Your body converts creatine, a chemical your muscles use for energy, into creatinine, a waste product that is excreted through your kidneys. High creatinine levels may be a sign that your kidneys are not functioning properly. The diet for people with a high creatinine is geared toward preserving kidney function and is low in protein, sodium, potassium and phosphorus. Consult your doctor about your diet if your creatinine levels are high.
If your creatinine levels are high, your doctor may suggest you limit the amount of protein in your diet. Eating more protein than your body needs increases the amount of waste your kidneys need to remove, making them work harder. Limiting protein intake to 0.4 gram per pound, or 60 grams if you weigh 150 pounds, is recommended to preserve kidney function. Most of your protein should come from high-biological value sources, such as lean meat, poultry, eggs and milk, to limit the amount of waste produced. For reference, 60 grams of chicken is about 2 ounces.
Watch the Sodium
Your kidneys are also responsible for removing sodium from your body. If your creatinine levels are elevated because your kidneys are not working properly, sodium levels build up in your body. Eating less sodium also helps you better manage blood pressure, which may also preserve kidney function. Your doctor can help you determine sodium limits, but you should at least limit your intake to less than 2,300 milligrams a day. To reduce sodium intake, trade in your processed foods, such as deli meats, chips and fast food, for more fresh foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, meats and seafood prepared without salt, pasta, rice, and milk.
Be Careful With High-Potassium Foods
You may also need to limit your intake of foods high in potassium when your creatinine levels are high. Your kidneys are responsible for balancing the amount of potassium in your body. High levels of potassium may lead to an irregular heartbeat or even a heart attack. Fruits and vegetables are the primary source of potassium in the diet. Oranges, bananas, potatoes and broccoli are considered high-potassium foods. Eating mostly low-potassium fruits and vegetables, such as apples, blueberries, corn and cucumbers, may help you keep blood potassium levels within a normal range.
Phosphorus and Bone Health
Phosphorus is another nutrient in food you may need to be careful about when your creatinine levels are elevated. Like sodium, your kidneys are responsible for removing phosphorus from your blood. Having high levels of phosphorus in your blood causes your body to pull calcium out of your bones, which may weaken them. Limiting your intake of foods high in phosphorus, such as chocolate, organ meats, beans and milk, may help improve blood phosphorus levels and keep your bones healthy and strong.
- MedlinePlus: Creatinine Blood Test
- MedlinePlus: Chronic Kidney Disease
- National Kidney Foundation: Nutrition and Early Kidney Disease
- The Nephron Information Center: Dietary Protein for the Person With Chronic Kidney Disease
- National Kidney Disease and Education Program: Sodium: Tips for People with Chronic Kidney Disease
- National Kidney Foundation: Potassium and Your CKD Diet
- National Kidney Foundation: Phosphorus and Your CKD Diet