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Turnip the Beet! Nutrition and Wellness

Timely news, information, and innovative ideas to promote health and influence change.
dash diet

Keep your Kidneys Healthy: DASH Eating Plan

1 in 3 American adults is at risk for kidney disease which often has no symptoms and can go undetected until advanced stages. Diet and nutrition can protect your kidneys and other vital organs which is why prevention is so important.

What is Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)?

  • A loss of kidney function which has been present for more than 3 months
  • A gradual process
  • The kidneys are less able to remove wastes from the body, balance body fluids, regulate blood pressure, produce red blood cells and maintain healthy bones
  • Urine and blood tests can check for signs of CKD

**CKD is linked with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, all of which increase your risk of heart disease.**

Cholesterol and Kidney Disease (what you need to know)

People with CKD may have some added risk factors that lead to heart disease:

  • large calcium intake from diet or medication
  • high blood phosphorus levels
  • high parathyroid hormone levels
  • high homocysteine levels
  • whole body inflammation

**People who are physically inactive or who eat foods that are high in saturated fat and cholesterol are also at risk for developing heart disease. **

How to Reduce Risk

  • Reduce sugars, starches and saturated fat (fats from red meats, cheese, ice cream, pizza fast foods and fried foods)
  • Choose high quality sources of protein in this order: fish, beans, nuts, egg whites, nonfat dairy, lean chicken, pork and beef; complement with fruits and vegetables
  • Get regular exercise (150 minutes of moderate exercise/week)
  • Manage blood pressure and control salt intake
  • Avoid overuse of non-steroidal drugs (such as ibuprofen)
  • Avoid herbal supplements
  • Avoid smoking
  • Don't miss medical appointments and consult with your healthcare provider when problems arise

The DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is recommended by the National Kidney Foundation (among other leading health organizations)

Studies have shown that the DASH Diet helps decrease blood pressure, lowers the risk for heart disease, stroke and cancer and reduces the risk of kidney stone formation.

It is rich in: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, seeds and nuts.

It is low in: salt/sodium, added sugars/sweets, fat and red meat.

More about the DASH Diet

Tips to Tackling the DASH Diet

Sample 3-Day DASH Diet Meal Plan, including recipes

If you already have chronic kidney disease, you should speak with your doctor and dietitian before starting the DASH diet. This diet should not be used by people on dialysis. Individuals on dialysis have special dietary needs that should be discussed with a registered dietitian.


1. National Kidney Foundation

2. National Institutes of Health

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