Chronic kidney disease is a serious illness that occurs when the kidneys are no longer able to filter out toxins from the blood. As a result, it is important to maintain a healthy diet that not only supports general health but also makes it easier for the kidneys to do their work. The right diet can control blood pressure and prevent diabetes, and even keep chronic kidney disease (CKD) from getting worse. Kidney-friendly diets limit certain foods to prevent the minerals contained in them from building up. So, by following these guidelines, people with CKD can live a more comfortable life. Be sure to speak with a dietician who specializes in kidney health to create a diet plan specifically designed to address your specific needs.
Calories come from protein, carbs, and fat in food and drinks. They provide you with energy you need to function throughout the day. Human beings burn calories as energy, and thus, they should consume calories in accordance with what they typically burn, otherwise one will gain weight. Calories are necessary for good health, but the number of calories you need will depend on your age, gender, and activity level, among other factors, including your weight goals. Some people with CKD may need to eat more calories to ensure they have enough energy to go about their day, while others (particularly if you live a mostly sedentary lifestyle with little exercise) may need to eat fewer calories. A dietician can help you develop a meal plan that gives you the right amount of calories for your needs and that ensures the calories are coming from healthy and filling foods.
Protein helps you grow, heal, and stay healthy. Too little protein can weaken your skin, hair, and nails, but too much can also cause significant problems. The amount of protein needed in your diet will depend on your size, activity level, and other health concerns. Those with CKD may need to limit or change the source of their protein because too much can make the kidneys work harder than necessary. If you need to decrease the amount of protein in your diet, eat bread, fruit, vegetables, pasta, and rice, which are all lower in protein. If you need more protein, consider adding red meat, poultry, fish, and eggs.
Some fats can be healthy for you and should be included in your diet to provide energy and nutrients. Generally considered unsaturated fats, these can include olive, peanut, and corn oil, among other foods. Unsaturated fats can help reduce cholesterol and help you keep up a healthy weight if you find you are losing too much. Saturated fats, meanwhile, can raise your cholesterol levels and increase the possibility of heart disease. Try to limit the amount of butter, lard, shortening ,and meats in your diet if you need to manage these conditions. Trimming the fat and skin from meat can help. Trans fats should also be avoided, as they can contribute to heart disease and further kidney damage by increasing your cholesterol.
Carbs are an easy source of energy and can be found in most foods. Healthy carbs come from fruits and veggies, while unhealthy carbs typically come from sugar, honey, and other sweeteners. Depending on your stage of kidney disease, you may need to limit the potassium and phosphorus in your diet, both of which can be found in carbohydrates. Diabetes, often a symptom of CKD, can also require an adjustment to the amount and type of carbs you should eat.
Sodium, or salt, is found in almost all foods. Too much of it can increase your blood pressure and damage your kidneys. So, limiting your salt intake is essential. Do not add salt to your food; instead, season it with other salt-free spices and lemon juice. Rinse canned vegetables before cooking them, as they can contain sodium. And avoid processed meats, crackers, pickled foods, and certain sauces, such as ketchup and BBQ sauce. Carefully read the labels of your food, and do not eat too many foods with salt substitutes, as these can be high in damaging potassium.
Hospice Care for CKD Patients
Reach out to Harbor Light Hospice for more assistance when taking care of someone with CKD or to use their hospice care services to take care of a loved one with CKD. If kidney disease worsens, the only treatments are a transplant or dialysis. End-of-life care plans are recommended to ensure that your family is prepared for any situation. Harbor Light can help patients develop healthy diets as part of their care plans and will also work with nurses, doctors, therapists, and volunteers to help loved ones with advanced stages of chronic kidney disease feel as comfortable as possible.