Eating Habits For Kidney Health

Eating Habits For Kidney Health

Whether you are living with a kidney problem or you want to care for your kidneys preventatively, learning about kidney health is a great idea. There is a strong correlation between eating habits and kidney health, both in a good way and a bad way. If you want to understand how you can do what’s best for your kidneys regarding your eating habits, look at the suggestions below and understand why kidney testing is essential to your life plan!

Eating for kidney care

Let’s start with the basics and work from there. When looking to eat a kidney diet -- a diet that focuses on strengthening your kidneys and protecting your health --, there are several focus points. These include

  • Eating less salt
  • Drinking a lot of water
  • Eating regular meals and proper portions
  • Prioritising starch-rich foods
  • Eating a high amount of protein

While all these will play an important role in eating right for your kidney, the first one is the most crucial. Not only is it important for your kidney health, but it also is important to understand that salt is a potential danger to your greater health.

Why is salt so dangerous?

Salt is delicious and is in practically everything that we eat, so what’s so bad about it? Salt is essential for human health, but the fact that it’s in every food out there is the problem in and of itself. Our bodies need no more than 6g of salt daily to be healthy. This small amount of salt is easy to find in regular fresh foods, and we have no problem meeting that recommended daily allotment.

The problem is that most of us eat more than fresh foods. Manufacturers and producers add extra salt to those foods because it’s both a preservative and a flavour enhancer. So even if the food doesn’t taste salty, it most likely has salt above and beyond what naturally occurs in the food source itself.

This added salt is “invisible” to our tastebuds, so most of us overeat salt daily. Overeating salt can leave you with high blood pressure and chronic kidney disease.

When you think about the role of manufactured food in our diets, combined with our love of salty foods, it’s easy to see how simple it is to accidentally overeat salt. Realistically, most of us are taxing our kidneys and don’t even mean to do so!

With that in mind, kidney testing becomes a powerful support and option to help us understand how much our kidney function is impacted. Regardless of those results, it’s never too late to start prioritising kidney health through learning about a kidney diet. If your test results show abnormal results, you can talk to your GP about modifying your diet. This will help protect your kidneys rather than overwork them.

Generally, one of the best things you can do to start right is not to add salt to your food. Not only will this create less stress on your kidneys, but it’ll also retrain your tastebuds. Since we naturally love salty food, we’ll crave more and more salt. If you don’t add salt to your food, your tastebuds will learn to enjoy the smaller amounts that occur naturally in foods.

Another great starting point is simply cutting down on the processed food you eat. Since it’s often loaded with “invisible” salt, this will help much more than you’d think to your daily salt intake.

Your weight plays a huge role

Another important facet of kidney health is your weight. If you are overweight, your kidneys will be under more pressure to filter toxins. Another component of being overweight is that your blood fat will be higher than the average person's levels. This, too, will overwork your kidneys and potentially put your kidney health at risk.

Holding a healthy weight is always a good thing for your health. When it comes to kidney health, making minor changes to your diet and exercise routine to help you drop weight can make a huge difference.

Don’t give yourself restrictions

Those who are told to better care for their kidney health often assume that they have to put themselves on a restrictive diet that is often prescribed to those with chronic kidney disease or other conditions. While it’s natural to think this is good for your kidneys, it actually isn’t.

Even those with diagnosed kidney issues do not have to follow a restrictive diet that is low in potassium, for example. Doctors will only recommend those kinds of diet changes in extreme cases. Those recommendations are made for each patient based on various factors other than their actual kidney function.

Putting yourself on a restrictive diet can harm your kidneys and health; avoid restrictive diets unless your GP explicitly gives you instructions to do so.

Reach out to your GP for help

Navigating the ups and downs of a low-salt diet and understanding how kidney health works is complicated. Don’t hesitate to ask your GP for help when doing what’s best for your kidneys. If you get kidney testing and your results come back abnormal, your GP can help you make the necessary changes with the support that you need and deserve. 

It’s interesting to know that salt plays such a big role in eating habits for kidney health. It’s also intriguing to learn that even a small weight drop can affect your kidney function. Kidneys are vital organs to care for, and now you’re on your way to understanding the proper way to do that!

Back to blog