Researchers are discovering more and more links between chronic diseases, inflammation and “super foods” that may prevent or protect against undesirable fatty acid oxidation, a condition that occurs when the oxygen in your body reacts with fats in your blood and your cells. Oxidation is a normal process for energy production and many chemical reactions in the body, but excessive oxidation of fats and cholesterol creates molecules known as free radicals that can damage your proteins, cell membranes and genes. Heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and other chronic and degenerative conditions have been linked to oxidative damage. Here are some foods to help you get on the right track!
- Red bell peppers
Red bell peppers are low in potassium and high in flavor, but that’s not the only reason they’re perfect for the kidney diet. These tasty vegetables are also an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin A, as well as vitamin B6, folic acid and fiber. Red bell peppers are good for you because they contain lycopene, an antioxidant that protects against certain cancers.
Eat red bell peppers raw with dip as a snack or appetizer, or mix them into tuna or chicken salad. You can also roast peppers and use them as a topping on sandwiches or lettuce salads, chop them for an omelet, add them to kabobs on the grill or stuff peppers with minced chicken or paneer and bake them for a main dish.
Cabbages come packed full of phytochemicals, chemical compounds in fruit or vegetables that break up free radicals before they can do damage. Many phytochemicals are also known to protect against and fight cancer, as well as foster cardiovascular health.
High in vitamin K, vitamin C and fiber, cabbage is also a good source of vitamin B6 and folic acid. Low in potassium and low in cost, it’s an affordable addition to the kidney diet.
Raw cabbage makes a great addition to the dialysis diet as coleslaw or topping for fish tacos. You can steam, microwave or boil it, add butter or cream cheese plus pepper or caraway seeds and serve it as a side dish. Cabbage Rolls Made with chicken/ paneer are a great appetizer, and if you’re feeling fancy, you can stuff a cabbage with minced chicken and bake it for a flavorful meal bursting with nutrients.
Another cruciferous vegetable, cauliflower is high in vitamin C and a good source of folate and fiber. It’s also packed full of indoles, glucosinolates and thiocyanates—compounds that help the liver neutralize toxic substances that could damage cell membranes and DNA.
Serve it raw as an appetiser with dip, add it to a salad, or steam or boil it and season with spices such as turmeric, curry powder, pepper and herb seasonings. You can also make a nondairy white sauce, pour it over the cauliflower and bake until tender. You can pair cauliflower with pasta or even mash cauliflower as a dialysis diet replacement for mashed potatoes.
Garlic helps prevent plaque from forming on your teeth, lowers cholesterol and reduces inflammation.
Buy it fresh, bottled, minced or powdered, and add it to chicken, vegetable or pasta dishes. You can also roast a head of garlic and spread on bread. Garlic provides a delicious flavour and garlic powder is a great substitute for garlic salt in the dialysis diet.
Onion, a member of the Allium family and a basic flavoring in many cooked dishes, contains sulfur compounds which give it its pungent smell. But in addition to making some people cry, onions are also rich in flavonoids, especially quercetin, a powerful antioxidant that works to reduce heart disease and protects against many cancers. Onions are low in potassium and a good source of chromium, a mineral that helps with carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism.
Try using a variety of onions including white, brown, red and others. Eat onions raw as an accompaniment, on sandwiches and in salads, or in your daily cooking.
Apples have been known to reduce cholesterol, prevent constipation, protect against heart disease and reduce the risk of cancer. High in fiber and anti-inflammatory compounds, an apple a day may really keep the doctor away. Good news for people with kidney disease who already have their share of doctor visits.
Apples are a versatile fruit that you can eat raw, make them into apple sauce, or drink them as apple juice or apple cider.
Cherries have been shown to reduce inflammation when eaten daily. They are also packed with antioxidants and phytochemicals that protect the heart.
Eat fresh cherries as a snack or make a cherry sauce to serve with chicken/ fish. Cherry juice is another way to consume this tasty food.
