A CKD diagnosis means that the kidneys typically have some permanent damage that can progress through multiple stages. These stages can lead progressively toward “end stage renal failure” if not managed well.
Regardless of where you are in the process, whether at Stage 1, Stage 5, or somewhere in between a Registered Dietitian will be able to help you plan meals and menus that slow the process. (All posts on 2YourHealth are either authored or edited by an RD, which is important. If you have CKD, we would encourage you strongly to seek the personal help of an RD in your area.)
As you progress through the stages of the disease, eating becomes progressively more important and more limited. Specifically, in Stages 1-5, various nutrients will be potentially limited to protect the kidneys including protein, fluids, sodium, potassium, phosphorus and magnesium.
And why does this matter? Eating well for your kidneys can significantly slow your disease progression and protect them from further damage.
How To Improve Kidney Function In 5 Steps
- Eat a healthy diet that is low in salt and low in fat. Meals should include mostly fresh foods focusing heavily on vegetables and fruits mindful of potassium coupled with lean protein and whole grains. Processed foods typically use salt not only as a seasoning but also as a preservative. Be aware that processed foods also may contain high levels of phosphorus. Your best guideline is to eat fresh.
- Maintain a healthy weight by watching what foods you eat and the portion size.
- Exercise every day of the week for at least 25 minutes total even if you have to do this in multiple sessions — if you need to walk on every break and lunch to achieve this goal, then do it!
- Watch your blood sugar if you are a diabetic; it matters since 1 in 3 diabetics have chronic kidney disease and diabetes is a primary cause of CKD.
- Maintain a normal blood pressure of 120/80 or lower since high blood pressure is also associated with the development and progression of CKD.