Monitor foods and medications during National Kidney Month

People with kidney disease need to be extra vigilant about their eating habits and when they take medicines for headaches or symptoms of flu or colds. Both their diets and medicinal needs should be monitored closely to avoid aggravating kidney problems and related health conditions.

Some drugs, particularly non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs commonly known as NSAIDs, can worsen a damaged kidney, according to the National Kidney Disease Education Program. They may also cause bad reactions in people with high blood pressure, edema, cardiovascular problems and diabetes, which are illnesses that are often associated with kidney disease.

During March, when National Kidney Month is observed, people should review what’s in their medicine chests. NKDEP warns that kidney damage can be temporary or permanent and can also occur in people who have normal kidneys.

The National Kidney Foundation reports that that 26 million American adults have chronic kidney disease and millions more may be at risk. To prevent the ailment from developing, the foundation encourages people to check their blood sugar if they are diabetic and monitor cholesterol and blood pressure if they have heart problems because those conditions are considered to be high risk factors.

Watch certain nutrients
Choosing to follow a diet that contains the right nutrients is especially important for people who are at risk for kidney problems. Sodium is harmful to them and should be limited in consumption by substituting foods that are low in salt. When food products contain salt levels that are more than 20 percent of the daily value recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, they are considered high in sodium.

While phosphorus and potassium may not harm people with healthy kidneys, they can be detrimental to those with a family history of kidney disease or who already have related health concerns.

For instance, many deli meats and packaged foods contain too much phosphorus for people with kidney problems. But fresh fruits and vegetables, bread, pasta and rice products are versatile alternatives with low phosphorus levels.

The same is true of potassium, which can aggravate kidney conditions. Try apples, peaches, carrots and green beans and stay away from oranges, bananas, potatoes and tomatoes for a low-potassium diet.

Dietary aids such as Sublingual B-12 from Dr. Newton’s Naturals, which keeps up energy levels and replenishes nutrients in the body, are also important to maintain a healthy immune system that keeps ailments in check.

Take care in cooking
How one cooks is just as important as what is eaten when it comes to preparing food for someone who has kidney disease. Buying fresh foods instead of processed ones is important because there’s salt added to many packaged food products. For canned vegetables and prepared frozen meals, look for those that are low in sodium or have no salt added.

Often, people add salt when cooking for flavor. But herbs and spices, both fresh and dried, can keep salt intake down while acting as flavor enhancers. Salt substitutes should not be used in cooking by people at risk for kidney disease. Excess salt in canned products can be removed by draining the water from cans of fruit, vegetables and beans as well as meats and fish.

As with diets that are heart-healthy, the eating plan for people with kidney disease should avoid fried meals. Instead, bake, roast, grill, broil or stir-fry to retain healthy nutrients without adding unnecessary fat. Use nonstick cooking sprays and olive oil instead of margarine or butter. Fat on meat and skin on poultry should be removed.

These steps will keep heart-related illnesses at bay, help overweight people lose extra pounds and at the same time reduce the opportunity for those conditions to weaken the kidneys.

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