Healthy Fish Options for People with CKD

Published on 
January 24, 2023
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Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is a common problem that affects millions of people worldwide. It is a progressive condition that affects the kidneys, leading to a decrease in their ability to filter waste and excess fluids from the body. One of the best ways to manage CKD is through diet, and fish can play a big role in a healthy CKD diet, however some fishes can be high in purines which can cause gout.

Purines are a group of chemicals present in red meat and fish.  They are broken down in the body into uric acid and can cause gout in people with reduced kidney function.  This happens as the kidneys are unable to completely clear the uric acid from the body. There is conflicting advice online about the purine content of fish.  We know that fish contain ourines but we also know that they are good for overall health and heart health.  The purine content of fish hasnt been measured for sometime (as far as I can tell at the time of writing this). Tuna and salmon are thought to be lower in purines and therefore better for people with kidney disease.

What kind of fish is best for a CKD diet?

Fish and seafood are great sources of protein, which is essential for the health of the body. It is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to have benefits for both the heart and kidneys. 

What fish is high in omega 3 fatty acids for a CKD diet?

Salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help to reduce inflammation and improve heart health. It is also a good source of protein and is low in purines. Tuna is another good choice as it is low in purines and high in protein.

What fish is safe to eat with CKD?

However, it is important to limit your intake of certain types of fish that are high in purines, such as anchovies, herring, mackerel, and sardines. These types of fish can cause a buildup of uric acid in the body, which can be harmful for people with CKD. It's also important to keep portion size in mind when eating fish. A serving size of fish is about 3-4 ounces, or about the size of a deck of cards.

What else can I do to eat a healthy kidney diet?

In addition to fish, it is important to eat a variety of healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products. It is also important to limit your intake of foods that are highly processed and high in sodium, as these can be less healthy for people with CKD.

It's also important to drink plenty of water to help flush out waste and toxins from the body. Drinking water can also help to lower blood pressure, which is often a problem in people with CKD.

If you have CKD, it is important to talk to your doctor or a renal dietitian about the best diet for you. They can help you create a personalized nutrition plan that takes into account your individual medical needs and dietary restrictions.

In Conclusion

Fish can be a great option for those with CKD, as long as you choose the right types of fish and keep portion size in mind. Opt for fish that are low in purines and high in protein, such as salmon and tuna, and limit your intake of fish that are high in purines. Remember to consult with your doctor or dietitian for personalized advice on how to manage your diet with CKD. Eating fish can provide many benefits for your body and your overall health, especially when combined with a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, and other nutrient-rich foods.

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Author - Ruth Kander

Ruth Kander is a highly experienced dietitian with 26 years of service in both the NHS and private practice. She holds registrations with the British Dietetic Association and the Health and Care Professions Council. Ruth graduated from King’s College London in 1995 with an honors degree in Nutrition and a post-graduate diploma in Dietetics. Specializing in kidney medicine for the past 23 years, she currently works as a specialist kidney dietitian at a large London teaching hospital. Ruth has also been involved in several community projects, including healthy eating in schools and clinical governance in care homes. An accomplished lecturer, she has received awards for her education programs and patient care. Passionate about helping people with chronic kidney disease to be healthy and feel well, she is dedicated to providing support and guidance to help individuals make the best food choices for themselves.