Patients who have chronic kidney disease may be advised to make dietary changes that will help to control the amounts of calories, protein and sodium that are consumed. Using renal diet recipes can help kidney disease patients avoid consuming too many of the foods that can cause fluid retention, elevated blood pressure and increased workload on the kidneys.
Reducing Sodium Intake
Too much sodium can lead to hypertension (high blood pressure) and fluid retention, which can cause swelling, discomfort and even shortness of breath if it is severe. The National Kidney Foundation has a cookbook that includes renal diet recipes that help kidney disease patients reduce the amount of sodium they consume. In addition to using salt substitutes, the National Kidney Foundation recommends using seasonings and spices that do not contain sodium to add flavor to food. Some spices and seasonings that can be used include cinnamon, dill, ginger, parsley, mustard powder, sage and thyme.
Sodium intake can also be reduced by avoiding foods that are high in sodium. The National Kidney Foundation lists smoked meats, processed cheeses, chips, pretzels and salted nuts as having high levels of sodium. Even foods that do not have a salty taste can be high in sodium. These foods include relishes, steak sauces, packaged and processed foods, and restaurant foods. Preparing meals at home with fresh ingredients can help kidney disease patients avoid consuming too much sodium.
Controlling Protein Intake
According to the National Institutes of Health, a low-protein diet is used to help people with kidney disease slow the progression of the condition. Reducing protein intake can help to decrease the workload on the kidneys, so using recipes for low-protein dishes can help to better manage chronic kidney disease. NIH information on the renal diet shows that kidney disease patients should get most of their calories from complex carbohydrates. Because a low-protein diet can lead to vitamin deficiency, loss of some of the essential amino acids, and deficiencies in calcium and iron, kidney disease patients should consult with a doctor or dietitian to determine if nutritional supplements are needed.
Renal Diet Recipes
Patients with kidney disease should work with a registered dietitian or nutritionist to devise a meal plan that provides adequate nutrition without overloading the kidneys with protein or sodium. Several cookbooks are available specifically for people who are looking for renal diet recipes. The National Kidney Foundation cookbook is called "Living Well on Dialysis" and is available online. For cooks who prefer cookbooks in hard copy format, there is also a renal diet cookbook called Cooking for David: A Culinary Dialysis Cookbook. It can be purchased from major bookstores and online retailers. The recipes in these books have been tested and are suitable for kidney disease patients who need to control their intake of protein, sodium and calories.