The kidney, just like the other vital organs, is a very important part of our system, crucial for maintaining ionic balance and filtration of wastes and excess fluids from the blood. This eventually gets excreted from our body as urine. Commercialisation is taking over, and as a result, we are being plagued by a host of lifestyle problems. With a growing incidence of diabetics and hypertensive individuals, obesity included, the frequency of kidney diseases has grown exponentially.

Vaibhav Garg, Clinical and Sports Nutritionist, Founder - Purecise, told HerZindagi that "these are considered under an umbrella of diseases that are very expensive to manage, include multiple hospital visits for dialysis and are nearly incurable. Although kidneys are very resilient organs and they heal very fast, it is important to take care of factors associated to reduce the load on them.

"Chronic kidney disease is clinically represented by gradual function loss. In the early stages, the diagnosis is a bit difficult because of few signs while in advanced stages, the blood work shows dangerously high levels of fluids, electrolytes and toxic wastes. At this stage, it is hard to manage the symptoms without proper precautions and in most cases, dialysis.

"However, "what we eat is reflected on our health"-a notion by which a new concept of medical nutrition therapy or diet therapy has come to the fore, which suggests that a monitored renal diet can help bolster kidney function and also slow down the progression of kidney failure." 

The renal diet involves deciphering the foods that will ensure a reduction in inflammation in the nephrons (single cell in the kidney), and as a result, avoid unnecessary build-up of minerals and wastes in the body.

Here are some suggestions made by Garg that can help you out. 

Low Electrolyte Consumption (Sodium & Potassium)

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It is advised to avoid high-sodium containing foods and snacks. The aim is to not eat more than 2-3 gm of sodium per day. Similarly, low potassium-containing fruits and vegetables (such as berries, apples, grapes, broccoli, mushrooms etc.,) are suggested to be consumed if the blood shows very high levels of Potassium.

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Optimal Phosphates Intake

Extremely high phosphate levels are worrisome in stage 3 onwards kidney diseases, otherwise, it is essential to maintain good levels of phosphate in the body.

Alkaline Protein Diet

As per research at Harvard University, healthy kidneys need to work hard when it comes to retaining vital nutrients and proteins. This helps in filtering the useless waste of our body through urine. In case the kidney leaks proteins in the urine, this means that the kidneys are failing. 

Animal fat and cholesterol are said to be major factors in your diet that contribute to this failure as per research. However, intake of plant sources has till now found to have no association with kidney function. 

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Proper Hydration

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In the early stages of kidney disease, it is not required to restrict fluid intake. But since in advanced stages, kidneys are compromised, to balance overall water levels, control fluid consumption under the guidance of your nutritionist.

Vitamins & Iron Levels

Kidneys are important for the synthesis of vitamin D and red blood cells which store Iron in them. Hence compromised kidney functions lead to low vitamin D and iron. Therefore, it is prescribed to take supplements as per the nutritionist.

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Maintenance of a Healthy Weight

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CKD progression can dampen the appetite; therefore, the diet should be able to ensure that a healthy weight is maintained.

Consult your doctor if you have any doubt. Everybody reacts differently and if you are suffering from any other health issues then your diet may be different. 

Stay tuned to HerZindagi for more on diet and nutrition.