Anyone living with chronic kidney disease has at least begun to understand the weight of food restrictions in their diet. Sodium is one of the biggest restrictions you will have if you are diagnosed with kidney disease. This is because sodium has an immense effect on the body and especially the kidneys.
It is the main function of the kidneys to filter and eliminate excess products from the body. One of these products is sodium. When the kidneys are not functioning properly, sodium can build up in your system. Excess sodium can cause a host of uncomfortable and potentially dangerous issues in your body, including swelling, shortness of breath, and heart failure. It is no wonder why the first dietary restriction for kidney patients is almost always sodium.
Unfortunately, sodium is found just about everywhere and in abundance. There are even a high number of foods and drinks that contain massive quantities of hidden sodium, which can make living with this dietary restriction even tougher. Kidney patients must be vigilant when reading nutrition labels.
You can do a lot by simply cutting added salt out of your diet, however. Many people consider this to be a difficult change to make, but it doesn't have to be. You simply need to know how to make substitutes to flavor your food with something other than salt.
Here are some ideas for flavoring your food without salt:
Broth: Keeping in mind that you should always choose the low or reduced sodium options. But, cooking with flavored broth is a great way to infuse a lot of flavor into your foods. Broth is not just for soups. You can use it in sauces and cook your pasta and rice in it as well. Simply replace any water in a recipe with your favorite flavor broth. Make sure you keep an eye on serving sizes as well, because sodium can add up when you overeat.
Herbs: Herbs offer a completely different level of flavor depth that you may find truly surprising, especially if you haven't cooked with herbs before. The great thing about using herbs is how easy it is. You can choose fresh or dried herbs, and they can be found in just about every grocery store in both forms. You can even grow your own very easily.
Spices: Spices are how you can add a huge pop of flavor to any meal. There are spices for literally any taste and every dish. You can even experiment with different spices mixes and make your own as well. Most every grocery store has a huge spice selection from you to choose from. If you haven't cooked with spices before, start by using your nose. Smelling the spice will give you a good idea of what sort of flavor it will add.
Acids: A lot of times, the flavor of salt can be easily replaced with an acidic flavor. Try squeezing some fresh lemon juice over your plate. This is especially delicious over vegetables. Also, consider cooking and flavoring with vinegar.
Salt Substitutes: There are a number of salt substitutes available in most grocery stores. Typically, these products contain potassium as their main ingredient, which is sometimes not safe for kidney patients. Discuss these substitutes with your doctor before using.
Removing sodium from your diet may seem like a difficult task, but with vigilance and the willingness to make changes, you can do so easily. You truly just don't need salt as much as you think you do. Restricting added salt from your diet is one big step towards maintaining a healthy kidney safe diet. For more information on a renal diet, click here.