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DASH Diet For Better Kidney Health
Boldsky | 14th Mar, 2019 11:30 AM

Your kidneys play a critical and central role in maintaining your health. A healthy kidney is necessary for the daily workings of your body, as well as in maintaining your general health and well being. Reports point out the harsh reality that about 10% of the population worldwide is affected by chronic kidney disease (CKD) and millions die each year. As per the 2010 Global Burden of Disease study, CKD was ranked 27th in the list of causes of the total number of deaths worldwide in 1990, but tragically rose to 18th by the year 2010 , .

Therefore, it is necessary that you have a kidney-friendly meal plan, be it to save your kidneys from succumbing to the ailments or to improve the functioning of an already affected kidney. You must incorporate foods that are rich in potassium, phosphorus, calcium, protein and sodium - the nutrients necessary for the well-functioning of your kidneys. And that is where you come across the DASH diet - the ultimate answer for your troubles with kidney health .

On this World Kidney Day (14 March), get to know more about the DASH diet, that could be your saviour - shielding your kidneys from ailments.

What Is The DASH Diet?

Among the plethora of diet plans introduced, the DASH diet is one of the most effective diet plans [4]. Designed for combating blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart disease, the diet is beneficial currently considering the rampant hike in the number of individuals suffering from heart disease, kidney failure and stroke .

Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension or DASH diet was developed with the intention of preventing or treat hypertension (high blood pressure) and to reduce the risk of heart diseases in individuals who suffer from hypertension. The diet focuses on the incorporation of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean meat into one's daily diet .

As per the researchers' understanding, people who followed diets rich in vegetables (plant-based diets), such as vegans and vegetarians had a low risk of developing high blood pressure. This was considered while developing the diet, which can be witnessed in the diet's emphasis on fruits and vegetables as well as lean protein sources like chicken, fish and beans. DASH diet does not advise the intake of red meat, added sugars, fat and salt. The low consumption of salt, promoted by the DASH diet is beneficial for people with high blood pressure , .

Apart from reducing blood pressure, the DASH diet is asserted to have a positive impact in weight loss, decreasing cancer risk, lowering metabolic syndrome risk, reducing the risk of diabetes as well as heart disease risks. In the current article, we will view the applicability of the DASH diet for better kidney health and the ways through which it can impact individuals suffering from kidney diseases .

Impact Of DASH Diet On Kidney Health

Recommended by the National Kidney Foundation and approved by The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, The American Heart Association, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans - the DASH diet is asserted to have a positive impact on your kidney health. The diet is a recognised treatment for kidney diseases, as it can effectively slow down the progression of kidney diseases. DASH diet helps in reducing your blood pressure, which subsequently helps in improving your kidney health and restricting the onset of many diseases .

Rich in potassium and calcium, and containing a moderate amount of sodium, the DASH diet is optimal for your kidneys. A study conducted on exploring the relation between DASH diet and kidney health revealed that as the diet is high in fruits and vegetables, moderate in low-fat dairy products, and low in animal protein helps in kidney stone prevention .

Consuming plenty (controlled and balanced) of vegetables and fruits can aid by preventing the formation of kidney stones. The study pointed out that, the increased consumption of these increases urinary citrate (an inhibitor of calcium stone formation). Also, it has a normal to high calcium content but low animal protein and sodium level, thereby decreasing the risk of calcium oxalate stone recurrence .

Individuals who consume nuts and legumes were reported to have lower risks of developing chronic kidney diseases. The DASH diet has very low dietary acid load than typical diets, which is linked with reduced risk of kidney diseases. It does not cause any inflammation as well. Likewise, the diet has been proven to reduce the levels of uric acid (a substance linked to increased CKD risk). Studies have revealed that urate-lowering therapies are beneficial for improving kidney function which supports the claim that uric acid can be responsible for kidney diseases. The diet can significantly lower the uric acid levels, especially among adults suffering from hyperuricemia .

In a study conducted by the American Journal of Kidney Diseases, it was asserted that following the DASH diet can help in reducing the risks of developing kidney ailments . However, the study states that it is increasingly beneficial in the case of individuals with normal weight and not obese . The research results pointed out that the participants who ate few fruits, vegetables and nuts, and consumed more red meat and sodium had a 16 per cent (more) chances of developing kidney diseases in comparison to the ones with high DASH scores; that is, individuals who ate more vegetables, nuts, fruits etc., and less of the unhealthy items such as sugar, meat etc.

DASH diet is beneficial for kidney health because of its ability to reduce blood pressure, as hypertension has been linked to kidney disease. And as aforementioned, the other reason for the positive impact is asserted to be due to the dietary acid load in the foods people eat, or the overall acidity of the foods in a DASH diet . High acid foods include meats and cheeses and low acid foods include fruits and vegetables.

