Abnormal amounts of protein appear in the urine when the kidneys are damaged; it's a key indicator of kidney disease. Previous studies have shown that fish and fish oil consumption decrease protein in the urine, increase glucose tolerance, decrease fats in the blood, and lower blood pressure -- all benefits to people with diabetes.
While there is no cure for the disease, a balanced diet and a lifestyle that includes regular exercise and weight loss for those who are overweight or obese helps slow the progression of complications. The EPIC-Norfolk Study, conducted from 1993 to 1997, involved 22,384 mostly white middle-aged and older men and women, 517 of whom had diabetes.
Urine tests and dietary-lifestyle questionnaires led to the finding that those with diabetes who on average ate less than one serving of fish each week were four times likelier to have macroalbuminuria (abnormally high levels of protein in the urine) than those who eat fish regularly. For the people without diabetes in the study, eating fish showed no difference in urine-protein levels.
“Protein in the urine is one of the earliest signs of kidney disease,” says co-investigator Amanda Adler, MD, PhD, of the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, England. The study accounted for lifestyle factors, like alcohol and tobacco use, family medical history, socio-economic status, and ethnicity, but the researchers found they didn't have a significant impact on risk of macroalbuminuria.
The study simply shows that eating more of it has a protective effect on kidney function in those with diabetes. There is a possibility that our study would have to be bigger to find differences between types of fish,” Adler says.
Leslie Spry, MD, a kidney specialist in Lincoln, Neb., who serves as a National Kidney Foundation spokesman, says he typically doesn't tell patients to eat more fish but recommends fish oil supplements to control triglycerides (blood fats). Sources “Cross-sectional Association Between Fish Consumption and Albumin aria: The European Prospective Investigation of Cancer-Norfolk Study,” Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, England.
Getting Past the Guilt of Type 2 See how one patient learned to manage her weight and diet. A significant percentage of the human body is made of protein and without protein, our bodies would be unable to heal from injury, stop bleeding or fight infection.
In fact since critical amino acids are removed during dialysis, a higher protein intake is needed to help keep patients well nourished and healthy. Hence, if you have high cholesterol or cardiovascular disease, your doctor and dietitian may recommend eating protein-rich foods that are more heart friendly such as fish.
Here are a few fish that the nonprofit, Food and Water Watch, recommends people should avoid. Nearly 90 percent of the catfish imported to the U.S. comes from Vietnam, where use of antibiotics that are banned in the U.S. is widespread.
Pink shrimp from Oregon are another good choice because the fisheries there are certified under the stringent Marine Stewardship Council guidelines. KidneyBuzz.com encourages you to discuss listed fish with your Dietitian to ensure they are in fact bad for you.
They are responsible for filtering waste products, releasing hormones that regulate blood pressure, balancing fluids in the body, producing urine, and many other essential tasks (2). Diabetes and high blood pressure are the most common risk factors for kidney disease.
For example, people in the early stages of kidney disease have different restrictions than those with kidney failure, also known as end-stage renal disease (ESD) (6, 7). For most people with advanced kidney disease, it’s important to follow a kidney -friendly diet that helps decrease the amount of waste in the blood.
Damaged kidneys can’t filter out excess sodium, causing its blood levels to rise. High levels can cause damage to the body, so dietary phosphorus is restricted to less than 800–1,000 mg per day in most patients (13, 14).
However, those with end-stage renal disease undergoing dialysis, a treatment that filters and cleans the blood, have greater protein needs (15, 16). Each person with kidney disease is different, which is why it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider about your individual dietary needs.
In particular, these sweet berries contain antioxidants called anthocyanins, which may protect against heart disease, certain cancers, cognitive decline, and diabetes (20). They also make a fantastic addition to a kidney -friendly diet, as they are low in sodium, phosphorus, and potassium.
Sea bass is a high quality protein that contains incredibly healthy fats called omega-3s. While all fish are high in phosphorus, sea bass contains lower amounts than other seafood.
However, it’s important to consume small portions to keep your phosphorus levels in check. Red grapes are not only delicious but also deliver a ton of nutrition in a small package.
They’re high in vitamin C and contain antioxidants called flavonoids, which have been shown to reduce inflammation (26). Additionally, red grapes are high in resveratrol, a type of flavonoid that has been shown to benefit heart health and protect against diabetes and cognitive decline (27, 28).
Egg whites provide a high quality, kidney -friendly source of protein. Plus, they’re an excellent choice for people undergoing dialysis treatment, who have higher protein needs but need to limit phosphorus.
People with kidney problems are advised to limit the amount of sodium in their diet, including added salt. Buckwheat is highly nutritious, providing a good amount of B vitamins, magnesium, iron, and fiber.
It’s also a gluten-free grain, making buckwheat a good choice for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Olive oil is a healthy source of fat and phosphorus-free, making it a great option for people with kidney disease.
Frequently, people with advanced kidney disease have trouble keeping weight on, making healthy, high calorie foods like olive oil important. What’s more, monounsaturated fats are stable at high temperatures, making olive oil a healthy choice for cooking.
This nutritious grain is a good source of B vitamins, magnesium, iron, and manganese. It’s also an excellent source of plant-based protein and full of dietary fiber, which is important for digestive health.
Cabbage belongs to the calciferous vegetable family and is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and powerful plant compounds. Bell peppers contain an impressive amount of nutrients but are low in potassium, unlike many other vegetables.
In fact, one small red bell pepper (74 grams) contains 105% of the recommended intake of vitamin C. They are also loaded with vitamin A, an important nutrient for immune function, which is often compromised in people with kidney disease (40).
Sautéing onions with garlic and olive oil adds flavor to dishes without compromising your kidney health. Many healthy greens like spinach and kale are high in potassium and difficult to fit into a renal diet.
However, arugula is a nutrient-dense green that is low in potassium, making it a good choice for kidney -friendly salads and side dishes. Arugula is a good source of vitamin K and the minerals manganese and calcium, all of which are important for bone health.
This nutritious green also contains nitrates, which have been shown to lower blood pressure, an important benefit for those with kidney disease (44). They are also packed with healthy fats, B vitamins, magnesium, copper, iron, and manganese.
Radishes are crunchy vegetables that make a healthy addition to a renal diet. Radishes are a great source of vitamin C, an antioxidant that has been shown to decrease the risk of heart disease and cataracts (47, 48).
Turnips are kidney -friendly and make an excellent replacement for vegetables that are higher in potassium like potatoes and winter squash. They can be roasted or boiled and mashed for a healthy side dish that works well for a renal diet.
Fortunately, pineapple makes a sweet, low potassium alternative for those with kidneys problems. Plus, pineapple is rich in fiber, manganese, vitamin C, and porcelain, an enzyme that helps reduce inflammation (51).
Shiitake mushrooms are a savory ingredient that can be used as a plant-based meat substitute for those on a renal diet who need to limit protein. The kidney -friendly foods above are excellent choices for people following a renal diet.
Remember to always discuss your food choices with your healthcare provider to ensure that you are following the best diet for your individual needs. While following a renal diet can feel restrictive at times, there are plenty of delicious foods that fit into a healthy, well-balanced, kidney -friendly meal plan.