Some 26 million Americans suffer from Chronic Kidney Disease (CDK), but experts predict this number will rise due to high obesity rates (approximately one-third of all adults) and high blood pressure. Both of these are risk factors for CKD. The aging of baby boomers will also increase this number because age over 60 is also a risk factor for CKD, making kidney disease a very important issue for seniors.
Most people have no symptoms until CKD is advanced. If you wait until you have symptoms to be tested, you’ve waited too long. Therefore, taking care of overall health should not be postponed. Wise practices for seniors include exercising regularly, a low-salt diet, controlling weight, monitoring blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels, not smoking, drinking moderately, avoiding non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and getting an annual physical.
For spring cleaning, start in the kitchen to take steps toward kidney health. Get ready to clear out some common grocery items that could be wrecking your kidneys. The kidneys work 24/7 to clean out toxins in the body, so keep them healthy by cleaning out your kitchen. Now is the perfect time to trash the following:
SALT SHAKER. Believe it or not, Americans today consume 50% more than the recommended daily amount of sodium. Diets high in sodium increase blood pressure levels and high blood pressure damages the kidneys over time. It’s 2,300 mg of sodium (or 1 teaspoon of salt) per day that should be the limit.
RED MEAT. High protein diets, especially those containing large quantities of animal protein, may harm the kidneys. Red meat is also high in saturated fat—another no–no.
SODA. Sugar-sweetened beverages, such as sodas are high calorie and contain no nutritious value. These beverages are linked to the presence of protein in the urine, one of the earliest signs of kidney disease. Colas also have phosphorus
additives which can harm the kidneys.
PROCESSED FOOD. Crackers, potato chips, deli meats, cheese spreads, instant potato mix are all examples of processed foods that are high in sodium and phosphorus additives — both which can have negative effects on the kidneys.
SUGAR. An overdose of sugar can lead to health problems such as diabetes and obesity. As these are risk factors for kidney disease, eliminating or reducing sugar intake can reduce your kidney risk as well.
With CKD, there are many dietary considerations and options. On the Internet, search for “kidney friendly recipes” to discover a wealth of helpful information. Start with our own Calabash Cookbook at www.kidneyhi.org/index.php?cid=16. Pay special attention to foods recommended for kidney patients and consult an expert if you are already diagnosed with CKD, because diets are especially critical for different stages of the disease.