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Using Plant-Based Diet to help improve Chronic Kidney Disease: Evidence-Based Insights

Managing stage 3 kidney disease demands attention, especially when it comes to dietary choices. There have been a shift of focus in the recent years to include plant-based foods and plant-based protein as a way to protect and prolong kidney functions. Results from large scale clinical research indicates that adopting a predominantly plant-based diet can have a real positive impact on people with kidney disease. Here’s why:

  1. Plant-Based Nutrition: Plant-based foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds are rich in essential nutrients like fiber, vitamins, and minerals. These components contribute to overall health by regulating blood pressure, managing weight, and providing antioxidants that combat harmful substances in the body.

  2. Blood Pressure Regulation: High blood pressure is detrimental to kidney health. By prioritizing plant-based foods, individuals can naturally lower their blood pressure levels, thus alleviating strain on the kidneys and reducing the risk of further damage.

  3. Slowing Disease Progression: Studies have shown that adhering to a plant-based diet may decelerate the progression of kidney disease. Research findings suggest that increased consumption of plant foods correlates with preserved kidney function over time.

  4. Cardiovascular Benefits: Kidney disease often coincides with cardiovascular issues. However, a plant-based diet can mitigate these risks by improving heart health markers such as cholesterol levels and inflammation, consequently lowering the likelihood of heart disease development.

  5. Metabolic Health Improvement: Individuals with kidney disease frequently experience metabolic imbalances. A diet rich in plant-based foods can help rectify these issues, promoting better blood sugar control and lipid profiles.

There are even case reports whereby after dietary change, the patient needs to reduce their insulin injection, cholesterol tablets and blood pressure tablets significantly.

Before making significant dietary changes, individuals with chronic kidney disease should consult healthcare professionals for personalized guidance. While incorporating more plant-based foods into one’s diet is generally beneficial, individual needs may vary. Nevertheless, embracing a plant-centric approach to eating presents a simple yet powerful strategy for supporting kidney health and overall well-being.

Here are a list of references:

(1): Appel LJ, Moore TJ, Obarzanek E, et al. A clinical trial of the effects of dietary patterns on blood pressure. DASH Collaborative Research Group. N Engl J Med. 1997;336(16):1117-1124. doi:10.1056/NEJM199704173361601

(2) Lin J, Fung TT, Hu FB, Curhan GC. Association of dietary patterns with albuminuria and kidney function decline in older white women: a subgroup analysis from the Nurses’ Health Study. Am J Kidney Dis. 2011;57(2):245-254. DOI: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2010.09.027

(3) Chauveau P, Aparicio M, Bellizzi V, et al. Mediterranean diet as the diet of choice for patients with chronic kidney disease. Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2018;33(5):725-735. DOI: 10.1093/ndt/gfx085

(4) Schwingshackl L, Hoffmann G. Comparison of effects of long-term low-fat vs high-fat diets on blood lipid levels in overweight or obese patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2013;113(12):1640-1661. doi:10.1016/j.jand.2013.07.010

(5) Campbell, T et al Plant-based dietary approach to stage 3 chronic kidney disease with hyperphosphataemia December 2019 BMJ Case Reports 12(12):e232080 DOI:10.1136/bcr-2019-232080


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