Consequently, the proteins from the lean meat may pose risks to your kidney but is overshadowed by the proteins from vegetables and fruits. In comparison to the number of vegetables and fruits to be consumed as per the DASH diet, the amount of meat and meat products are remarkably low. This can be attributed to the understanding that the possibility of damage caused by meat can be overcome by that of the vegetables and fruits [16]. One thing most of the studies held in common was that it is always better to incorporate healthy eating habits before the onset of the diseases than after.

If you are already suffering from chronic kidney disease, consult your doctor and your dietician before starting the DASH diet .

Important note: The DASH diet should not be used by people on dialysis, as individuals on dialysis have special dietary needs that should be discussed with a registered dietitian .

DASH Diet For Kidney Health

The diet does not demand the consumption of certain types of food but however recommends specific servings of different foods. The number of servings according to the types of food per day, in accordance with the DASH diet are mentioned below .

1. Vegetables: 4 to 5 servings per day

DASH diet allows the consumption of all types of vegetables.

For instance, ½ cup or about 45 grams of sliced vegetables (raw or cooked) like broccoli, carrots, squash or tomatoes.

2. Fruits: 4 to 5 servings per day

DASH diet requires you to consume fruits in large quantities. Include peaches, types of berries, pineapple, mango and apples.

For instance, 1 medium apple, ¼ cup (50 grams) of dried apricots, and ½ cup (30 grams) of peaches.

3. Whole grains: 6 to 8 servings per day

You can include whole-wheat or whole-grain bread, whole-grain breakfast cereals, brown rice, quinoa and oatmeal in your daily diet.

For instance, 1 slice of whole-grain bread, 1 ounce (28 grams) of dry, whole-grain cereal and ½ cup (95 grams) of cooked rice, pasta or cereal.

4. Dairy products: 2 to 3 servings per day

Include low-fat dairy products such as skim milk and low-fat cheese and yoghurt.

For instance, 1 cup (240 ml) of low-fat milk, 1 cup (285 grams) of low-fat yoghurt and 1.5 ounces (45 grams) of low-fat cheese.

5. Nuts, seeds and legumes: 4 to 5 servings per week

Include almonds, walnuts, peanuts, kidney beans, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, lentils and split peas.

For instance, 1/3 cup (50 grams) of nuts, 2 tablespoons (40 grams) of nut butter, 2 tablespoons (16 grams) of seeds, and ½ cup (40 grams) of cooked legumes.

6. Lean chicken, meat and fish: 6 or fewer servings per day

Include lean cuts of meat and try to avoid red meat. If you want to consume red meat, do it occasionally (not more than twice a week).

For instance, 1 ounce (28 grams) of cooked meat, chicken or fish and 1 egg.

7. Fats and oils: 2 to 3 servings per day

Make sure that you use vegetable oils and not any other. You can include margarine and oils like canola, corn, olive or safflower. You can include low-fat mayonnaise and light salad dressing too.

For instance, 1 teaspoon (4.5 grams) of soft margarine, 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon (15 grams) of mayonnaise, and 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of salad dressing.

8. Candy and added sugars: 5 or fewer servings per week

Control the consumption of sugar and avoid candies, soda and table sugar.

For instance, 1 tablespoon (12.5 grams) of sugar, 1 tablespoon (20 grams) of jelly or jam and 1 cup (240 ml) of lemonade.

DASH Diet Sample Menu For Kidney Health

As the diet requires one to consume 2,000 calories per day, you can look into the following diet sample so as to gather an understanding of how to begin the diet .

Breakfast: 1 cup (90 grams) of oatmeal with 1 cup (240 ml) of skim milk, ½ cup (75 grams) of strawberries and ½ cup (120 ml) of fresh orange juice.

Snack: 1 medium apple and 1 cup (285 grams) of low-fat yoghurt.

Lunch: 3 ounces (85 grams) of lean chicken breast with 2 cups (150 grams) of green salad, 1.5 ounces (45 grams) of low-fat cheese and 1 cup (190 grams) of brown rice.

Snack: 1 medium banana.

Dinner: 3 ounces (85 grams) of salmon cooked in 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of vegetable oil with 1 cup (300 grams) of boiled potatoes and 1.5 cups (225 grams) of boiled vegetables.

DASH Diet Recipes For Kidney Health 1. Avocado dip (appetiser)

Ingredients

  • ½ cup fat-free sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons chopped onion
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and mashed

Directions

  • In a bowl, combine sour cream, onion, hot sauce and avocado.
  • Mix well and evenly.
  • Serve with baked tortilla chips or sliced vegetables.
2. Herb-crusted baked cod (main course)

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup herb flavoured stuffing
  • 4 cod fillets, each 4 ounces
  • ¼ cup honey

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 375 °F.
  • Lightly coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
  • Place stuffing in a bag and seal.
  • Crush until it has a crumb texture.
  • Brush the fillets with honey.
  • Place a fillet in the bag of stuffing and shake the bag gently to coat the cod evenly.
  • Then, place the fillet on the baking dish and repeat with the remaining fillets.
  • Bake until the fish is opaque throughout (for about 10 minutes).
  • Serve immediately.
   
 
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