A significant percentage of the human body is made of protein and without protein, our bodies would be unable to heal from injury, stop bleeding or fight infection. That is why eating protein is so important to staying healthy. Protein intake is not straight forward for Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) patients because in some cases those with CKD are recommended to limit their protein intake while in others they need to increase their protein.
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In the case of those on dialysis, a low protein diet is no longer needed because dialysis removes waste buildup in the body. In fact since critical amino acids are removed during dialysis, a higher protein intake is needed to help keep patients well nourished and healthy. High protein foods like meat, milk and eggs can be high in fat and cholesterol. Hence, if you have high cholesterol or cardiovascular disease, your doctor and dietitian may recommend eating protein-rich foods that are more heart friendly such as fish. While, people generally believe that all fish is good for them, they may be surprised to learn that some are not. Here are a few fish that the nonprofit, Food and Water Watch, recommends people should avoid.
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Nearly 90 percent of the catfish imported to the U.S. comes from Vietnam, where use of antibiotics that are banned in the U.S. is widespread. The two varieties of Vietnamese catfish sold in the U.S., Swai and Basa, are not technically considered catfish by the federal government and therefore are not held to the same inspection rules that other imported catfish are. Individuals should consider eating only domestic, responsibly farmed catfish, suggested the director of the Fish Program at Food & Water Watch, Marianne Cufone.
Avoid Atlantic Flat Fish such as flounder, sole and halibut that are caught off the Atlantic coast. They were found to have heavy contamination and are overfished. According to Food & Water Watch, you should substitute this fish with Pacific halibut or other mild-flavored white-fleshed fish, such as tilapia.
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American Eel (also called yellow or silver eel) is a favorite of sushi lovers but is highly contaminated with chemicals such as mercury. Fisheries are also suffering from some pollution and overharvesting. If you like the taste of eel, try Atlantic- or Pacific-caught squid instead.
Imported shrimp is very hard to avoid, as 90 percent of shrimp sold in the U.S. is imported. However according to the study, "Imported farmed shrimp comes with a whole bevy of contaminants: antibiotics, residues from chemicals used to clean pens, filth like mouse hair, rat hair and pieces of insects." Even E. coli has been detected in imported shrimp. Part of this has to do with the fact that less than 2 percent of all imported seafood (shrimp, crab, catfish or others) gets inspected before its sold, which is why it is that much more important to buy domestic seafood. Seafood eaters should look for domestic shrimp. Seventy percent of domestic shrimp comes from the Gulf of Mexico, which relies heavily on shrimp for economic reasons. Pink shrimp from Oregon are another good choice because the fisheries there are certified under the stringent Marine Stewardship Council guidelines.
KidneyBuzz.com encourages you to discuss listed fish with your Dietitian to ensure they are in fact bad for you. Do not alter your diet in any way without first talking to your healthcare team.