The kidneys are true all-rounders, the organs clean the blood, balance the water and salt balance and regulate the acid and base balance, ensure strong bones and control the production of red blood cells. Kidney health can be promoted with the right diet.
According to the German Kidney Foundation on its website, there are around five to ten million people living with chronic kidney disease in Central Europe. But many don’t even know about it. A recent report by the German Society for Nephrology (DGfN) reports on which diet can help protect kidney health.
reduce salt consumption
Salt increases blood pressure and high blood pressure (hypertension) damages the kidneys. The German Society for Nutrition (DGE) recommends no more than 6 grams of salt (approx. 1 teaspoon) per day, but the average consumption in Central Europe is far higher at 10 grams for men and 8.4 grams for women.
Anyone who now thinks, “That can’t be the case with me, I don’t add much salt” should consider how much “hidden salt” is consumed. Because salt is also contained in numerous foods such as bread, cheese, sausage, ready meals, canned food, cornflakes, juices and sweets.
The recommended maximum daily amount is quickly reached, for example with a frozen salami pizza.
Avoid phosphate-rich foods
Another kidney toxin are phosphates – they are found in high concentrations in so-called highly processed foods, i.e. in ready meals, canned goods, sausage products, processed cheese and also in cola.
“Healthy kidneys can excrete phosphates, but slightly damaged kidneys can no longer – and we know that a high phosphate concentration in the blood causes further damage to the kidneys,” explains Prof. Dr. Julia Weinmann-Menke, press officer of the DGfN. “Anyone who has the onset of kidney disease accelerates its progression with a phosphate-rich diet.”
Fresh high-fiber mixed foods
The dietary recommendations for kidney protection can be summarized simply as “Healthy, high-fiber mixed food, freshly prepared and made from ingredients that have not been industrially processed.” This would save a large proportion of phosphate and salt without really having to do without.
Not necessarily vegetarian
From a medical point of view, a kidney-healthy diet does not necessarily have to be vegetarian or vegan. “You can also eat a vegetarian diet that is very unhealthy, namely if you don’t eat enough fresh, unprocessed food,” says Dr. Suzanne Fleig.
“Meat substitutes on the supermarket shelf contain a lot of phosphates and other unhealthy additives. Even nut nougat creams are vegan, but not healthy,” says the expert.
“Or noodles: definitely vegetarian. But if you then z. Eating with ketchup, for example, is still vegetarian, but unhealthy. That means the composition of what you eat is crucial.”
A high proportion of the diet should be (fresh and) plant-based – but “plant-based” does not automatically mean completely avoiding animal foods. (ad)