Nutrients – the building blocks of food

The food we eat and drink provides us with the nutrients we need to survive and thrive. Some of the key nutrients that make up foods include:

Our bodies use some of these nutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fat) as fuel to provide our bodies with the energy needed to function properly. That “fuel” is called calories. When we eat more calories than we use, we gain weight. When we use more calories than we eat, we lose weight. Finding a good balance of calories in versus calories used can be difficult. It is even more difficult when you are on dialysis.

Food and nutrition have been recognized as building blocks of good health as early as 400 B.C. when Greek physician, Hippocrates, the “Father of Medicine” said, “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.”

Nutrients and your kidneys

Our kidneys play a very important role when it comes to regulating nutrients we consume. The kidneys remove the extra amount of vitamins and minerals we do not need. When your kidneys are not working as well as they should, they cannot filter your blood properly, allowing some vitamins and minerals to build up in your blood.

Some of the nutrients people with kidney disease should keep track of include:

For people who do not have kidney disease, these nutrients may not need to be avoided. Nutrients play an important role in the body by:

  • Boosting your immune system
  • Keeping your bones and teeth healthy
  • Helping heal cuts, scrapes, and bruises
  • Helping your organs function properly
  • Protecting your eyesight

This list goes on and on. The amount of nutrients you should aim to eat depends on your stage of kidney disease.

Learn more about healthy eating for your stage of kidney disease.