Sweet tea brimming with sugar, chicken coated in batter and deep-fried, collard greens dripping with bacon grease. These are just some of the most infamous foods commonly associated with Southern cuisine in the U.S. Not only are the cooking methods typically used in preparing Southern dishes pretty unhealthy for peoples’ cholesterol levels, blood pressure and cardiovascular health, they may also be a downright death sentence for people living with kidney disease.
The latest research published in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases has found that eating a ‘Southern-style’ diet could be connected to as much as a 50% greater mortality risk over a six-year period for kidney disease sufferers. The researchers behind the study indicated that the most likely reason for this lies in the impaired kidneys’ ability to filter out the high levels of sugars and fats associated with typical Southern dishes. Researchers were able to determine that participants who primarily ate processed and fried foods, sweetened beverages and organ meats (staples of Southern eating) were in the most danger.
Conversely, the researchers did note that a diet high in fruits and vegetables could reduce that mortality risk by approximately 25%. This troubling revelation only adds to a growing body of evidence highlighting the connecting between Southern cuisine and poor health outcomes. By the same token, a diet high in fruits and vegetables appears to reduce the risk of death by nearly a quarter in kidney patients, according to the study published online this month in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases.
Kidney disease is often co-morbid with heart disease and stroke, risks which are further exacerbated by eating an unhealthy diet. Changing your diet to one rich in fresh fruits and vegetables can have a significant impact on your health, wherever you fall on the kidney disease spectrum.
Healthy eating, doesn’t necessarily mean you have to sacrifice the food you love. Try for substitutions that are similar enough to what you enjoy eating, but prepared in healthier fashions and with better quality ingredients. Instead of sweet tea, try tea flavored with stevia. Instead of frying, try baking. Instead of butter and breadcrumbs, try extra-virgin olive oil and ground-up organic cereals. Every little switch you make can be a step toward better health and a better outcome for your kidney disease!