One of the common misconceptions about plant-based diet is that it is not suitable for people with kidney disease. However, recent studies have found the opposite to be true. Following a plant-based diet in the ideal manner can lower the chances of getting kidney disease or even prevent kidney disease from becoming worse.
In this article, we explore the effectiveness of plant-based diets in handling kidney disease.
What Is A Plant-Based Diet?
A plant-based diet is primarily based on plant foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and healthy oils, all the while including animal foods like meat, eggs, fish, poultry and dairy but at minimal levels. Maximizing the consumption of plant foods and minimizing animal food consumption is the objective of a plant-based diet. To make your plant-based diet as healthy as possible, avoid processed foods like refined grains, oily snacks and sugar-sweetened beverages.
Here are some of the popular plant-based diets.
The is a diet that is typical of many Mediterranean countries like Spain and Italy. The diet is rich in grains, cereals, vegetables, fruits, nuts and beans, along with moderate amounts of olive oil, fish, cheese and a little red meat.
This a type of diet that is often recommended for people with high blood pressure. The diet limits sweets, red meat, sodium, sugary drinks and foods that contain higher amounts of cholesterol, saturated fats and trans fats.
This is the type of diet that is a combination of the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet. Berries, green leafy vegetables, nuts, fish, olive oil, beans and poultry are the main foods in this diet.
Is Plant-Based Diet Suitable For People With Early Kidney Disease?
As per many studies, you may get some benefits out of having a plant-based diet if you have early kidney disease. A plant-based diet can:
Help In Healthy Weight Management
Plant-based foods are much lower in calories when compared to animal-based foods.
Decrease blood pressure and cholesterol levels
Kidney diseases can put you at an increased risk of heart diseases and realted problems. About 50 percent of people with kidney disease eventually develop heart disease.
Kidneys are important organs that play an important role in regulating blood pressure and related things. If kidneys aren’t functioning properly, there is a possibility of developing high blood pressure.
Lower Diabetes Risk
Diabetes can worsen your kidney disease. Plant-based diets are known to help your body use insulin in a better way. Insulin is the pancreatic hormone that controls the levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood and thereby having plant based food can help you control diabetes.
Prevent Your Kidney Disease From Becoming Worse
From what is known from some studies, a plant-based diet can prevent kidney disease from getting worse by reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes and unhealthy weight gain. Kidney disease can lead to the buildup of acid in the blood that can worsen kidney disease. Limiting the consumption of animal foods will help lower the acid load and reduce the stress on the kidneys.
Improve The Levels Of Antioxidants
Antioxidants are compounds that play a key role in preventing cell damage. Some of the plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables are rich sources of antioxidants and many vital minerals required by the body.
Can You Follow A Plant-Based Diet If You Have Kidney Failure?
If you have kidney failure, you will still be able to follow a plant-based diet. However, you will need to ensure that you are getting the right nutrients in appropriate amounts from your diet.
Although plant-based diet has various health benefits, it may cause some risks for people who suffer from kidney failure. People with kidney failure are at an increased risk of malnutrition. Dialysis is one reason for this because some proteins and micronutrients like vitamin B and C are lost in the process. This is why it is important for people with kidney problems to include the right nutrient-rich food in their diet to avoid the risk of malnutrition. Your doctor might also advise you to limit fruits, vegetables and whole-grains that can control the levels of potassium and phosphorous in your body.
People with kidney failure can still continue following a plant-based diet but by making necessary changes to it.
As per the results of a recent study conducted that was on dialysis patients, those who followed a plant-based diet had:
- Lower blood pressure
- Lesser levels of inflammation
- Reduced risk of heart disease
- Improved insulin sensitivity
- Higher levels of antioxidants
There isn’t a single diet that can be recommended to everyone with kidney disease or kidney failure. Depending on the way your kidneys function, foods that you can and cannot eat will change and this can change with time. Health problems like diabetes or heart disease will also influence the list of foods that you should and shouldn’t eat.