Ten Tips For a Kidney Friendly Holiday: Navigating the Holidays with Renal Disease

Ten Tips For a Kidney Friendly Holiday: Navigating the Holidays with Renal Disease

Kidney Disease, Renal Diet
Marika Wamback, BSc. R.D. Renal Dietitian | Ten Tips For a Kidney Friendly Holiday: Navigating the Holidays with Renal Disease Lights, decorations, songs, parties, food, family, and friends are all part of the holiday traditions.  Instead of fun and joy, kidney disease can bring a sense of dread and deprivation.  It seems like there’s food everywhere, and it can feel overwhelming to try and manage it.  The hardest part can be at family gatherings, where well-meaning loved ones may encourage that extra ‘bite or two’. Here are ten tips to keep the joy in the holiday season: Treats 1. Choose your treat items wisely.  The 80/20 rule can be very helpful.  Pick the treats you know you REALLY love, be selective on the amount, and enjoy them.  Don’t waste your…
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Daily Intake of Sugar — How Much Should I be Consuming?

Daily Intake of Sugar — How Much Should I be Consuming?

Kidney Disease, Sugar
Stephanie Legin, RD, LDN Renal Dietitian | Sugarcane was introduced to the Caribbean by Christopher Columbus in 1493.  Since then, the sugar industry flourished and sugar has become a major factor in the growth of the food industry. This has resulted in  the overconsumption of added sugars in the American diet. Carbohydrates Carbohydrates (CHO's) are an essential nutrient to human life.  There are two categories of CHO’s; complex and simple.  Complex CHO’s actually contain carbohydrate plus  fiber.  Most of our CHO consumption should be from complex CHO’s. Simple ­CHO’s  contain no fiber and are responsible for the sweet taste in many foods.  Sugar is a simple CHO and has 4 "empty" calories per teaspoon, which means it contains no nutritional value.  Due to its negligible nutritional content, simple sugar should be…
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Sweeten Your Day the Kidney Friendly Way

Sweeten Your Day the Kidney Friendly Way

Sugar
Stephanie Legin, RD, LDN Renal Dietitian | Who doesn’t love to indulge in some sweet treats now and again?  For people with chronic kidney disease (CKD), choosing a renal friendly treat is important. There are many sweet options out there, but some can be too high in phosphorus and potassium, which are limited and/or restricted on the kidney diet. Many popular candies contain chocolate and nuts, both of which contain phosphorus and potassium. Since people with kidney disease may have trouble removing excess phosphorus and potassium from their blood, it can be dangerous. Too much phosphorus can cause a person with kidney disease (especially later stages) bone and heart problems, low blood calcium, and the hardening of tissues. That is why it is important to look for candies that have <160 mg phosphorus per serving. Potassium…
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Whole Foods and Kidney Disease

Whole Foods and Kidney Disease

Kidney Disease, Whole Foods
Stephanie Legin, RD, LDN Renal Dietitian | What is a “Whole” Food? A whole food is defined as a “food with little or no refining or processing and contains no artificial additives or preservatives; natural or organic food”. Real, whole food is the key to a healthy diet and overall good health; processed food is not.  When you eat whole foods, you're consuming food in its natural state, intact, with all of the fiber, vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, phytochemicals and other nutrients that are in the food.  Basically, it's the healthy unadulterated food, rather than the bits that remain after refinement and processing. Processing includes any alteration of a food from its natural state such as peeling, slicing, cooking, dehydrating, preserving, frying, freezing and roasting.   The harder it is to tell what the…
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10 Nutrient-Rich “Superfoods” for the Kidney Diet

10 Nutrient-Rich “Superfoods” for the Kidney Diet

Kidney Disease, Renal Diet
Stephanie Legin, RD, LDN Renal Dietitian | What Are “Superfoods”? “Superfoods” are unprocessed whole foods that contain plentiful amounts of antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins, and minerals that have been shown to have protective health benefits.   For people with kidney disease and everyone else, incorporating foods high in antioxidants on a daily basis may help prevent or slow the progression of other chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s that are caused by oxidative stress. Antioxidants to combat inflammation Individuals at any stage of renal disease have a greater risk of oxidative stress and inflammation than individuals with healthy kidneys.   Research shows a strong correlation of increased oxidative stress with the degree of renal failure.  Antioxidants help to neutralize harmful molecules called free radicals that contribute to oxidative stress.  Free…
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Calcium And Kidneys: Finding a Balance For CKD Patients

