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You can maintain or improve albumin by knowing how much protein to eat, and by including protein-rich, kidney-friendly foods each day. If you’re not on dialysis and are on a lower-protein kidney diet, at least half your daily protein allowance should come from high-quality protein sources. It’s important to make sure your protein intake comes from high-quality sources, such as these foods:
Made from turkey or lean beef, both of these protein sources give you iron to help prevent anemia. A 3-ounce cooked burger has 21 grams of good-quality protein.
Protein from chicken can range from 14 to 28 grams. Use fresh meat products and avoid pre-made roasted chicken and other processed meats, which often contain large amounts of sodium and phosphorus. This excess sodium and phosphorus isn’t good for patients with chronic kidney disease.
Compared to milk, yogurt and cheese, cottage cheese is lower in potassium and phosphorus. Sodium is still a concern, but it’s easy to create a meal low enough in sodium to include cottage cheese when it’s paired with low-potassium fruits such as berries or peaches.
Snacking is a great way to sneak in extra protein. One deviled egg contributes 6 grams of protein.
Try the DaVita.com kidney-friendly Denver Omelet recipe, which has 17 grams of high-quality protein.
Egg whites are 100 percent albumin, the best quality protein you can eat. Two egg whites provide 7.2 grams of pure protein.
Fish, such as salmon, mackerel and rainbow trout, and even shrimp, are great protein choices. A 3-ounce portion of cooked fish has approximately 15-21 grams of protein.
When eaten as a meat replacement, Greek yogurt may work into your meal plan, with a cup adding 22 grams of protein to your diet. Ask your dietitian for individual recommendations.
Smoothies are quick and easy to make. In addition to your favorite fruit, include a low-potassium milk substitute and protein powder or pasteurized egg product.
Veggie burgers, veggie sausage and veggie crumbles are easy to find meat substitutes. Be sure to watch out for higher sodium, potassium or phosphorus, and check with your dietitian to learn about the best choices.
Nepro®, Suplena®, NovaSource Renal®, Nutren Renal® and ReGen® are some kidney-specific nutrition drinks available for dialysis diets or CKD non-dialysis diets that are also good sources of protein. Often these products are used as dietary supplements when a person is unable to eat enough.
In addition to high-quality protein, pork chops are a good source of iron and thiamine. A 3-ounce cooked chop provides 20 to 26 grams of protein.
Pure Protein®, Premier Nutrition®, Balance Bars®, Zone Perfect®, EAS Myoplex®, ProMax®, PowerBar® and Atkins Advantage® offer several kidney-friendly bars. Look for bars that contain more than 15 grams of protein, below 150 mg phosphorus and less than 200 mg potassium and sodium.
Protein powders and liquids provide a concentrated protein source that can be added to foods or beverages. Check with your dietitian before consuming protein powder or liquid protein supplements.
Tofu, made from soy beans, comes in varying textures, and can be an acceptable protein alternative to meat, poultry and fish. A 1/2 cup of tofu can have 7 to 13 grams of protein.
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