World Kidney Day 2024: Best and worst foods for kidney health | Health - Hindustan Times
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World Kidney Day 2024: Best and worst foods for kidney health

By, New Delhi
Mar 13, 2024 12:25 PM IST

Eating foods that are low in sodium, potassium and high in fibre can help your kidneys function better. Here're best and worst foods for your kidneys.

World Kidney Day 2024: Kidneys, one of the most crucial organs of our body, help us retain the good, expel the bad, and maintain healthy balance of the essential - be it water, salt and important minerals. They are the natural filters in our body we can trust for its healthy functioning. However, like all organs, our kidneys too need care and nourishment for optimum functioning. Not hydrating them enough, eating processed and sugary foods or developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease can impact the kidneys and their function. (Also read: 7 telltale signs of kidney disease you may be ignoring)

World Kidney Day 2024: When your kidneys are malfunctioning, you may experience change in appearance of your urine, nighttime urination, fatigue, puffiness around your eyes, itching to name a few symptoms.(Freepik)
World Kidney Day 2024: When your kidneys are malfunctioning, you may experience change in appearance of your urine, nighttime urination, fatigue, puffiness around your eyes, itching to name a few symptoms.(Freepik)

Kidneys are tasked with filtering waste products and remove excess fluid from the body. They also help balance high blood pressure, control production of red blood cells and balance body's fluids. When your kidneys are malfunctioning, you may experience change in appearance of your urine, nighttime urination, fatigue, puffiness around your eyes, itching to name a few symptoms.

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To take care of your kidneys or manage your existing kidney disease, diet plays a crucial role. Eating foods that are low in sodium and potassium and high in fibre can help your kidney function better. Vegetables with essential nutrients can also help nourish your kidney. Too much salt, alcohol and other processed foods must be avoided at all costs if you have a problematic kidney.

BEST FOODS FOR YOUR KIDNEY

Your kidneys are essential organs that filter waste products and excess fluid from your blood. When you eat a kidney-friendly diet, you're helping your kidneys function optimally.

“A vegetarian diet is more kidney friendly and a low salt diet is mandatory as most patients with kidney problems have hypertension. Low salt substitutes should be avoided while low-potassium fruits and vegetables like apples, berries, and cabbage must be preferred. Plant-based proteins like soya, pulses and cottage cheese can be used safely while animal proteins such as fish, poultry, and eggs should be used in moderation. Whole grains like brown rice and quinoa must be consumed. Healthy fats from sources like olive oil, mustard oil or soyabeen oil are beneficial. Limited dairy products and opting for low-fat options is advised,” says Dr. Sanjeev Gulati, Executive Director, Nephrology and kidney Transplant, Fortis Escorts, Okhla Road, New Delhi.

Dr Mohit Khirbat, Consultant, Nephrology, CK Birla Hospital, Gurugram suggests adding the following foods to your diet.

Fruits

Most fruits are naturally low in sodium and potassium and high in fibre, all of which are beneficial for kidney health. Some of the best fruits for your kidneys include apples, berries, grapes, pears, and watermelon.

Vegetables: Broccoli, cabbage

Vegetables are another excellent source of essential vitamins, minerals, and fibre for kidney health. Choose non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, leafy green vegetables, and peppers.

Low-fat dairy: Curd, milk

Low-fat dairy products like milk, yoghurt, and cheese are good sources of calcium and vitamin D, which are important for bone health. However, it's important to choose low-fat or fat-free options and consume them in moderation, as some dairy products are high in phosphorus.

Whole grains: Brown rice, oats

Whole grains are a good source of fibre, which can help to lower cholesterol levels and keep you feeling full. Some healthy whole grains to include in your diet are brown rice, quinoa, oats, and whole-wheat bread.

Lean protein: Fish, beans

Lean protein sources like fish, poultry, and beans are essential for maintaining muscle mass. However, it's important to choose lean protein sources and limit red meat consumption, as red meat is high in phosphorus.

WORST FOODS FOR YOUR KIDNEY

“High-potassium foods like bananas, citrus fruits, nuts, potatoes, and avocados must be avoided by people with kidney disorders. Processed foods high in sodium must be skipped as they can increase blood pressure. Foods high in phosphorus such as processed meats and cheese must be avoided too to prevent complications related to kidney. Sugary drinks and snacks can contribute to diabetes and weight gain and must be eliminated from the diet. Excessive protein intake especially from non-vegetarian sources can put burden on the kidney because of excessive acid load. Consulting with a nephrologist is crucial to tailor a diet plan specific to an individual's needs and stage of kidney disease,” says Dr Gulati.

Excessive sodium intake can increase blood pressure and put a strain on your kidneys. Limit processed foods, canned goods, restaurant meals, cured meats, and salty snacks. Dr Khirbat says the following foods must be avoided to improve kidney function.

Phosphorous

Phosphorus is a mineral that is naturally found in many foods. However, people with kidney disease often need to limit their phosphorus intake. Foods high in phosphorus include dairy products, red meat, organ meats, processed foods, and certain nuts and seeds.

Potassium

Potassium is another essential nutrient, but people with kidney disease may need to limit their potassium intake. Foods high in potassium include bananas, oranges, potatoes, tomatoes, and certain leafy green vegetables. These foods can contribute to weight gain and inflammation, which can worsen kidney disease.

Sugar

Limit sugary drinks, pastries, white bread, and white rice. Excessive alcohol consumption can increase blood pressure and decrease kidney function.

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