Acute Glomerulonephritis Diet


Acute glomerulonephritis is a type of disorder in which internal kidney structures that provide blood flow to nephrons that filter the urine (glomeruli) are inflamed. This impairs the kidney's ability to filter urine, allowing dangerous levels of fluid and waste accumulation in your body. Acute glomerulonephritis most commonly affects boys between the ages of 2 and 12 who are prone to frequent streptococcal infections. The primary goal during treatment is to relieve strain on the kidneys while they heal and regain functionality. Dietary changes are recommended to limit sodium, protein and fluid intake.

Low Protein Diet

Protein is restricted to decrease the kidney's workload while the kidneys heal and slow the buildup of waste in the blood. It is important to work with a registered dietitian to balance the need for less protein with sufficient protein to maintain overall good health. Select high-quality proteins such as lean meats, fish, chicken and eggs. Most calories will need to be supplied by complex carbohydrates such as whole wheat pasta, brown rice, whole grain breads and cereals, fruits and vegetables. Calories from fats should be supplied by monounsaturated fat sources such as peanut butter, avocados and olive oil and polyunsaturated fat sources such as salmon, soybeans and fish oil.

Bowl of uncooked whole wheat pasta
Bowl of uncooked whole wheat pasta (Image: DiasPhotography/iStock/Getty Images)

Decrease Salt and Potassiuim

Salt (sodium) is restricted to improve blood pressure control, limit the possibility of developing hypertension, as well as to minimize or prevent retention of fluids that leads to swelling. Potassium is restricted to avoid the development of dangerous heart rhythms. Be diligent about reading food labels to avoid foods that list salt, sodium or monosodium glutamate (MSG) near the beginning of the list. Processed cheese foods, as well as canned, pickled or smoked meats are typically high in sodium. Do not add salt while cooking. Be aware that most salt substitutes contain potassium and should be avoided. Flavor foods with lemon, herbs and spices rather than adding salt at the table.

Salt shaker next to spilt salt
Salt shaker next to spilt salt (Image: Levent Konuk/iStock/Getty Images)

Restrict Fluids

Do not consume more than 48 oz. of fluids per day to help control blood pressure and lessen the workload on the kidneys while their function is impaired. This includes soups, Jell-O and ice cream. Water soluble fiber fruits such as grapes, oranges, apples, lettuce and celery also contribute to your fluid count. Diuretics may be prescribed to help the kidneys eliminate unnecessary water and salt.

Senior man drinking a glass of water
Senior man drinking a glass of water (Image: Digital Vision/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Limit Phosphorus Intake

Acute glomerulonephritis patients may have difficulty excreting phosphorus leading of a buildup of dangerously high phosphorus levels in the body. Increased levels can lead to heart and bone disease. Phosphorus intake should be limited to between 800 and 1,000 mg per day. Phosphorus is present in dairy products such as milk, ice cream and yogurt. Peas, beans, peanut butter and nuts are also sources of phosphorus that need to be monitored. Additives containing phosphorus are routinely added to processed and fast foods to enhance flavor and extend shelf life. Avoid beverages such as cola drinks, cocoa and beer.

Milk pouring into a glass
Milk pouring into a glass (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

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