What is the Best Nutrition for Kidney Disease?

When doctors, nutritionists, bloggers, and other experts talk about a healthy diet and nutrition, they err on the side of covering common issues. Obesity, for example, is always a hot topic for nutrition publications. This is often the case of the “squeaky wheel”. Basically, when a big issue demands attention, the ones that aren’t urgent get pushed aside. This isn’t because they are not as important, but it is often because it is not as overwhelming. It is not unlike the idiom of the squeaky wheel. So, when people who are suffering from cancer or anorexia pick up a publication,  they will not find the help they are looking for.

So, we will cover nutrition issues OTHER than obesity, to help people with a variety of problems. Because everyone is different, and there is no “one size fits all” thing for everybody outside of a general rule of thumb. So, take it with a grain of salt.


kidney disease, anatomy

Chronic Kidney Disease

Kidney issues, just like cancer, diabetes, and other common chronic diseases are one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Damaged kidneys are less able to filter the blood as well as healthy kidneys. This can lead to impurities and waste still being in your system, increasing the chance of toxins building up.

Chronic kidney disease or CKD develops in stages. The earlier stages are less detectable because there are no visible symptoms that people can tell right away. According to Medical News Today, “Around 30 million people in the U.S. may have CKD to some degree. Being over 60 years old increases the risk of CKD, as does having a family history of it.”

So, what are the stages of it so you can tell whether you have it or not?

Stages of Chronic Kidney Disease

There are 5 stages of Chronic Kidney Disease. They all range from mild to severe with the first stage being the least amount of damage. A quick rundown of each stage includes:

First: The first stage is when your kidneys are healthy and working well, but you have other signs of kidney damage. There could be physical damage to the kidney or protein in the urine.

Second: The second stage is when you are showing signs of kidney damage, in spite of normal readings.

Third:  The third is when your kidneys are not working as well as they should. There could be visible symptoms at this stage that range from swelling of the hands and feet, back pain, and frequent urination. There is also other health complications such as high blood pressure, anemia, bone disease.

Fourth: This is where your kidneys are moderate to severely damaged. Not only would you suffer from all the symptoms from above, but this is the stage right before kidney failure altogether. You would also have to visit a kidney doctor, as well as prepare for dialysis, and/or transplant.

Fifth: This is the last stage which means the kidney is either failing or has already failed.  The symptoms include:

  • Itching
  • Muscle cramps
  • Feeling sick and throwing up
  • Not feeling hungry
  • Swelling in your hands and feet
  • Back pain
  • Urinating (peeing) more or less than normal
  • Trouble breathing
  • Trouble sleeping

This is the stage of kidney disease that leads to death, if not severe health complications.

During every stage of kidney disease, doctors recommend for patients with the condition to see a dietician or a nutritionist. That means a special diet combined with treatment can at least curtail the chances of your kidney disease getting worse.  But what sort of diet do people suffering from kidney disease need?

renal diet

Nutrition for Kidney Disease

If your kidneys are not healthy, then they are not going to stand a chance with a lot of impurities and unhealthy foods that produce more waste. The kind of waste it can hardly handle is excess phosphorus, potassium, and sodium.  On a lesser note, it is also a good idea to decrease the amount of protein in your diet.

When you decrease those, what is left over is part of the renal diet. Foods on the renal diet are often high in fiber, lean proteins, and antioxidant-rich foods.

The vcuhealth.org states these tips below for those who are looking to follow the renal diet.

  1. Limit high phosphorus foods such as:
    • Meats, poultry, dairy and fish (you should have 1 serving of 7-8
    • Milk and other dairy products like cheese ( you should have
    one 4 oz. serving)
  2. Avoid dark grains, dark colas, dried fruit, beans, and whole grains

If you want to learn more about special diets, or are looking for a nutritionist click on the pop up at www.beksbites.com