Here is the diet for a kidney-proof Christmas

Here is the diet for a kidney-proof Christmas


At Christmas as well as at Carnival: once a year, we can also go astray. “As long as it’s not Christmas every day, and – once the holidays are over – we return to those healthy habits that help prevent kidney damage caused by incorrect lifestyles,” he warns Claudia D’Alessandro, dietitian nutritionist at the Nephrology Dialysis and Transplant Unit of the Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine of the University of Pisa. Because what worries nephrologists are the data that tell of a constantly increasing Chronic Kidney Disease (+29%), with over 3 million patients in Italy. And since prevention also involves correct nutrition (especially in the early stages, in which it is possible to intervene effectively), the Italian Society of Nephrology (SIN) has drawn up recommendations for a kidney-proof Christmas.

This is how we prevent kidney disease

“Do prevention – he explains Stefano Bianchi, President of the Italian Society of Nephrology – means first of all following correct lifestyles, favoring the Mediterranean diet, with little salt and an adequate potassium intake, but also practicing physical activity, avoiding exceeding situations of overweight and obesity, conditions in constant increase in Italy, starting with children, and especially in southern Italy. Leading a correct lifestyle is the best way to avoid developing those conditions that represent risk factors for the onset of Chronic Kidney Disease: diabetes, obesity/overweight and arterial hypertension”.

Panettone in moderation

At the forefront of the kidney-proof diet is therefore the preference for the Mediterranean diet. Which does not only consist in giving priority to the foods we know (vegetables, cereals, legumes and oily fish), but also in a moderate dose of physical exercise, commensurate with one’s conditions, and in that moderation at the table which allows one to reduce the incidence of hypercholesterolemia, a tendency to diabetes and arterial hypertension, which are among the main risk factors for the development of kidney disease.

“Yes to Christmas panettone – comments D’Alessandro – maybe just one slice instead of two. A portion of pasta is fine, but preferably wholemeal and not in excessive doses. A glass of wine? Okay, but not a whole bottle. And naturally, once the dinner is over, we return to the correct habits indicated by the referring doctor, and by common sense.”

Simple and complex sugars

Equally important is managing sugars wisely. The simple ones, says D’Alessandro, are contained in jams, honey and desserts. And they should be avoided. Complex ones are better, i.e. carbohydrates such as bread and pasta, which should be consumed wholemeal or produced with unrefined flours.

Little red meat

There is little to say about red meat: for many reasons, including environmental concerns, it should be consumed in moderation. Stay away, when possible, from ready meals or canned foods, from cured meats such as salami and ham, which are very rich in salts including potassium and phosphorus, and preservatives, which are certainly not helpful in preventing kidney damage. Noble proteins – animal ones – should be consumed, but without exaggerating, so no to the high-protein diet. “Proteins of plant origin would be preferable, therefore those of legumes and cereals – comments D’Alessandro – which cause a minor overload at the renal level. A diet plant basedas the Americans say, is also richer in fibre, which is less acidifying and which therefore has a protective effect for the kidney and bones, as well as for the intestinal microbiota in general”.

Water at will

Drink, of course. How much? “Instead of prescribing the standard two liters of water a day, we recommend adequate fluid intake to our patients. What does it mean? That you should drink as needed, when you are thirsty, preferably small quantities divided throughout the day, not two liters all at once, so that the water goes away immediately with the urine and does not have time to hydrate the body. organism”, adds the nutritionist. And then it depends: a thin person, 1.50 meters tall, will need a smaller quantity of water to hydrate than a 1.90 meter tall individual. But to get an idea, continues D’Alessandro, we can say that we must drink 30ml per kilo of weight every day.

No smoke

Cigarettes, on the other hand, are to be forgotten. “Smoking is not only bad for you in general – reiterates the nutritionist – but it is considered an independent risk factor for kidney disease. Studies say that patients who are also smokers developed impaired renal function earlier than non-smokers.”

Walk in company

And if you overdo it at Christmas, it is not enough to do penance the next day with fasting, which is not good for the balance of the metabolism. Instead, it is better to eat little, with boiled vegetables or a vegetable puree. And after the meal, a nice walk to work off the excesses. “Not only trying to stay light, but also moving more, perhaps in company”, concludes D’Alessandro, “is the best way to control weight and safeguard kidney function even during the holidays”.



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