- Red grapes
Red grapes contain several flavonoids that give them their reddish color. Flavonoids help protect against heart disease by preventing oxidation and reducing the formation of blood clots. Resveratrol, a flavonoid found in grapes, may also stimulate production of nitric oxide which helps relax muscle cells in the blood vessels to increase blood flow. These flavonoids also provide protection against cancer and prevent inflammation.
Buy grapes with red or purple skin since their anthocyanin content is higher. Freeze them to eat as a snack or to quench thirst for those on a fluid restriction for the dialysis diet. Add grapes to a fruit salad or vegetable salad. You can also drink them as grape juice.
- Egg whites
Egg whites are pure protein and provide the highest quality of protein with all the essential amino acids. For the kidney diet, egg whites provide protein with less phosphorus than other protein sources such as egg yolk or meats.
Make an omelet or egg white sandwich, add pasteurized egg whites to smoothies or shakes, make deviled egg snacks, or add whites of hard-boiled eggs to tuna salad or garden salad to add extra protein.
Fish provides high-quality protein and contains anti-inflammatory fats called omega-3s. The healthy fats in fish can help fight diseases such as heart disease and cancer. Omega-3s also help lower low-density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol, which is bad cholesterol, and raise high-density lipoprotein or HDL cholesterol, which is good cholesterol.
The American Heart Association1 and American Diabetes Association2 recommend eating fish at least two times a week. Fish highest in omega-3s include mackerel, trout and salmon.
- Olive oil
Olive oil is a great source of oleic acid, an anti-inflammatory fatty acid. The monounsaturated fat in olive oil protects against oxidation. Olive oil is rich in polyphenols and antioxidant compounds that prevent inflammation and oxidation. Studies show that populations that use large amounts of olive oil instead of other oils have lower rates of heart disease and cancer.
Buy virgin or extra virgin olive oil because they are higher in antioxidants. Use olive oil in general cooking as a substitute to other oils, to make salad dressing, or for marinating vegetables.
This root has an Analgesic, Sedative, Antipyretic and Antibacterial properties. It is a good source of Vitamin B6, Magnesium & Manganese. It mainly treats the joint pains and also reduces nausea.
In the raw form it is added to Tea, or made pickles. It is either powdered or in a paste form to be used in curries. It gives a different aroma and flavor to the food.
In various forms it gives an aroma & flavor to food, either by garnishing in leaves form or in the seeds and powdered form in seasoning of food stuffs. It is a good source of Vitamin A, C, B2 and K. It provides enough minerals in terms of calcium, selenium, iron, magnesium, manganese and also a good source of fiber.
It has different names like “Brain food”, “Hair Food”, “Skin Food”, “Heart food” as it really helps in maintaining the health of all the systems and functioning of our body. It has anti-inflammatory properties to lead to early healing. It maintains the Immune System and also prevents many diseases related to Heart, Brain and Cancerous growth.
It is taken in a whole form or crushed or powdered form, to garnish various food stuffs like coffee, ice-cream, cakes, salads, pastas, etc. It is a good source of Vitamin B, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Copper, Zinc, Omega 3 & 6 and also Phosphorus.
Strawberries are rich in two types of phenols: anthocyanins and ellagitannins. Anthocyananins are what give strawberries their red color and are powerful antioxidants that help protect body cell structures and prevent oxidative damage. Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese and a very good source of fiber. They are known to provide heart protection, as well as anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory components.
Eat strawberries with cereal, smoothies and salad, or slice and serve them fresh or top them with whipped topping. If you’d like a more elaborate dessert, you can make strawberry pudding or sorbet, or puree and sweeten them to serve as a dessert.
Talk to your renal dietitian about incorporating these top 15 foods for a kidney diet into your healthy eating plan. Keep in mind that these foods are healthy for everyone—including family members and friends who do not have kidney disease or are not on dialysis. When you stock your kitchen with delicious, healthy, kidney-friend foods that’s one big step to helping you do well on your kidney diet.