Kidney Diease Series – 7- Dietary tips

Now for those people who just want more… I thought I would throw in some random-yet-helpful facts.

Here we go…

Water allowance: If your doctor has not given you a water allowance and you are unclear of how much you should be consuming, there is a simple method to make an assessment. It is a little bit fiddly, but once performed it can give you peace of mind that your approach is appropriate. 

Take an old ice-cream container to collect your urine over a 24 hour period- (obviously emptied, cleaned and stored out of harm’s way while using!) Measure the volume of your urine and add 600mls to the figure to work out the volume of liquid that you should be consuming daily (include foods that melt in that total e.g. ice-cream. Not that you should be eating that).

Protein: Vegetarian sources of protein are the best choices for kidney patients, followed by fish and chicken. Vegetarian sources include tofu and tempeh. Soy foods in particular can help to slow down progression of kidney damage. Red meats are the worst, and are not only hard to digest but they are high in saturated fat, which is well known to contribute to heart disease.

Some practical tips: It is one thing to understand the exact process for the perfect diet for kidney health, but it entirely another to implement this into your lifestyle. Unless you don’t have to work, or you are lucky enough to have your own personal cook, chances are that life can get in the way and compromise your best dietary intentions. So it must be mentioned that organisation is one of the most important steps in regard to diet.

Eating on the run can be your biggest let down in regard to kidney health. There are virtually no processed foods that would be good for your kidneys, and we have previously discussed how important it is to rid your home of temptation. But it doesn’t mean that your social life has to be restricted.

Eating out can be one of life’s pleasures and that does not need to stop altogether just because you are unwell. The following website contains some tips on making the best decisions when you can’t totally control your menu.

This guide does contain some foods that we would not consider ideal for kidney health, however there are some good tips on making the best choices, and if you consider that it is for special occasions, it does contain some good advice.

One question that is often asked by kidney patients is ‘can I consume alcohol?’ Simply put, the answer to this question is ‘no.’ Many people are told, or believe that alcohol such as red wine can be beneficial for health. 

While small amounts of red wine, with its high antioxidant level can sometimes be helpful in cardiovascular disease, in the case of kidney damage the dangers outweigh the benefits. It is true that cardiovascular disease is often present with kidney damage, but you need to appreciate that alcohol of all descriptions places a huge burden on the kidneys.

Alcohol is a toxin to the body, and any form of toxin will burden the kidneys, because as we well know it is their job to filter anything unwanted from the blood.  As well as placing extra pressure on the filtering capacity of the kidneys, alcohol can encourage blood acidity, which is damaging to the kidneys. 

Alcohol also depletes the body of many essential nutrients, many of which the kidneys require to function optimally. So you can see that when you have so many natural remedies for cardiovascular health there is no need to use anything they may harm the kidneys.

In fact alcohol can make such a huge impact on kidney function that it has been shown that kidney patients who consume alcohol regularly can show an improvement in kidney function simply by cutting out alcohol and making no other changes. So imagine how much more improvement can be shown once natural remedies are incorporated!

Remember that although dietary requirements can seem complicated in regard to kidney health, the best approach to health is always about balance. Please take into account that you are an individual and if your doctor or specialist has given you guidelines in regard to specific foods, these are what you should follow. Kidney disease can express in different ways, so each individuals requirements can differ slightly. Try not to be so regimented so that you limit yourself to a short list of foods, and instead aim to add variety your diet. 

The rules may sound strict but there are many foods that you can have, it just requires some experimentation and forward planning. Perhaps you can become excited about new foods and recipes and with a wide array of herbs and spices on hand your food should never be boring, and should in fact taste better than ever!

And of course if you want to just follow step-by-step a diet developed specifically for kidney disease, taking out all of the guess work and showing you exactly what to do, then you can grab your copy of The Kidney Disease Solution 

Yours In Health,
Duncan Capicchiano, N.D. 

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