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What Diet Has to Do with the Kidneys

Twenty million Americans have chronic kidney disease—two out of every nine adults. There are many causes to this disease, but whether it was brought on by diabetes, genetics, high blood pressure, or other reasons, what you eat or do not eat impacts your disease process. Until recently, vegetarianism was thought to have a negative impact on your kidney disease, but it is now considered an eating lifestyle that can help preserve kidney function.

When you have kidney disease, your body develops uremia or the buildup of waste products (also known as BUN) in the blood. One of these waste products is urea nitrogen, a by-product of protein metabolism. If you eat too much protein, or a low-value protein, the urea-nitrogen level will build up sooner. In addition, several minerals, including calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium, that you take for granted in your food are not efficiently filtered from the body and this can affect your disease.

Even though your kidneys are no bigger than the size of your fist, they have many functions, such as controlling anemia, bone formation, and high blood pressure, and they also affect your blood vessels and heart. A large part of the function of the kidney and how it interacts with these factors
is affected by what you eat.


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