I’ve come to think of a healthy diet as an ounce of prevention that can prevent some health conditions and also can be as potent as some medications in treating other health issues.
Need proof? Then let’s look at two studies that were just presented at the American Society of Nephrology’s Annual Kidney Week.
Kidney Disease and Fruits and Vegetables
The first study out of Texas A&M University looked at whether eating fruits and vegetables can have an impact on the health of people who have chronic kidney disease. The researchers pointed out that people with this disease often suffer from severe metabolic acidosis, which is caused by too much acid in the body. Treatment usually involves alkaline therapy. Noting that fruits and vegetables are high in alkaline, the researchers studied whether adding produce to the diet would help patients who have less severe metabolic acidosis.
This study focused on 108 patients who were randomly assigned to three groups. One group ate additional fruits and vegetables while another group took an oral alkaline medication. The third group did not receive the medication or eat additional product. At the end of the three-year study, the researchers found that the group that consumed more fruits and vegetables experienced similar results as those who took the oral medication. In both cases, these treatments reduced a marker of metabolic acidosis and preserved kidney function.
Kidney Disease and Quality of Diet
A second study out of Johns Hopkins University analyzed whether poor dietary habits were linked to higher levels of chronic kidney disease in people who live in poverty. This disease is found in 5.6 percent of people who live in poverty and 3.8 percent of those who do not live in poverty. The researchers analyzed data from 2,058 individuals and found that fiber, calcium, magnesium and potassium intake was lower while cholesterol was higher in people who lived in poverty.
"An unhealthy diet is strongly associated with kidney disease among poor individuals. Dietary interventions tailored to meet the needs of this population may help to reduce disparities in kidney disease," said Dr. Deidra Crews, an assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the study’s lead author.
Recommended Amounts of Produce
MedlinePlus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine, recommends a diet that balances electrolytes, minerals and fluids for people who have chronic kidney disease. To do this, you may have to limit fluids, eat a low-protein diet and restrict salt, potassium, phosphorous and other electrolytes. One recommendation includes focusing on carbohydrates such as fruits and vegetables (as well as breads and grains), which can provide fiber, minerals and vitamins.
Primary Sources for This Sharepost:
Medical News Today. (2012). Studies investigate aspects of nutrition and blood pressure control in chronic kidney disease patients.
MedlinePlus. (nd). Diet – chronic kidney disease. U.S. National Library of Medicine.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2006). Lowering your blood pressure with DASH.