Chronic kidney disease requires patients make changes in their diet, especially if they are on dialysis. These diet changes may include limiting fluids, consuming low-protein foods, limiting salt, potassium, phosphorus and other electrolytes’ intake.
This type of diet helps maintain electrolytes, minerals, and fluid balance in the body when you are on dialysis and helps prevent the build-up of waste in the body. Your nephrologist may refer you to a dietitian who may help create a special diet that helps meet your special needs. It is very important that you consume enough calories so you don’t lose weight. You will have to check with your dietitian about the ideal weight and have to check your weight every day to make sure you don’t lose weight caused by breakdown of tissue.
Carbohydrates are a good source of energy if you have been recommended a low-protein diet. Fruits, breads, grains and vegetables are good sources of carbohydrates and also provide the body with fibers, minerals and vitamins. If you are not diabetic, you can also consume sugar, honey, jelly and desserts such as pies and cakes that are not rich in dairy products, chocolate and nuts.
Which fats are good for you?
Fats are a good source of calories, but you should be aware of the type of fats and cholesterol that can affect your heart health. You have to consult your dietitian about this. And while adding fats to your diet, you should make sure that you use monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as olive oil and safflower oil.
Protein in your diet
Low-protein diets are usually recommended before a patient starts dialysis. Once he/she has started dialysis, the dietitian may recommend a high protein diet which includes fish, poultry and egg to help replace muscles and other tissues you may lose during dialysis.
Maintaining Electrolyte Balance
Calcium and phosphorus levels are regularly checked in patients with kidney disease, because chronic kidney disease causes an increase in phosphorus levels in the body, which lowers calcium levels. Therefore, you will have to limit the consumption of dairy products including milk, yoghurt and cheese as these foods contain high levels of phosphorus. You may need to take calcium supplements and Vitamin D to help control the balance of calcium and phosphorus in your body.
When on dialysis, you will be required to limit your fluid intake. Your nephrologist or dietitian will let you know the amount of fluid you can consume between dialysis sessions. It is best to avoid fluid foods such as soup and fruits and vegetables rich in water, such as melons, grapes, lettuce and tomatoes.
Sodium, Potassium and Iron in your diet
Reduction of sodium in your diet is important to control high blood pressure and the build-up of extra fluids in the body. You should cook food without salt and avoid using the salt shaker.
Patients with kidney disease should consume good amounts of potassium to help keep the heart healthy. Fruits rich in potassium include grapes, pears, apples, pineapple and watermelon. The vegetables include cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cucumber, brinjal, lettuce and onion.
People with advanced kidney disease on dialysis are bound to develop anemia and may need extra iron. It is a good idea to talk to your dietitian about which sources of iron you need to consume. Foods rich in iron include liver, beef, chicken and kidney beans.