For most people with kidney disease, fiber doesn’t come to mind when thinking of improving their kidney health. However, lots of research has been published showing how fiber, a natural substance in plants, can give the kidneys an extra boost and improve kidney function.
Two studies published in the Kidney International Journal showed that a high dietary fiber intake is associated with lower risk of inflammation and mortality in kidney disease. Dietary fiber also has the ability to reduce inflammation and all cause mortality in chronic kidney disease.
Another recent study published in the Journal of Renal Nutrition in May 2013 conclude that increasing fiber intake in CKD patients through the consumption of foods with added fiber (supplemental fiber) can reduce serum creatinine levels and improve eGFR.
These two studies show that adequate fiber intake is crucial to helping your kidney disease. By reducing inflammation in the kidney, in turn the kidney can function better.
This is amazing news for anyone with kidney disease. By just adding fiber in your diet through the foods you eat, and any supplements can positively improve your kidney function.
What is Fiber
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body can’t breakdown and digest, and passes through the body undigested. Fiber has many health benefits from regulating the body’s use of sugars and lowering cholesterol to keeping blood sugar in check and helping the kidneys to function better.
Fiber comes in two varieties, both beneficial to health
Soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Solube fiber dissolves in water, and is found in foods such as oatmeal, nuts, beans, apples and berries.
Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water, and can help move food through your digestive system. It prevents constipation, by regulating the digestive system. Foods with insoluble fibers include whole grains, legumes, carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes.
High Fiber Intake and Health Benefits Beyond The Kidneys
Consuming a high fiber diet has tremendous health benefits, including reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, preventing weight gain, colon cancer, breast cancer and Type II diabetes. Fiber has also been shown to lower cholesterol, often a problem in kidney disease, along with improving digestive problems. Fiber also contains high amounts of vitamins, minerals and additional nutrients.
Start by including more fiber rich foods in your diet. If you have kidney disease you should be careful when choosing fiber rich foods. Ideally, low potassium foods that are fiber rich are kidney friendly and the preferred foods.
Fiber Rich Foods That Are Safe For Kidney Disease:
You not only want to consume more of these fiber rich foods to boost your kidney health, but you want to consume enough to provide maximum benefit.
We recommend consuming 25-50 grams of fiber every day. These amounts can be hard to reach depending on how much fruits and vegetables you are consuming. To make it easier you can also consider taking fiber supplements, which come in pill and powder form.
Fiber Side Effects and Kidney Disease
A side effect of fiber supplements is that they can cause gas and bloating. To reduce this:
- Begin gradually increasing the amounts of fiber in your diet
- Switch to a different fiber source if you find that the fiber supplement you are consuming is causing digestive discomfort such as excessive gas and bloating.
These are some simple tips to improve your kidney function, with your next meal, no matter what your kidney disease issue is.
Salmean, Y.A., Segal, M.S., Langkamp-Henken, B., Canales, M.T., Zello, G.A., Dahl, W.J. (2013) Foods with added fiber lower serum creatinine levels in patients with chronic kidney disease. Journal of Renal Nutrition, 23(2), 29-32.
Krishnamurthy, V.M., Wei, G., Baird, B.C., Murtaugh, M., Chonchol, M.B., Raphael, K.L., Greene, T., & Beddhu, S. (2012). High dietary fiber intake is associated with decreased inflammation and all-cause mortality in patients with chronic kidney disease. Kidney International, 81(3), 300-306.