Eat Right to Protect Your Health and Your Kidneys

What should you eat and what should you avoid when you have renal disease?

It’s a big topic. And one that a lot of healthcare providers and renal patients don’t always agree on. For example, if your lab test shows higher levels of sodium, potassium, or phosphorus, your doctor might tell you to reduce foods with that specific mineral.

It’s sound advice, but not always complete in terms of the big picture to maintain your health and prevent further kidney damage when you have renal disease.

And let’s be honest. Some of the dietary restrictions currently recommended for people with renal disease just aren’t realistic or sustainable. But that needs to change to improve care and quality of life for those with renal disease.

It’s one reason the Rogosin Institute and The Center for Health Action and Policy based in New York recently convened a roundtable of patients, healthcare professionals, food scientists, and other experts to identify ways to improve dietary recommendations that are sustainable for renal patients.

Based on this meeting, the group identified four ways to improve nutrition for renal patients based on a model called the A, C, C, Ds, of kidney nutrition health. Here’s what matters most about your diet when you have renal disease.

A. Access to affordable, fresh foods.

Most processed foods contain higher amounts of the key minerals you need to limit or avoid: sodium, potassium, and phosphorus. And that means a focus on eating more of the right kind of fresh fruits and vegetables, and other whole foods.

Do you know what our 24 Renal-Friendly meals have in common? They all include fresh vegetables, are flash frozen, unprocessed, and ready to heat and eat in minutes.

B. Back to basics.

When you’re diagnosed with renal disease, most patients have to make major changes to their diet. But it doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Focusing on the basics and learning more about which foods to eat and which foods to avoid, should be part of the learning process to protect your health.

C. Cooking.

Processed foods are among the worst foods you can eat when you have renal disease. And that means learning to cook simple and healthy meals that fit a Renal-Friendly diet, is essential to your health. But if you’re short on time, or just don’t want to cook, you’re not alone. The good news: we’ve made it easy to eat healthy when you have renal disease.

D. Deliver information patients can understand.

Your doctor should help you figure out what to eat and what to avoid when you have renal disease. But sometimes your diet might seem like a secondary concern, compared to taking medications. In reality, both are important to protect your health and prevent further kidney damage.

Have questions about what you should eat or avoid? Talk to your doctor. And if he/she doesn’t have the answers, ask for a referral to a dietitian or nutritionist who can help you. Learning to eat right when you have renal disease, will protect your health and help you manage your condition.