Hair and nails are mostly composed of protein, which your body uses to build and repair tissues, create enzymes, hormones and other body chemicals. Protein is a key factor in strengthening bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood. Prior to reaching the final stage of CKD, it is beneficial to set a boundary on the amount of protein you eat so that your kidneys will not overwork themselves. During your dialysis treatment, on the other hand, it is wise to consume more protein to replace the amount lost from the clinical purification of blood by dialysis. High quality proteins include eggs, tofu, chicken breast, and fish. Low quality proteins revolve around beans, fruits, and brown rice.
Potassium is a key influencer in electrolyte regulation, nerve function, muscle control, and blood pressure. Your kidneys control the levels of potassium and its primary function is to regulate water and mineral balance throughout the body. A high level of potassium can result in exhaustion, respiration deficiency, and heart problems.
If you’re on peritoneal dialysis, you don’t have to worry about keeping your potassium levels low. You will need to be more cognizant and cautious of your potassium intake, however, if you are on hemodialysis. To see what foods fit within your diet exactly, consult your dietician and doctor. Bananas, chye sim, and Tomatoes have high levels of potassium, while apples, beansprouts, and mixed veggies have low levels of potassium.
Sodium (salt) is dissolved in the blood and plays a primary role in preserving blood pressure. Sodium is like a magnet towards water, so the sodium in the blood helps liquefy the blood. If you consume too much sodium, however, your body may hold onto extra water, increasing the volume of your blood. So if your blood pressure is high to begin with, it’s a healthy choice shy away from salty foods. Patients on any type of dialysis need to be cognizant of their salt consumption.
It must be noted that salt substitutions and “reduced sodium” foods are extremely high in potassium. Since too much potassium can be dangerous for someone with CKD, work with your dietician to find low-sodium foods that are also low in potassium. Don’t be fooled by reduced sodium labels! Foods like ham, ramen noodle, and sour plums have high sodium level while ingredients like soybean milk, unsalted butter, and rice have minimal sodium levels.
Phosphate is an element found typically in dairy products and meats, which your body utilizes to strengthen your bones and teeth. Starting in the earlier stages of chronic kidney disease, your kidneys become incapable of eliminating excess phosphate. Because too much phosphate can be detrimental to your bones, it makes sense to eat less phosphate. If your dietician prescribes a lower protein diet, it’s easier to consume less phosphate because foods high in protein tend to be high in phosphate, too. Calcium supplements can also be of value because they latch on to extra phosphate and restrict your body from absorbing it.
During the earlier stages of your kidney disease, the amount of fluids you consume is not restricted. As your kidneys become less efficient at removing waste and fluids, you may experience swelling in your ankles and legs. To combat the swelling, you will need to monitor how much you drink as well as how much you eat in your food, such as watermelon, soups, popsicles, and ice cream. Both peritoneal dialysis and hemodialysis patients will need to account for urine release, kidney function and body size.