Eat plenty of foods high in protein.
There are two kinds of protein: high quality and low quality.
- High quality (i.e. animal) protein comes from milk, meats, chicken, fish and eggs, all of which are a good source of the amino acids the body needs to build muscle and maintain healthy cells, organs and bones.
- Low quality (i.e. plant) protein comes from vegetables, breads and cereals, and lacks some of the amino acids the body needs to grow and maintain healthy cells, organs and bones.
A renal-friendly diet requires both kinds of proteins, made up of at least 50% high-quality protein. A typical renal-friendly diet should include a daily amount of meat, chicken, fish or eggs, or vegetarian choices if you are a vegan. Your renal dietitian will work with you to determine the appropriate mixture of both based on your protein needs.
Potassium is a mineral that impacts how your muscles work, whether it’s the muscles in your legs or, perhaps the most important muscle in your body, your heart. When kidneys do not function properly, potassium builds up in the blood. This can cause dangerous changes in how the heart beats, for example, which could lead to a heart attack.
Some foods high in potassium include bananas, tomato products, oranges, orange juice and potatoes. This is not to say that you can never have a glass of orange juice again. The amount of potassium allowed for your individual renal-friendly diet will be based on the level of potassium found in your blood. Work with your nephrologist and your renal dietitian to determine the best way to incorporate your favorite foods into your meal plan.