Nutrition is the foundation of our overall health and wellness, so it’s not surprising that our kidneys are also affected by what we eat. Your diet and lifestyle choices have a significant impact on the development of kidney disease and its progression, so having the knowledge of what to eat and what to avoid is key to living a healthier life. When it comes to chronic kidney disease, prevention is the best medicine, so we’re taking the time to explain the top foods to avoid when you have CKD.
Food High in Sodium
When it comes to high blood pressure, excess sodium intake really takes its toll on the heart and the kidneys. Consuming too many salty foods makes it difficult for your kidneys to filter and remove fluid, which in turn builds up within the body and increases blood pressure. While many equate sodium to added salt, there are high levels of sodium in a variety of foods, including canned foods, pizza, chips, ketchup, sauces, salad dressings, noodle soups, processed cheese, and cold cuts. To help eliminate some of the guesswork involved, it’s important to keep in mind that the National Institute of Health recommends limiting daily sodium intake to 1500 milligrams if you already have or are at risk of developing kidney disease. When shopping at the grocery store, read the labels. Anything with more than 300 milligrams of sodium is considered a high-sodium food and should be limited or avoided altogether.
When discussing appropriate diets for those with CKD, it’s important to acknowledge the overlap with other medical conditions. Many of those with kidney disease are experiencing diabetes, hypertension, or both. When you have both kidney disease and diabetes, watching your sugar intake is essential. There is ample evidence to reinforce the importance of maintaining good blood sugar levels. Research has shown that keeping these levels balanced decreases the chance of developing diabetic kidney disease and reduces the risk of death for patients who already have advanced stages of CKD.
Sodas (Yes, even diet sodas)
Regular sodas are one of the main sources of added sugar, but even sugar-free diet sodas can be damaging to the kidneys. Common elements in diet soda, including artificial sweeteners, caffeine, caramel color, and phosphoric acid, each have factors that can spell trouble for the kidneys.
Choosing your protein wisely is a challenging but important part of managing your CKD. In addition to finding the right amount of protein (not too much or not too little) is also essential to choose the right protein source. Plant-based protein sources are generally a safer option, especially since red meat contains uric acid, which has been linked to worsening CKD. Consult a dietician or one of the providers at Durham Nephrology to help you determine the correct amount of protein to help keep you on track for a healthy diet that benefits your kidneys.
Make an Appointment
At Durham Nephrology, our team is experienced in providing treatment and guidance to kidney patients, including looking out for your heart health and overall wellness. If you have questions about diet or nutrition while dealing with kidney disease or high blood pressure, call us at 919-477-3005 to talk to a staff member and make an appointment.