“Which dal is good for kidney diseases?” is a commonly asked question by patients suffering from them before they start following a particular diet chart. It is important to understand that there are different categories of kidney diseases which are broadly classified into acute and chronic.
Acute diseases like kidney stones and acute kidney failure occur over a short duration of time. Chronic kidney disease, on the other hand, is a condition where the functioning of the kidney decreases gradually over months to years and thus, the patient’s diet needs to be carefully managed throughout the illness.
Before we get to it, let’s have a quick summary of the importance of proteins in kidney diseases. As you may have heard, proteins are one of the most important components of our diet. They are the building blocks of our bodies. Everything from our hair, nails, muscles, bones, etc is composed of proteins.
However, the digestion of proteins also results in the production of some waste materials in the body that need to be filtered out by the kidneys. Thus, depending on the severity of the disease, the protein intake has to be strictly regulated in a person with kidney diseases.
We must understand that the Indian diet is already deficient in proteins. So a further decrease in the protein intake of a person with chronic kidney disease can be harmful to them as it will lead to weakness and a loss of immunity. Therefore the moderation of dietary protein is key.
While eating protein-rich food, there are 3 things that a kidney patient should keep in mind.
1) The protein should be easily digestible.
2) It should be easily absorbed.
3) It should produce the least amount of waste products.
The proteins present in meat and seafood contain high amounts of sodium, creatinine, and potassium, which put an extra load on the kidneys to filter out this excess waste. Therefore, meat should be consumed in limited quantities, especially for someone with a severe form of kidney disease.
A vegetarian source of protein like dal (lentils) is preferable for patients with kidney diseases because these do not contain high levels of such waste materials and are relatively easy to digest.
So circling back to the question of which dals should be eaten by people with kidney diseases.
Dals to Eat for Kidney Diseases
Moong Dal (Yellow Lentils)
Moong dal is one of the best sources of protein for kidney patients. It is best eaten mixed with rice as khichdi. The combination of dal and rice fulfills the essential amino acid requirement, making it a complete protein source.
Arhar Dal (Pigeon Peas)
Arhar dal is free of cholesterol and has a sufficient amount of protein and fiber. Also, it is not heavy on the digestive system and is a healthy choice for maintaining our gut health.
Dals to Eat in Moderation
Masoor Dal (Red Lentils)
Masoor dal contains high amounts of folate, potassium, tryptophan, copper, iron, etc. The kidneys have to work harder to excrete out these excess waste products. Therefore, it is better for people suffering from kidney diseases to consume masoor dal in moderation.
Urad Dal (Black Gram)
Urad dal increases the production of Uric Acid in the body, which has to be removed by the kidneys. This can burden the kidneys of a person suffering from kidney failure. It also contains large quantities of calcium, iron, and potassium and should be eaten in moderate amounts.
Chana Dal (Chickpeas)
Chana dal takes a long time to digest in our system. When it comes to kidney diseases, chana dal should be consumed in minimal amounts. It is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and fiber. All these things are generally good for our health but can put an extra workload on the kidneys, especially for someone undergoing dialysis.
The most important thing to keep in mind while eating dals is that whichever dal you choose, it is important to soak it in water before you cook it. This will decrease the potassium content in the dal, which in turn will help reduce the load on the kidneys.
People with kidney diseases must follow a strict diet that is specifically tailored for them to cut down the amounts of toxic products that come from the food they consume. Following a proper diet chart also helps improve the overall functioning of the kidneys in the long run and slow down the progression of kidney failure. Eating nutritious and well-balanced meals is extremely important for a kidney patient to reduce the levels of waste materials in the body.