Kidneys maintain the balance of water, acid and alkali in the human body. This organ also purifies the blood and removes contaminants from the body. So we need to consult a physician if the kidney develops any problem. We have to maintain a proper diet to remain healthy.
However, there are many misconceptions about the food habits of kidney patients. Many kidney patients avoid various types of food, even resulting in malnutrition. Five of the common misconceptions are discussed here.
1.’Drinking more water cures kidney ailments’
It is a misconception that drinking more water helps to cure kidney problems. Actually the weather, work and thirst determine the amount of water to be drunk.
However, if dehydration is not compensated after diarrhoea or vomiting, then the kidney may be damaged. If the kidney is damaged, then the intake of measured amounts of water is advised.
If you develop kidney stones or infection, you are asked to drink more water and other liquids.
2. ‘Fruits are forbidden’
Many people stop eating fruit if they have long-term kidney problems. If there is a fear of increased potassium, then they are asked to avoid foods enriched with potassium such as bananas, tomatoes and green coconut.
However, papaya, pineapple, guavas, apples, and pears are good for the kidney. These fruits can be eaten as required. It is a misconception that you cannot have fruit if you have kidney problems.
3. ‘No protein’
Many people also stop eating fish and meat if creatinine increases and protein is expelled from the body with urine. But this is wrong.
A total of 0.8 gram of protein can be taken against every one kilogram of weight up to the Stage III of a long term kidney problem. For example, people weighting 60 kg can have 48 gram protein. It must be the top grade protein such as fish, meat and eggs.
Having low-protein diet can cause malnutrition. However, it is asked to have protein less than 6o gram if the kidney problem reaches to Stage IV.
4. ‘Do not have dairy products’
This is another misconception.
It is asked to avoid taking excessive dairy foods if the kidney becomes damaged and to control the rate of phosphorus or phosphate in the blood.
Apart from this, a moderate amount of dairy foods should be taken every day to meet the demands of calcium and Vitamin D in the body.
5. ‘No to potassium-rich foods’
It is not mandatory for all kidney patients to avoid potassium enriched foods. Among long-term kidney patients, only those who have high levels of potassium in their blood and whose problems have reached Stage IV should avoid high potassium-rich foods.