Balanced nutrition in the prevention of chronic kidney disease

Balanced nutrition in the prevention of chronic kidney disease

On the occasion of World Kidney Day, experts provide some advice on the 'diet that helps the kidneys'

A correct lifestyle and balanced diet can help prevent kidney disease. Word of the experts who, on the occasion of World Kidney Day, provide some advice on the 'diet that helps the kidneys'.

An important aspect, because "People with kidney disease – explains Dr. Franca Pasticci, dietician at the U.O.C. of Nephrology and Dialysis of USL 1 Umbria – they never stop being on a diet and their way of eating must adapt to the severity of the disease and the various problems that may arise. For this reason the role of the dietician is irreplaceable in all phases of kidney disease and continues to be very important even during replacement treatment with dialysis or transplant ”.

The first important precaution is the lifestyle: stay active and fit; check your blood pressure and keep your blood sugar under control: "About half of people with kidney disease have diabetes", reveals Dr. Pasticci. “Diabetes is often linked to excessive body weight and reducing it is part of the therapy. It is important to measure blood sugar regularly and keep it within the right limits ”.


  • Reduce the salt and drink plenty of it
  • Proteins
  • What to eat to prevent kidney disease
  • The phosphorus
  • Potassium

Reduce the salt and drink plenty of it

Kidney disease is accompanied by increased blood pressure and it is essential to reduce the salt added in the kitchen. Instead, flavorings and spices can be used to enhance the taste. “The consumption figures show that most of the salt we introduce comes from ready-to-eat foods, in which salt is already present as an ingredient. Cold cuts, cheeses, ready meals both fresh and frozen, canned foods such as tuna, vegetables and legumes, sauces such as mayonnaise or soy sauce, bouillon cubes and meat extracts, baked goods, pizzas but also biscuits, breakfast cereals , snacks … they contain salt! Salt is in fact used to give flavor to foods, as a preservative and a pinch of salt is also used in the recipe for desserts. Contrary to what is advertised, water is not an important source of sodium and should not be a criterion for choosing a water ".

In the prevention of kidney disease, drinking enough (about 2 liters per day) allows you to eliminate the toxins produced by the metabolism and keep kidney function efficient.

Which drink to choose? "The best of all is water, even from the tap!", Assures Dr. Pasticci. “But homemade, unsweetened herbal teas and teas are fine. Instead, limit commercial drinks or fruit juices that provide unnecessary sugar (and calories); moreover, we often find additives in soft drinks that can harm the kidneys, such as phosphates or potassium ”.


The focus of diet in kidney disease is the control of the amount of protein, which varies according to the stage of the disease. They must be enough, but not too much because they contain nitrogen and the nitrogen is eliminated by the healthy kidney. Controlling the amount of protein helps keep your kidneys from overworking.

If we talk about prevention, the Mediterranean diet, rich in fruit, vegetables, even whole grains and legumes, also reduces the acidity of urine with less workload for the kidney.

What to eat to prevent kidney disease

Some simple rules can be easily adopted by everyone:

  • Eat fruits and vegetables regularly: these are foods that are low in calories and many antioxidant vitamins.
  • Consume cereals such as pasta, rice, cornmeal, bread, biscuits – both common and wholemeal – at each meal. Pasta should be cooked in a simple way, for example with vegetable sauces. Bread and baked goods are to be chosen from those less seasoned, for example: bread without salt and without oil, dry biscuits.
  • Consume at least twice a week legumes (chickpeas, beans, broad beans, lentils, peas, ..) as a source of protein. Dressed with extra virgin olive oil and accompanied by cereals, they are an excellent single dish, rich in mineral salts (iron and calcium) and vitamins.
  • Meat and fish regularly, but in controlled portions. On the contrary, it is advisable to reduce the consumption of cold cuts because they are rich in salt and in any case favor those where it is possible to eliminate visible fat.
  • Reduce the frequency of consumption of cheese or dairy products to 2-3 times a week.
  • Prefer extra virgin olive oil for seasonings and cooking, moderating the quantities and adding it, when possible, raw.
  • Watch out for those two: phosphorus and potassium

    When kidney disease is present, other nutrients may need to be monitored.

    The phosphorus

    Phosphorus in kidney disease has been called a silent killer and needs to be fought. The healthy kidney removes it, but if it is sick this does not happen and this can damage health, leading to the release of calcium from the bones causing possible fractures and pain, but also heart damage.

    Some foods contain a lot of phosphorus such as milk and derivatives; egg yolk; animal entrails… “But the greatest danger – explains Dr. Pasticci – are phosphate-based additives. Phosphates are added to foods for several reasons: to prevent lumps in doughs; improve or change the flavor and texture of food; they can be used to give a particular taste; they are useful for keeping foods longer by reducing the appearance of rancidity. They are a danger for people with kidney disease because we have no idea how much phosphorus is present in the food and because this inorganic phosphorus is absorbed 100 percent by increasing the level in the blood. So, let's learn to read the labels because additives are listed among the ingredients and we avoid buying foods with phosphates ".


    Present in almost all foods, it is a mineral salt necessary for the nourishment of cells, serves in the construction of proteins and is the current that causes our muscles, including the heart, to contract. “Like phosphorus, potassium is also eliminated by the healthy kidney – explains the dietician. But if the kidney is diseased the level in the blood can rise. Symptoms include: fatigue, muscle cramps, feeling of heavy legs and abdominal pain, but the most important damage of hyperkalaemia is on the heart and may require timely intervention ".
    "First courses such as pasta, rice, barley, corn, couscous – continues the expert – are good choices because they are foods rich in calories. But if potassium tends to rise, as in the more advanced stages of kidney disease, condiments should be considered. For example, tomatoes are among the richest vegetables in potassium. Therefore, a person who is on dialysis and who tends to have high potassium, will be able to eat pasta with tomato sauce or with other vegetables, but will have to avoid the side dish. A trick to reduce potassium in food is cooking vegetables in plenty of water that must be thrown away and not reused ".

    Defending kidney health through a balanced diet is possible!

    Tag: Diets Pathologies

    Category: Welfare
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