Calcium And Kidneys: Finding a Balance For CKD Patients

Kidney Disease, Renal Diet
 Stephanie Legin, RD, LDN Renal Dietitian | Calcium And Kidneys The kidneys provide many functions essential to human life, such as maintaining healthy bones by balancing calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood (and ensuring that vitamin D is activated to help absorb that calcium). Individuals with kidney disease have a reduced ability to regulate that delicate balance. If blood calcium levels drop too low, calcium is taken from bones to restore levels.  This can lead to renal osteodystrophy, a bone disease. Alternatively, if blood calcium levels go too high, calcium deposits can develop, leading to heart disease. In a study published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, people with moderate to advanced kidney disease (not yet on dialysis) with abnormally high or low blood calcium levels…
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The Value of a Personalized Kidney Diet

The Value of a Personalized Kidney Diet

Kidney Disease, Renal Diet
Kelly Welsh, RD Renal Dietitian One of the largest frustrations of kidney patients, no matter their stage of kidney disease, is the lack of choices, or “green-light” foods that are available to them. One can certainly 'Google' the internet for a kidney-friendly diet and find plenty of limit-, avoid-, and “stay away from-” food items. The Truth In reality, most kidney patients do not require the severe restrictions that the textbook kidney diet dictates.  These blanket dietary recommendations do not take into consideration many things about you: height, weight, other disease states, current lab results, and other dietary goals - including weight loss or gain, etc.  Each one of these things, alone, is extremely important. Start adding them up, and your dietary needs get more complicated. No two people should…
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Unsaturated Fats and Kidney Disease

Unsaturated Fats and Kidney Disease

Fat
                  Ann Haibeck, RD, LDN Renal Dietitian Decoding Unsaturated Fats Unsaturated fats are generally healthier than saturated fats and trans fats; the National Kidney Foundation and American Heart Association recommend consuming mostly unsaturated fats. These types of fats are more likely to reduce inflammation and promote heart health than saturated fats. Unsaturated fats can be categorized as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated fats can further be classified as omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids. So what do each of these mean for your health as a kidney patient? Monounsaturated Fats Kidney patients are known to have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease when compared with people without kidney disease. Monounsaturated fats are known to decrease LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol), thereby lowering the risk…
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Fats and Kidney Disease

Fats and Kidney Disease

Fat, Renal Diet
                  Ann Haibeck, RD, LDN Renal Dietitian The Facts About Fat and Kidney Disease In the modern food environment, high-fat foods surround us everywhere in fast food chains, restaurants, and grocery stores. But are all fats bad for us? The answer is no. In fact, certain fats can actually provide extra benefits to our bodies and have anti-inflammatory effects, which can especially help people with kidney disease. The aim of this article is to increase your understanding of why fats are important, and highlight the most kidney-friendly sources of healthy fats. Why are Fats Important? Fats, also referred to as lipids, are crucial molecules for our bodies. Fat contributes to the structure of cells in our bodies and helps us absorb fat-soluble…
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High Blood Pressure and Diet: The Connection

High Blood Pressure and Diet: The Connection

High Blood Pressure, Kidney Disease
Ann Haibeck, RD, LDN Renal Dietitian High Blood Pressure and Diet: What’s the Connection? Kidney patients often experience elevated blood pressure, also known as hypertension. Your doctor may prescribe medication to treat your blood pressure, but your food choices can be just as important as taking your medication. Salty and highly processed foods often provide more salt (sodium) than we need in our diets, which can increase blood pressure readings. High blood pressure can put excess stress on blood vessels, including those that lead to the kidneys and other vital organs. Sodium Guidelines The American Heart Association recommends eating no more than 2,300mg of sodium per day, with 1,500mg per day or less being ideal. The National Kidney Foundation recommends 2,500mg to 3,800 mg of sodium daily for patients on…
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