As 2017 becomes a not-so-distant memory, you may be setting your sights on what the horizon holds for you in terms of diets, and if you have kidney disease, this is doubly important as we know what goes into your body is of vital importance to how effectively each part can do its job, especially the kidneys.
What was all the rage in 2017 for many dieters was the Mediterranean Diet, and this well-balanced system of eating shows no signs of slowing down with many people opting for it to shed their winter pounds as a part of their resolutions. But how well does the Mediterranean Diet work for people living with kidney disease?
As we’ve mentioned before in many articles and will continue to state, veggies are your friends! When it comes to kidney disease, a vegetarian diet is ideal. The Mediterranean Diet is not wholly vegetarian, but a large part of it is comprised of vegetarian options.
Think lots of:
• Leafy green salads brimming with vegetables
• Whole grains, like couscous
• Olive oil
• (Moderate) drinks of red wine
• Fresh fruits, especially grapes
The protein content provided by the Mediterranean Diet typically comes from smaller amounts of poultry, fish and dairy along with beans and nuts.
What’s so appealing about this diet is that it’s not as dramatic in its restrictions as some other diets out there. Meaning you can still find a way to enjoy your favorites, so long as you moderate your amounts and keep your meals well-balanced. Some more benefits when it comes to the Mediterranean Diet include how heart-healthy and brain-healthy it is as well as how good it is for cancer prevention and weight loss. This is especially good news for those prone to conditions such as obesity and/or diabetes. As we reported in a previous article, there is a close link between kidney disease and diabetes that goes both ways, with the presence of either disease being indicative of a potential risk for the other. Keeping your heart healthy and your weight at an ideal level for your height is immensely important when it comes to keeping these risks low.
Another great diet which enjoyed some newfound popularity in 2017, making 15th place in U.S. News’ List of Best Overall Diets and which seems to be gaining ground in 2018 is the Nutritarian Diet. This diet was developed by physician Joel Fuhrman and is centered around plant-based foods.
Nutritarian Diet’s 4 Core Principles
• Nutrient Density, foods like cruciferous veggies, kale, mustard greens, spinach and collard greens.
• Nutrient Adequacy, consuming foods that contain the daily recommended value of all the healthiest vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids, again, lots of veggies!
• Toxin Avoidance, avoiding foods that are processed, foods that contain carcinogenic and/or chemical compounds which can be damaging to health.
• Hormonal Favorability, entails reducing animal proteins and choosing carbohydrates that have a low glycemic index score. This can help limit artery hardening and fat storage.
Combining the right amount of micronutrients and macronutrients can ideally help the body’s aging process slow and ensure that the body is functioning at its healthiest. This plant-rich diet is wonderful for kidney disease sufferers as it encourages the body to heal itself and uses the logical approach that we all too often forget, food is fuel. The premium fuel powers your vehicle better and that’s what healthy foods are, so why would you ‘fill up’ with anything else?
The course of kidney disease is heavily connected to which diet you regularly follow. That being said, there are also certain dietary no-no’s you should try to avoid. Diets like the ketogenic diet, which were popular amongst dieters are absolutely not a good idea for kidney disease sufferers as studies have shown that the no-carb, high-fat approach is too extreme and harsh on the kidneys and, although it may help you lose weight, it can also further damage your kidneys. Any diet high in fats, processed foods and other chemical, sugar-laden junk is, it goes without saying, not good for anyone and for kidney disease sufferers this statement rings doubly true. So be sure to put your best foot forward this new year, you are what you eat, so only eat the highest quality foods and you’ll see how your kidneys thank you!