By Mrinal Pandit, Chief Dietician, NephroPlus
Long-term illness leaves people frustrated with an overdose of medication. Many feel that home remedies can solve some of their problems and rely on them rather than regular medications. They listen to suggestions from everyone, right from neighbours to the internet. Everyone claims to have an ultimate solution to every problem. However, we need to check if these are really helpful?
Unfortunately, most of the times, the answer is NO. For a normal individual with normal functioning of all organs, it may not be harmful to test such remedies. If they do not help, it is likely that the food will have not have any bad impact on the body. Nevertheless, in special cases like any organ impairment it is necessary to seek professional guidance to help you understand the composition of food and its effect on the body. Sometimes a food, which works for others, may cause a lot of problems for people with chronic diseases.
Here are 11 common wonder foods that are known for their excellent nutritional properties and health benefits but can lead to serious complications if not taken in recommended quantities for people with chronic kidney disease.
# Claim to Fame – It is good for health, it gives strength, and it is good for the heart.
Pros – Almonds are a rich source of vitamin E, copper, magnesium, and high-quality protein. It is a good source of anti-oxidants. It works as an anti-inflammatory agent and helps prevents cardio vascular disease.
Cons – It is a high source of potassium and phosphorus, even consumption of 20 g (approx. 4 – 5 in no) will contribute to 150 mg of potassium and 100 mg of phosphorus.
Dieticians Verdict – It is suggested to restrict the intake to moderate quantities. However, consumption of almond regularly can outdo the positive effects.
# Claim to Fame – It is a good source of iron. Jaggery can be consumed liberally, as it is nutritionally better and has less calories than sugar.
Pros – Jaggery contains approximately 3 mg of iron per 100 grams. It gives 15- 20 kcals less than simple sugar.
Cons – It has the same impact on blood glucose as simple sugar. Simple sugar, honey and jaggery have similar glycaemic index and other properties.
Dieticians Verdict – Jaggery, simple sugar and honey should be used sparingly or as suggested by the Nutritionist, as over consumption of these can lead to obesity and progression of other co-morbidities.
#Claim to Fame – It helps improves haemoglobin.
Pros – It is good source of iron, B complex vitamins and minerals. It is a good laxative and helps relieve constipation.
Cons – It has very high content of sugar that can raise blood glucose level.
Dieticians Verdict – Like other dry fruits, it is high in potassium and phosphorus, which make it necessary to be restricted for people with impaired kidney functions.
#Claim to Fame – It can be called a complete meal. It is a healthy summer drink.
Pros – It is a very good source of protein and is a calorie-dense food. Sattu provides approximately 22 grams of protein per 100 gram. It is nutritious and has a cooling effect on the body. It is a wonder food for diabetic due to its low glycaemic index. It can be used as a drink. The powder can be also used to make parathas, ladoos and litti chokha.
Cons – As derived from roasted chickpeas, it very high in potassium.
Dieticians Verdict – Sattu can be taken occasionally. As it a made from dal, try to skip any other dal preparation in the meal for the entire day. Proper planning of meals will avoid excess consumption of potassium. Know the content of the food and learn to compensate.
5. Green Leafy Vegetables (GLVs)
#Claim to Fame –They are nutritional powerhouse of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.
Pros – GLVs are very good source of vitamin A.D E and K, as well as several B vitamins. They are rich sources of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron and potassium. They are a very good source of fibre. They help relieve constipation and work as a super food for diabetics and people with fissures.
Cons – GLVs when cooked are reduced to a very small quantity which make them even more rich in potassium. One bowl of cooked GLVs provide approximately 800 mg of potassium.
Dieticians Verdict – Leaching of the GLVs can reduce up to 50-60 % of potassium, but unfortunately, it drains off other useful nutrients along with it.
#Claim to Fame – A very good source of proteins for vegetarians.
Pros – In a vegetarian diet or a diet containing low amount of animal foods, Soy is an important source of protein. It provides 43 grams of protein per 100 grams. Along with protein, they are a good source of B complex vitamins. Germinated pulses are also rich in vitamin C. It helps reduces triglycerides. It can be beneficial for both people suffering from diabetes and cardio vascular disease. Soybean is plant-based and contains isoflavones, known to reduce inflammation and act as an antioxidant
Cons – It is a very rich source of potassium and phosphorus. It gives 690 mg of phosphorus and 1500 mg of potassium approximately per 100 grams.
Dieticians Verdict – There are diverse studies about the nutritional benefits of soybean consumption in pre-dialysis and dialysis patients. The amount of potassium and phosphorus vary with different soy products, so it is essential to read the food labels. Because of its known health benefit, it is advisable to include soybean in moderation.
7. Wheat Grass
#Claim to Fame – It helps clean up toxins. A good detoxifying agent. Improves digestion and increases amount of oxygen in the blood.
Pros – It has medicinal and healing properties. Wheatgrass is also enriched with magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, copper, selenium, and thiamine. It is also known to be beneficial for skin disorders, arthritis and premature greying.
Cons – 30 grams of wheat grass contains around 820 mg of potassium. That is more than 50% of the prescribed daily potassium intake for those on dialysis.
Dieticians Verdict – There is no sound research and evidence to support the contribution of wheat grass and its health benefits.
#Claim to Fame – It is a good immunity booster.
Pros – Avocado is loaded with essential nutrients including fibre, folic acid, vitamin K, potassium and folic acid. Its anti-oxidant properties makes it heart friendly food. It enables the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha and beta-carotene and lutein in foods that are eaten with the fruit.
Cons – The potassium content of the fruit is 485 mg per 100 grams.
Dieticians Verdict – Due to its nutritional benefits, avocado can be taken in moderation. As the fruit has moderate to high content of potassium, the quantity of the food should be restricted and other sources of potassium in the diet should be wisely managed for the day.
9. Kiwi Fruit
#Claim to Fame – It helps fight stress related oxidants. Improves immunity. Helps fight against pathogens and viral illness.
Pros – It is a very rich source of Vitamin C. It has almost twice the amount of vitamin C compared to lemons and oranges. It is a powerful antioxidant and eliminates free radicals that could cause inflammations.
Cons – It has moderate content of potassium.
Dieticians Verdict – The nutritional benefits over powers the moderate to high content of potassium. Moderate consumption can help improve immunity, recharge the supply of vitamins and antioxidants and improve well-being.
#Claim to Fame – It improves bacterial flora and improves digestion.
Pros – It Improves the health of the gastrointestinal tract, strengthens the immune system, restores the bioavailability of micronutrients, improves dyslipidaemia and allergic disorders.
Cons – A great deal of research has been done on probiotics, much remains to be learned.
Dieticians Verdict – It improves gut flora in those with CKD and improves gastrointestinal issues like constipation and diarrhoea. It also improves digestion and increases immunity. Several studies have shown a reduction of uremic toxins with probiotic supplementation. However, there is no significant data at this time that allows recommendation of any specific product with confidence.
#Claim to Fame – Consumption of red wine can reduce heart damage and improve good cholesterol (HDL).
Pros-Antioxidants, especially resveratrol and proanthocyanidins are believed to be responsible for the health benefits of red wine.Moderate consumption of wine (30 ml) three to four times a week can reduce blood pressure and improve heart health.
Cons-Drinking alcohol regularly may lead to alcoholism, damage liver and cause weight gain.
Dieticians Verdict-Generally, consumption can be safe even with CKD if done in moderation. Consult to your Consultant or Nutritionist to know if it is safe for you to drink alcohol. Those with Hepatitis C should talk to their doctor before considering wine.