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Renal Diet

Kidneys help control the amount of fluid that leaves your body. If your kidney disease progresses, your kidneys may be unable to regulate the removal of fluid from your body and as a result your doctor may ask you to limit your fluid intake. Too much fluid may cause swelling, shortness of breath, or high blood pressure.

What exactly is a fluid? Fluids are any food that is liquid or anything that melts into a liquid.

Examples of fluids include the following: Coffee, Tea, Sodas, Soups, Popsicles, Ice cream, Sherbet, Ice Cubes, Gelatin, Milk, liquid Creamer, Water, Wine, and Beer

Tips to Reduce Fluid Intake:

• Drink only when thirsty. Do not drink out of habit or to be social.

• Eat less salt so you will feel less thirsty.

• Suck on ice chips. (Measure small units into a cup).

• Brush your teeth three to four times a day; this is to prevent your mouth from drying out.

• Suck on a lemon wedge.

• If you have diabetes, control your blood sugar.

• Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless hard candy.

• Take your medications with sips of water.

• When dining out, ask your beverage to be served in a child-size glass.

• Measure how much fluid your favorite cup or glass holds so you will be better able to monitor the amount of fluid you drink.

• After measuring out the total amount of fluid you can drink for the day, place the water in a container. During the day drink only from this container so you can keep an eye on the amount of fluid you have consumed.

The Renal Diet- Phosphorus

Phosphorus is needed by the body for building and maintaining bones and teeth and for normal nerve and muscle function. When kidney function declines, the body has a difficult time keeping phosphorus and calcium in balance. Problems associated with high phosphorus levels include itchy skin, bone and joint pain, and brittle bones.

High Phosphorus Foods: Cola Drinks, Peanut Butter, Cheese, Sardines, Chicken/Beef Liver, Nuts, Caramels, Beer, Ice Cream

Lower Phosphorus Food Substitutes Include:Broccoli, Non-Dairy Milk Substitute, Sherbet, Non-Cola Soda, Zucchini Squash, Hard Candy

The Renal Diet- Potassium

Potassium helps to keep your nerves and muscles, especially your heart, working properly. Too much potassium can make your heart beat irregularly or even stop without warning.

Foods that are High in Potassium: Bananas, Broccoli, Chocolate, Oranges, Potatoes, Coffee (limit to 2 cups per day), Cantaloupe, Tomatoes, Salt Substitute, Prunes, Mushrooms, Bran, Raisins, Greens, Apricots

Low-Potassium Foods Include: Apples, Beans (green or wax), Rice, Grapes, Cucumber Noodles, Pears, Onions, Watermelon, Lettuce, Cereal, Cranberries, Carrots, Bread, Cherries

It is important to remember that almost all foods contain potassium.

The Renal Diet- Protein

Protein is needed to maintain muscles, aid in building resistance to infections, and repair and replace body tissue. As your body breaks down protein foods, waste products called urea are formed. As kidney function declines, urea builds up in the bloodstream. Eating too much protein may cause urea to build up more quickly. You need both high quality and low quality protein in your diet.

Foods High in Protein: Meat, Poultry, Milk Products, Eggs

Foods Low in Protein: Fresh Beans (pinto, kidney, navy), Grains, Vegetables

The Renal Diet- Sodium

Sodium is needed by the body for many functions such as controlling muscle contractions, balancing fluids, and controlling blood pressure. Healthy kidneys remove excess sodium in the urine. As kidney function declines, sodium and fluids may accumulate in your body. Fluid retention may cause swelling in your eyes, hands, and/or ankles. To keep your sodium level in balance, you should limit the sodium in your diet.

Foods High in Sodium Include: Table Salt, Bouillon Cubes, Potato Chips, Nuts, Bacon, Cold Cuts, Cheese, Canned, Dehydrated, or Instant Soup, Canned Vegetables, Processed Dinner Mixes (such as Hamburger Helper, Rice-a-Roni)

Low Sodium Alternatives: Season with a variety of spices like Garlic, Oregano, Lemon and Salt Substitute

Next Steps:

Living with chronic kidney disease can seem overwhelming for you and your family, but simple changes to your diet can make a major difference! There are many people who do it, and so can you!

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