Not Eating Enough Fruits and Vegetables Speeds Kidney Disease Progression

According to the recent self-administered diet history questionnaire (DHQ) completed by outpatients in Japan’s Niigata University Hospital, dietary acid load which is the balance of acid-inducing foods, such as meats, eggs, cheese and cereal grains, and base-inducing foods, such as fruits and vegetables can directly impact the rate at which CKD progresses.

The study assessed the dietary habits of questionnaire recipients, who disclosed their daily intake of different food groups. Those who ate fewer fruits and vegetables exhibited much lower eGFR scores which correlated with their higher dietary acid levels. Conversely, those who ate more fruits and vegetables (especially green and yellow kinds), had better eGFR scores and their chronic kidney disease progressed at a much slower rate. 

These findings also shed light on the importance of combating metabolic acidosis in chronic kidney disease sufferers. Metabolic acidosis is cited as being one of the risk factors for developing end-stage renal disease, so maintaining a healthy acid-alkaline balance is vital to keeping your kidney function from further decline. People at risk of developing metabolic acidosis should try to avoid animal products such as meats and cheeses as much as possible, because these specifically are converted to sulfates in the body and exert an acidifying effect. 

Eating more plant products, fruits and vegetables have an alkalizing effect (due to their bicarbonate precursors and mineral cations) which is much more favorable to ongoing kidney health. The researchers saw similar benefits from administration of sodium bicarbonate supplementation, which has likewise been connected to significant delays in kidney disease progression.

Taking this data into account, it’s definitely advised that those people living with chronic kidney disease make it a point to get more vegetables and fruits in their diet (of course, also bearing potassium/protein/phosphorous content in mind). 

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