By Olamiotan Afolabi
Kidney disease has been one of the most common life threatening diseases all over the world. It occur both in male and female irrespective of age because it is an organ that developed right from the embryo.
The kidneys are a every crucial organ in the body, they are two bean shaped like organ, each about the size of a fist located just below the rib cage, one on eachside of your spine. The kidneys are very important and are responsible for getting rid of waste products, drugs, toxins from the body. They also help balance the body’s fluid, release hormones that regulate blood pressure, help control the production of red blood cells and also help produce an active form of vitamin D that promites strong and healthy bones.
This vital organs become damaged through various ways but hypertension and diebetes are the leading cause of kidney disease, others risk factors that could lead to the damage of the kidney are obesity,heart disease, smoking, genetics, age and gender.
At the 2022 world kidney day which usually comes up every second Thursday of March each year, reports from medical experts show that over 20million Nigerians are living with kidney disease. Confirming this, medical experts who spoke with The Hope said no fewer than 20,000 of the victims are going down with End Stage kidney Disease (ESKD) yearly, requiring dialysis or transplant to stay alive. They identify diabetes, high blood pressure also known as hypertension as the leading cause of kidney disease adding other factors like obesity, use of painkillers, bleaching cream, high alcohol intake,chronic infections such as hepatitis B and C as the major causes of kidney disease in Nigeria. They also made it known that in diagnosing kidney disease, the blood and urine are being used as specimen to test the status of the kidney.
Diabetes which is a risk factor of kidney disease occur when the body does not make enough insulin or cannot use insulin properly, which controls how much sugar is in the blood. This disease can further affect the kidney by causing damage to blood vessels inside the kidney, the filtering units of the kidneys are filled with tiny blood vessels, high sugar levels in the blood can cause the vessels to become weak and clogged.
Hypertension which is another most common risk factor of kidney disease is a disease in which the force on the blood against the artery walls is too high. Overtime, uncontrolled high blood pressure can cause arteries around the kidneys to be weak, narrow and hard. Therefore, causing damage to the arteries making it unable to deliver enough blood to the kidney tissue. When the kidneys are not working properly, waste builds up in the blood, including waste products from food . Therefore, it is necessary and important for people to watch their diet intake in other to keep the kidneys healthy while those diagnosed with the disease are advised to follow a special diet
Diet recommendations and restrictions vary depending on the level of kidney damage, those in the early stage have different recommendations and restrictions than those with End Stage kidney disease (ESRD), people that fall into this category are advised to follow kidney-friendly diet that will help decrease the amount of waste in the blood. This diet is known as Renal diet which help boost kidney function while preventing further damages. Importantly, it is advisable that people with kidney disease irrespective of the stage should restrict the following minerals such as sodium, potassium phosphorus and high protein.
Sodium, an electrolyte that helps maintain nerve and muscle functions, it also regulate fluid intake levels in the body. Too little can lead to symptoms like lethargy, contusion and fatigue. Too much can lead to high blood pressure which increases the risk of kidney disease, cardiovascular disease and stroke. Potassium is sodium counterpart, it help regulates the heartbeat and ensure proper function of the muscles and nerves. The deficency can lead to hypertension, stroke and kidney stones while too much, it can be harmful to people with kidney disease. Therefore, it is recommended in moderate quantity. Potassium can be found in food like avocados, coconut water, bananas, beans and lentils. Phosphorus is a mineral that play an important role on how the body uses carbohydrates and fat, it also works with vitamin B. Sources include dairy products, salmon, lentils and cashews. Protein on the other hand, is another nutrient that people with kidney disease may need to limit as damaged kidneys can’t clear out waste products from protein metabolism. However, those with ESKD undergoing dialysis have greater protein needs because they undergo, a treatment that fitters and cleans the blood.
Below are food sources that carry low quantity of the minerals mentioned above, recommended to keep the kidneys healthy by flushing out waste product and toxins.
