5 Food Rules to Follow for Renal Disease

When you have renal disease, your kidneys are still functioning, but not as effectively as healthy kidneys. In order to protect remaining kidney function and your health, health experts recommend following these five key dietary guidelines for chronic kidney disease.

1. Cut back on salt and sodium

You'll need to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and whole foods to cut back on sodium in your diet. Fast food, processed meals, and canned goods are all typically high in sodium. Aim to consume 2,300 mg of sodium per day or less. Limiting sodium will help you control blood pressure.

2. Limit protein

Healthy kidneys effectively remove waste from protein found in foods when you urinate. But it's harder for your kidneys to do this when you have renal disease. If you eat too much protein, your failing kidneys won't be able to remove excess waste. And it's why you should limit protein. The average person only needs 40 to 65 grams of protein per day. And it's commonly found in poultry, fish, lean meat, dairy products, beans, nuts, and whole grains.

3. Choose heart-healthy foods

When you have renal disease, it can lead to high blood pressure, damage your heart, and raise your risk for heart failure. Exercise can help strengthen your heart. Making smart food choices will help, too. Skip deep-fried foods, and instead grill, boil, bake or stir-fry foods. Use non-stick cooking spray or olive oil, instead of butter. And if you eat poultry or meat, remove the skin and any excess fat.

4. Avoid or limit foods high in phosphorus

Unfortunately, as kidney function declines, so does the ability to effectively remove phosphorus found in foods. And that's a problem that can weaken your bones and increase calcium deposits that can damage your blood vessels, lungs, eyes, and heart. Making changes to your diet can help. Some foods low in phosphorus include: fresh fruits and vegetables, breads, pasta, rice, and corn and rice cereals.

5. Avoid or limit foods high in potassium

You need potassium for nerve and muscle function, heart health, and proper hydration. But your body loses its ability to remove excess potassium when you have renal disease. It's a condition called hyperkalemia, and it can lead to nausea, weakness, numbness, and weak pulse. That means it's important to limit potassium in your diet when you have renal disease. Choose foods lower in potassium such as apples, peaches, carrots, green beans, white bread and pasta, white rice, and wheat cereals.

Most people have to make significant changes to their diet after being diagnosed with renal disease. But it doesn't have to be overly complicated. Follow these five food rules for renal disease. And take a look at the selection of Renal-Friendly meals, and you'll find lots of health and delicious meals to choose from.