Around 10 % of the world’s population suffers from kidney disease. A small bean-shaped organ, the kidney performs several vital functions of the body, including filtering waste materials, producing hormones that control blood pressure, ensuring the fluid balance of the body and so on.
The main causes of kidney disease are diabetes and high blood pressure. Obesity, smoking, genetic reasons, age and so on are also factors that affect the health of kidneys. High levels of blood sugar and blood pressure damage the blood vessels in kidneys. When kidneys do not function properly, waste materials from food and other sources accumulate in the blood. This requires people suffering from kidney disease to follow a special diet.
The diet can be varied according to the severity of the disease. Patients who have reached the advanced stage need to follow ‘kidney-friendly diet’ which is meant to reduce the amount of waste materials mixing with blood. Also known as ‘renal diet’, it prevents further damage to the kidneys and improves their functioning.
People having a diseased kidney should avoid or reduce the intake of food items containing sodium, potassium, phosphorous and protein. Suitable modifications in the diet have to be carried out based on the advice of a doctor.
The following are some excellent food options for kidney patients:
» Cauliflower: A nutrient-rich vegetable, cauliflower has plenty of Vitamins C, K and folates like Vitamin B. Anti-inflammatory compounds like indole and fibre are also present.
» Red grapes: It has plenty of Vitamin C and anti-oxidants like flavonoids which control inflammation and check diabetes. Red grapes have abundant quantities of resveratrol, which is good for a healthy heart.
» White of egg: Though egg yolk is nutrient-rich, it contains phosphorus and has to be avoided. But egg white is ideal for patients following renal diet. It contains proteins that do not damage kidneys. Egg white is also beneficial for patients undergoing dialysis.
» Garlic: As people suffering from kidney diseases have to cut intake of sodium and salt, they can choose garlic instead. It makes up for the lack of salt and turns dishes tasty. In addition, garlic is nutritive too. It is rich in manganese, vitamin C, B 6 and sulfur compounds.
» Olive oil: Kidney patients will find olive oil a good source of healthy fat. It contains a mono unsaturated fat named oleic acid which has anti-inflammatory qualities.
» Cabbage: A cruciferous vegetable, cabbage is rich in vitamins, minerals and vegetable compounds. It has plenty of Vitamin K, C and B which ensure a healthy digestive process. Cabbage also has good amounts of insoluble fibre. The amounts of potassium, phosphorous and sodium are minute in this vegetable.
» Capsicum: While the amount of potassium is very less in capsicum, it is rich in other nutrients. Vitamin C is present in good quantity. Vitamin A, which strengthens the defensive mechanism of the body, is also abundant in capsicum.
» Onion: A very good item for renal diet, onion contains no sodium. Onion makes the digestive process efficient as it is rich in Vitamin C, manganese, Vitamins B and prebiotic fibre.
» Radish: Having minute amounts of potassium and phosphorous, radish is rich in Vitamin C. It reduces the risk of heart disease and cataract.
» Pineapple: Fruits like orange, banana and kiwi have high amounts of potassium, but pineapple has very less quantity, making it ideal for kidney patients. Pineapple is rich in fibre, B vitamins, manganese and bromelain, an enzyme the controls inflammation.
While deciding on a renal diet, medical advice has to be sought. A doctor can suggest the best food items according to the severity of the disease.