5 diet tips to reduce creatinine levels for healthy kidneys

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Kidneys play a starring role in the intricate world of our body’s functions. It manages the delicate balance of fluids, electrolytes, and waste products. One of the most important markers for kidney health is creatinine, which is a byproduct of muscle metabolism. Basically, when creatinine levels soar, it signals potential trouble in renal health. While there are several ways to keep your creatinine levels in check, you can include some of the healthiest foods in your diet. Let’s take a look at the best foods for creatinine levels that will help maintain it.

What are creatinine levels?

In simple words, creatinine is a waste product that forms when the muscles break down a compound called creatine. It is a crucial molecule that helps produce energy for muscle contractions. Once creatine is used, it is converted into creatinine and transported to the kidneys for excretion in urine. Creatinine levels in the blood are an important indicator of kidney function, But it is an indirect marker. Most Indian labs have a cut-off level of 1.4 mg/dl. If creatinine level is > 1.4, it straightway indicates kidney function is down by 50%. The ideal marker of kidney function is eGFR, which is calculated with the help of serum creatinine, explains Dr Atul Ingale, Consultant Nephrologist and Transplant Physician.

The kidneys are responsible for filtering waste products and flushing them out in the urine. If the kidneys are not functioning properly the creatinine levels in the blood can build up.

Maintain healthy creatinine levels by eating a healthy diet. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

What is the role of foods in managing creatinine levels?

Elevated creatinine levels can indicate impaired kidney function, emphasizing the importance of adopting a kidney-friendly diet. Nutritionist Minal Shah says, “Protein intake, especially animal protein ingestion, influences creatinine levels. This is the reason why kidney patients are recommended that their diet has a protein intake of 0.6 gm/kg/day where veg to nonveg protein ratio should be 1:1. Vegetarian-based proteins are ideal. If one needs to compare nonveg proteins, then red meat should be avoided by kidney patients.”

While it is important to include a healthy diet that promotes kidney health, it is important to consult a qualified healthcare provider who would give the relevant test for proper evaluation and medical advice. Along with medical intervention, it is vital to follow a few lifestyle modifications that can help lower your creatinine levels. Having said that, let’s take a look at the best foods that will help maintain your creatinine levels.

Follow a healthy diet to maintain creatinine levels

A few dietary interventions can help lower creatinine levels, which include:

1. Reduce protein levels

While protein is essential for muscle health, excessive amounts can lead to increased creatinine levels. Eating a high-protein diet can burden the kidneys, which is why you should keep your protein intake in check. Opting for lean protein sources such as fish, poultry, and plant-based proteins can help strike a balance. Restrict non-vegetarian protein to once a week. One can switch to vegetarian protein like dals/milk and milk products and egg which are easier to process. The exact quantity is calculated based on the body weight and the creatinine levels by a qualified dietitian/doctor, says the nutritionist.

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2. Avoid creatine supplements

Creatine is produced by the liver and is transported to the muscle where it increases energy and muscle growth. Creatine is broken down to creatinine. Creatine is added to oral protein supplements consumed to improve athletic performance. It should be avoided for people with raised creatinine levels.

3. Drink more water

Did you know not drinking enough water can lead to a build-up of creatinine levels in the kidneys? The nutritionist says that not drinking enough water can affect creatinine levels. However, people with decreased kidney function need to limit their water intake. So, a patient’s fluid intake can also be restricted depending on the kidney function or type of kidney ailment. One should check with their healthcare provider for daily fluid allowance.

Also Read: Stay hydrated to keep kidney diseases at bay

4. Restrict salt intake

Foods with high salt intake can cause high blood pressure, further damaging the kidneys. A study published in the Journal of Nephrology found that a high salt intake may have detrimental effects on your kidney function, leading to problems. Foods with high salt intake can also cause your blood pressure levels to spike, which can damage your kidneys.

Processed foods like bakery products, ready-to-eat foods, ketchup, packaged foods, pickles, papad, etc. have a very high sodium content and should be avoided completely. Consider using other flavorings like lemon, tamarind, kokum, tomato, pudina, herbs, etc. to make the food tasty and palatable, adds the expert.

diet for kidney health
High salt intake can damage your kidneys. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

5. High fiber intake

Eating a high-fiber diet may help manage your creatinine levels and reduce the risk of kidney diseases. A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that increasing dietary fiber can improve kidney function. However, more research is required to confirm the effects of eating a high-fiber diet on your kidneys. High-fiber foods include whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes. These foods may have a higher potassium or phosphorus level a structured plan based on the rest of the blood levels is advised, recommends the nutritionist.

Some precautions to keep creatinine levels in check

It is vital to keep creatinine levels in check to maintain kidney health. You should avoid over-the-counter pain killers like NASIDS, quit smoking, and avoid alcohol. Not keeping a track of your kidney health can lead to chronic diseases. Maintaining your creatinine levels could be an early indication of the risk that looms large. It could be a temporary condition or a medical condition that needs intervention and to be treated by a qualified healthcare professional.

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