Friday, June 24, 2011

Phosphorus Foods - What You Need To Know For A Kidney Diet

A list of phosphorus foods includes most plant and animal sources, so there's little danger of being short of this vital mineral. Phosphorus is required by every cell in the body to function normally, but the largest amount is located in the bones. Because phosphorus is very much involved in creating strong bones, growing children and pregnant women need higher levels than the rest.

A person with normal kidney function need never even think about their phosphorus levels, because if they take in more than is required the excess is automatically excreted by the kidneys.

But for someone with kidney failure the connection between phosphorus foods and kidney disease cannot be ignored. So it is an important matter of limiting the amount of phosphorus. Not an easy task, when - as we've already established - it is present in so many foods.

So, if you suffer from a reduced kidney function, you need to follow a low phosphorus diet, restricting your daily intake to about 800 - 1,000 milligrams daily. That's about half what a person with fully functioning kidneys can deal with.

As a rough rule of thumb, protein foods, such as dark meat, dairy products, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds can be classed as phosphate foods, because they contain the highest levels of phosphorus, as do whole grains.

But this does not mean you need to eliminate these foods from your diet entirely. For example, substituting white rice for whole grain brown rice drastically reduces the phosphorus content. And, whilst you do need to eat some protein, make sure it is of the greatest all round benefit.

For example, a three ounce steak or filet of cooked wild salmon, about the size of a deck of playing cards, will contain about 252 milligrams of phosphorus. This is higher than the equivalent piece of beef, which is only 173 milligrams, but wild salmon is also rich in nutritious omega 3 oils. And research at the Harvard Medical School showed that treating kidney disease to a diet rich in omega 3 oils can reverse the condition. So, overall, a better bet when on a kidney failure diet.

Another factor which is helpful to take into account is the differing bio availability of different foods. A good example of this are nuts. Nuts are a vital part of a healthy diet and although they contain high levels of phosphorus. But only about half of this is broken down and available for use by the body.

This is very good news, because not only are nuts a good source of monounsaturated fat, but Brazil nuts from Brazil are one of the best sources of selenium which is a vital mineral thought to help guard against cancer. Walnuts have long been known as a good protection against heart problems, whilst almonds are rich in folic acid and vitamin B. Almonds also increases 'good' HDL cholesterol and helps in reducing 'bad' LDL cholesterol.

According to The Food and Nutrition Board, levels of phosphate consumption in the USA has actually increased by 10 -15% in the last couple of decades. This is largely due to the adding of phosphates to sodas and even supposedly 'healthier' fruit based drinks to give them an extra kick. So you need to strictly limit these phosphorus products and stick to unadulterated fresh fruit drinks, where you have checked the label to make sure there is no mention of phosphoric acid.

You also need to check the labels on prepared foods, because the chances are high there will be hidden phosphorus in the form of phosphoric acid, calcium phosphate, monopotassium phosphate, disodium phosphate, tricalcium phosphate or pyrophosphate polyphosphates.

One useful tip, when using low phosphorus recipes for a kidney patient, is to cut any vegetables into small pieces, which maximizes the surface area. Then soak them in water for 20 minutes so that much of the phosphorus is leached out.

Controlling your levels of phosphorus is just a small part of taking care of your damaged kidneys.

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