One, Garlic. A good source of manganese, vitamin C and B6, it also contains sulfur compounds that have antiinflammatory properties. Four cloves (12g) of garlic contains 1.5mg of sodium, 36mg of potassium and 14mg of phosphorus. Therefore, with the low amount of sodium present in garlic, it provides a delicious alternative to salt, adding flavor to dishes with additional nutritional benefits. Two, Onions is another important vegetable which are excellent for providing sodium-free flavor to renal diet dishes. Reducing salt intake can be challenging, onion is a substitute to add flavor to your diet. Sautering onions with garlic and Olive oil add flavor to dishes without compromising your kidney health. These vegetables are also high in vitamin C, manganese, B vitamins and prebiotic fibers that help keep your digestive system healthy. One small onion (70g) contains 3mg sodium, 102mg potassium and 20mg phosphorus. Olive oil, a healthy source of fat and phosphorus free, making it a great option for people with kidney disease, it also contains mono saturated fat called oleic acid which has antiinflammatory properties. A tablespoon (13.5g) of olive oil contains 0.3mg of sodium, 0.1mg of potassium and 0mg of phosphorus.
Four, Cabbage. It belongs to the cruciferous vegetable family and is loaded with vitamins, minerals and powerful plant compounds. It is a great source of vitamin K, C and many B vitamins. It also provides insoluble fiber, a type of fiber that keeps your digestive system healthy by promoting regular bowel movements and adding bulk to stool. One cup of shredded cabbage (70g) contains 13mg of sodium, 70mg of potassium and 18mg of phosphorus. Four, Bell pepper is another vegetable that contains good amount of nutrients but are low in potassium, sodium and phosphorus compare to some vegetables. This vegetable is loaded with the powerful antioxidant which is vitamin C. One small red bell pepper (74g) contains 105% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C. It also contains vitamin A, a vital nutrient for immune functions which is often compromised in people with kidney disease. One small bell pepper ( 74g) contains 3mg sodium, 156mg potassium and 19mg phosphorus.
There are some fruits that are also low in sodium, potassium and phosphorus. Examples are pineapple, red grapes. Pineapple, unlike orange and banana that have high content of potassium, pineapple make a sweet fruit, low potassium and sodium alternative for those with kidney problem. It is also rich in fiber, manganese, vitamin C and bromelanin (an enzyme that helosbreduce inflammation). One cup of pineapple juice (165g) contains 2mg sodium, 180mg potassium and 13mg phosphorus. Red grapes is another delightful fruit that contain load of nutrients, it is high in vitamin C and antioxidant called flavonoid which help to reduce inflammation. In addition, red grapes are high in resveratrol (a type of flavonoid that support great benefit to the heart and prevent diabetes). A cup of red grapes (75g) contains 1.5mg, 144mg, 15mg of sodium, potassium and phosphorus respectively.
A patient diagnosed with kidney disease or End stage kidney disease should avoid food such as Mango, banana, melons, apples, guavas, sandwiches, pizza, canned vegetables, hot dogs, biscuits, canned meat, poultry and seafood (they are all high in sodium). Dairy, red meat, poultry, legumes and nuts have high content of phosphorus. And for potassium, food like spinach, sweet potatoes, avocados, coconut water, beans, legumes are high in potassium. All these, should be avoided or consumed in little amount to avoid further damages to the kidney.
However, people with End stage kidney disease are advised to consume diet with high quality kidney-friendly source of protein. Examples are Egg whites (two large egg whites 66g contains 110mg sodium, 108mg potassium, 10mg phosphorus…
Other ways to keep your kidney healthy are:
One, increase your water intake.
Two, watch your alcohol intake.
Three, limit saturated fats and avoid trans fat.
Four, limit your salt intake (do not add salt when eating).
Five, keep your blood pressure controlled that is make sure you get your blood pressure checked on a regular basis.
And lastly, exercise regularly.