The Renal Failure Diet!
What Is Renal Failure?
Renal Failure, also known as Kidney Failure, is a medical condition which involves the inability of the kidneys to expel wastes (stools and urine) from the blood.
It is our kidneys job to remove waste products and help balance water, salts and other minerals (electrolytes) in your blood.
When our kidneys stop working, essentially, all waste products, fluids, and electrolytes collect in our body which poses a serious threat to life.
How Can The Renal Failure Diet Help Me?
Patients need to adapt to a new diet to ensure that they are not building up more waste products in their blood. Hence, the objective of this diet is to maintain the current level of electrolytes, minerals, and fluids in the blood – not add to it!
Required Diet Alterations!
- The patient must limit the intake of total fluids.
- The patient needs to restrict sodium, potassium, phosphorus and other electrolytes.
- The patient needs to reduce consumption of proteins.
- Increase intake of calories in the event of rapid weight loss.
Renal Diet Recommendations
Recommendation # 1 – Monitor Your Carbohydrate Intake!
You need to curb your consumption of carbohydrates if you are overweight or have diabetes. Consult with your doctor, nurse, or dietitian before you decide to do this.
If you are not overweight/diabetic, then carbohydrates should be consumed. Most doctors/dietitians/care providers recommend a low-protein diet for renal failure – if this is the case, you can substitute proteins with carbs including;
Fresh fruits & vegetables, breads and grains are all carbohydrate rich and also provide a good dose of fiber, minerals, and vitamins!
Some doctors may suggest the consumption of hard candies, jelly, sugar and honey.
Doctors may even suggest the consumption of high-calorie desserts such as cakes, pies, tarts, or cookies! However, you need to make sure that your desserts are made with dairy, chocolate, nuts, or bananas.
Recommendation # 2 – Increase Your Fat Intake
Fats are one of the best sources of calories! However, make sure you consume healthy fats that is; monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. You must consult with your doctor as to which foods you should eat instead of self-prescribing fats!
Recommendation # 3 – Proteins
Dietitians normally recommend a low protein diet prior to dialysis. However, when you start dialysis, you will require high amounts of protein. Protein rich foods are recommended during this period. Foods including; poultry, pork, fish & eggs is highly suggested to regain lost tissue.
Recommendation # 4 – Stay Away From Salt or Sodium
Lowering salt levels/sodium levels in your diet helps control high blood pressure, prevents thirstiness, and stops your body from preserving extra fluid. Most doctors will recommend a low sodium diet!
Recommendation # 4 – Monitor Consumption Of Calcium & Phosphorus
Our kidneys are responsible for regulating phosphorus levels in our blood – due to impaired kidney function; phosphorus accumulates in the blood, causing hyperphosphatemia. Phosphorus is present in many foods, so you can’t exactly eliminate phosphorus from your diet entirely. Foods high in protein are also high in phosphorus, for instance some meats, dairy products, legumes, nuts, beans and seeds. Hence, if you are not having dialyses then limit your proteins.
You might need to take calcium supplements in order to avoid bone disease/bone weakness. A Vitamin D supplement may also be suggested to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphorous in your body.
Recommendation # 5 – Fluids
As your condition worsens or when you are on dialysis – you will need to reduce your intake of fluids. This is because when your condition becomes more serious, or in between dialysis sessions, fluids may build up in your body. This may cause severe conditions including shortness of shortness of breath.
Ask your doctor or your dialysis nurse how much liquid you should be consuming. It would be wise to steer clear from water based foods including; popsicles, Jell-O, ice cream, soups, watermelon, grapes, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and celery.
Recommendation # 6 – Potassium
It is true that potassium is a healthy mineral. However, if your kidneys are not working properly, potassium levels are not filtered which causes a buildup of this mineral. As a result, dangerous heart rhythms may result, which can lead to death.
Fruits & Veggies which contain potassium and should be avoided include; oranges, nectarines, Kiwis, dried fruit, bananas, cantaloupe, honeydew, prunes, and nectarines, asparagus, avocado, potatoes, tomatoes, winter squash, pumpkin, avocado, and cooked spinach.
Fruits & Veggies which should be consumed include; grapes, pears, cherries, apples, berries, pineapple, plums, tangerines, watermelon, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, eggplant, green and wax beans, lettuce, onion, peppers, watercress, zucchini, and yellow squash!
Recommendation # 7 – Increased Iron!
Patients of Renal Failure must increase their intake of iron as they are most likely to experience anemia. Foods that are rich in iron include; beef, pork, chicken, Lima beans, kidney beans and iron-fortified cereals!
You must consult your doctor before you decide to make any of these lifestyle changes! We have provided basic diet guidelines that apply for standard patients of renal failure – however, do consult with a medical expert before you start this.