Kidney failure is temporary or permanent damage to the kidneys, making it difficult or impossible for them to eliminate waste and balance fluids in the body.
Different diseases and conditions can favor the development of kidney failure:
- Being hospitalized, especially in intensive care.
- Be of age.
- Suffer direct damage to the kidneys.
- Have diabetes, liver or kidney disease, heart failure, high blood pressure, or cancer.
Among the main symptoms of kidney failure we can find:
- Decreased volume of urine excreted.
- Chest pain.
- Shortness of breath.
- Fluid retention (which results in swelling of the legs, ankles, or feet).
- Irregular heartbeat.
- In adverse cases, seizures or coma may occur.
Diet for kidney failure
A healthy diet is essential to keep electrolyte, fluid, and mineral levels in balance, prevent tissue breakdown, and facilitate kidney function.
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When organizing a diet you must determine how to obtain energy from the main nutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
Carbohydrates are divided into two large groups: simple and complex. The former are often called “bad” because they are quickly absorbed and provide immediate energy, while the latter are considered “good” because they take time to be absorbed.
However, many nutritionists explain that this categorization would not be correct, since both are necessary for a balanced diet.
We tend to attribute negative connotations to fats, but they are actually a great source of energy and help the body absorb vitamins.
A good way to take advantage of its benefits and avoid its consequences is to opt for healthy variants, such as extra virgin olive oil, canola, safflower or coconut.
They can be obtained from animal or vegetable sources, although the former are of higher quality thanks to their rich level of essential amino acids.
Watch out: excess proteins have been linked to the progression of kidney disease, so it is advisable to reduce daily consumption to 100 g.
Consult a nutritionist to build your diet and obtain that energy from other nutrients, such as carbohydrates or fats.
Minerals to consider
- Potassium: This mineral is usually recognized as beneficial, since it acts as a vasodilator. However, in excess it can affect the heart rhythm and worsen the condition of patients with kidney failure. Moderate your potassium intake by reducing your intake of foods such as bananas, spinach, or avocados.
- SodiumSalt is a great enemy for people with kidney failure, as it can lead to fluid retention. Limit its use when cooking and pay close attention to labels for sodium content.
What to eat and what to avoid
In addition to limiting your protein intake, find out about the nutritional facts of the foods you eat by checking their labels.
Processed, refined, fried, or sugary foods can have harmful effects on your health, especially if you have kidney failure.
- Incorporates: fruits, such as berries, plums, apples, pears, pineapple, watermelon or grapes, lean meat, and vegetables, such as celery, eggplant, broccoli, squash, lettuce, bell peppers, or carrots.
- Avoid or limit: sugary or energy drinks, high sodium products, sugary cereals, processed meat, such as sausage, bacon, canned, jerky, dried, canned and meat-based preparations or sauces, fruits such as oranges or kiwis, and vegetables, like asparagus, potatoes, or tomatoes and their sauces.
Although in the initial stages of kidney failure it is not necessary to carry out an exhaustive control of the fluid that we incorporate, if the disease worsens it will be necessary to monitor it. This can accumulate in the body, and, for example, make breathing difficult.
Professionals recommend using smaller glasses or cups to control fluid intake, and take into account the water-rich fruits and vegetables we consume.
If you suffer from kidney failure, it is necessary to consult a health professional or nutritionist to make a diagnosis and determine which foods are the best for you to obtain essential nutrients.
Remember, there is no universal diet for kidney failure, since each organism is different and is influenced by different factors.
A good way to live with kidney failure is by taking the following care:
- Medical check-upsCheck your kidney problems and see your doctor for any worrisome symptoms. It is also important to keep track of other conditions that can make kidney failure worse or worse, such as diabetes or hypertension.
- Beware of over-the-counter pain relieversIn excess, these drugs can cause kidney damage, or aggravate pre-existing kidney disease, diabetes or hypertension.
- Healthy life style: In addition to taking care of your diet, a better way to cope with kidney failure is by incorporating other healthy habits that help keep your body strong, such as exercising daily, sleeping correctly at regular times and keeping stress away or under control.
Until significant scientific evidence from human trials is available, people interested in using herbal therapies and supplements should exercise extreme caution.
Do not abandon or modify your medications or treatments, first talk to your doctor about the potential effects of alternative or complementary therapies.
Remember, the medicinal properties of herbs and supplements can also interact with prescription drugs, other herbs and supplements, and even alter your diet.
Sources consulted: US National Library of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, US Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.