Studies show that there has been a surge in the number of patients as young as 25-30 years seeking dialysis. Therefore, it is essential to follow an optimal diet.
High-salt diets generally tend to alter the sodium balance in the body, causing the kidneys to malfunction and retain excess water. This process puts strain on the kidneys and may even lead to renal failure.
The kidneys, through a process of osmosis, draw excess water out of the blood, which is why it is essential to maintain a proper balance of electrolytes such as sodium and potassium in the body.
Hypertension is another key driving factor for renal failure. There is a definite correlation between salt consumption and hypertension. Excess salt consumption may lead to hypertension, which in turn can cause kidney failure. Hypertension is the second leading cause of kidney failure in India. A diet that contains more than the recommended daily quantity of sodium increases blood pressure levels.
High blood pressure gradually damages the kidneys, causing kidney failure in the long run. On the other hand, if one controls his/her level of blood pressure by regulating salt intake, the chances of developing kidney disease are minimised. So, it is imperative to regulate the sodium intake in our diet to ensure good health of the kidneys.
Eating junk food and too many cheesy, oily foods is resulting in widespread obesity and diabetes among millennials and young adults. Recent studies show that there has been a surge in the number of patients in the age group of 25-30 seeking dialysis. There-fore, it is essential to follow a diet that is optimal, flavourful and beneficial to the body. Here are a few tips to do this:
SAY ‘NO’ TO BINGE-EATING OF JUNK FOODS
Eating oily foods and food items containing high amounts of cheese, butter, sugar and salt pose a serious threat to the kidneys. The first step to revamping the diet chart is to moderate the consumption of these food items.
REGULATE DIETARY SODIUM
The advisable sodium intake is 5-6 grams per day, which is around a teaspoon of salt.
Those under dialysis or who have a history of chronic kidney disease (CKD) are strongly advised to avoid any food that contains over 250 mg of salt.
Reduce your salt in food gradually. It is easier to cut your total salt consumption little by little rather than at once.
REPLACE COLD CUTS WITH FRESH ONES
Instead of purchasing packaged or processed meats, purchase fresh cuts of chicken, pork and beef. Processed or frozen meats, such as bacon or ham, contain higher quantities of sodium, whereas fresh meat contains natural sodium, which is much less. Any food item that stays fresh for a longer period of time in the fridge is believed to have high sodium content, which is used as a preservative, and thus must be avoided.
INCLUDE FRESH FRUITS & VEGGIES
Add an array of freshly picked fruits and vegetables to your diet. They contain very little sodium and enrich overall physical well-being. While purchasing canned and frozen vegetables or fruits, ensure the label says ‘fresh frozen’ and does not contain any added seasoning or sauce.
READ LABELS RELIGIOUSLY
Globally, before purchasing food items, it is a thumb rule to read labels religiously. It is always safe to take a quick look at the ingredients before purchasing any food item. A few products contain high sugar content, which overshadows the salt proportion. Analyse several products to determine which one has the lowest sodium content. Also, while purchasing seasonings, select the ones that do not have sodium on their labels; for instance, garlic powder instead of garlic salt would be a safer choice.
When it comes to salt intake, less is certainly beneficial. Salt is an acquired taste and can be corrected. Refurbish your diet chart and align your taste buds to consume less quantities of sodium to ensure good health and a longer life.
—The writer is Consultant Nephrologist, Shreenath Clinic & NephroPlus Dialysis Center, Vadodara.
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