Another reason to eat a healthy plant-based diet: It may help reduce the risk of developing chronic kidney disease (CKD), according to a recent study in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
Researchers followed 14,686 middle-aged people for an average of 24 years, during which time 4,343 developed CKD. Overall, primarily plant-based diets were not associated with CKD risk. But not all such diets had the same effects. People who most closely adhered to a “healthy” plant-based diet (rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and legumes) at the start of the study and six years later were less likely to develop CKD than those who veered farthest from such a diet. In contrast, people with a “less healthy” plant-based diet (high in refined-grain products and sugary foods and beverages) were actually at increased risk for CKD.
It’s estimated that 30 million Americans have CKD, and most don’t know it. If you’ve been diagnosed with CKD, your health care provider or a registered dietitian can help you plan an individualized “renal” diet, based on the type of kidney dysfunction and other factors. This usually involves greatly reducing sodium and limiting three “p”s—protein, phosphorus, and potassium.
This article first appeared in the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.
Also see Plant-Based Diet for Diabetes.