. Again, cooking from scratch and choosing fresh foods can provide your body with the nutrients it needs without the potential problems.
Keep an eye on protein
Protein is essential for building and maintaining muscle tissue, but too much animal-based protein can be bad for your kidney health. That’s because meats and other animal proteins can leave a lot of wastes in your blood — wastes that need to be filtered by your kidneys. It’s not wise to eliminate protein from your diet, but try to focus on lean meats, fish, and poultry, and leave red meat, deli meat, and processed meats — such as bacon — alone.
Incorporate plant-based proteins
Instead of animal-based proteins, consider plant proteins, such as beans, whole grains, nuts, and soy-based products. These foods can give your body plenty of protein to build muscle without the kidney damage associated with many meat products. As with any foods, read the labels and be sure the foods you choose aren’t chock full of sodium or saturated fats.
Limit foods high in phosphorus
In your body, phosphorus supports healthy bones and teeth, and it helps your body produce the protein that’s needed for cell and tissue repair. But, if you have too much phosphorus, it can damage your kidneys, especially if you already have kidney disease. If you have CKD, or if you’re at risk for CKD, focus on foods that are naturally low in phosphorus, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Drinking plenty of water helps your kidneys filter out wastes and toxins from your body. If you’re not a fan of water, try flavored, sugar-free seltzer water, low-sugar fruit juices, or unsweetened green tea. However, keep alcohol consumption to a minimum or avoid it altogether.
Take steps toward better kidney health
Your kidneys work hard filtering wastes and excess fluids from your blood while also regulating blood pressure and performing other critical functions. Watching your diet is a simple but very effective way of helping your kidneys stay as healthy as possible, whether or not you’ve been diagnosed with CKD.
To learn how we can help you manage your kidney health, call 281-429-8780 or request an appointment online with Houston Kidney Specialists Center today.