A KidneyBuzz.com viewer, Debbie Luca wrote, "I recently read this New York Times article about a grain called, Quinoa. It is awesome and loaded with health benefits. I am eating it all of the time. I cannot get enough of the grain. Can you offer more recipes where I can enjoy more Quinoa?"
Quinoa (keen-wah) has surged in popularity in recent years as a desirable grain that said to offer a number of health benefits including lowering blood pressure and improving heart health. Some publications have referred to Quinoa as a "Miracle Grain" or "Nutrition Gold." However, in most cases, the health benefits of this great grain may be outweighed by its potentially detrimental impacts for Chronic Kidney Disease patients conducting Dialysis.
The Large Dialysis Organization, Fresenius Medical Care Holdings, Inc. categorized Quinoa as a "low-quality protein" along with amaranth, buckwheat, enriched cornmeal, brown rice, and dark rye. DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc. (second largest Dialysis Organization in the United States), defined Quinoa as "high phosphorus" and recommended that patients limit their intake. Buzzle.com also list Quinoa as rich in potassium with a whopping 1258mg per serving. Inadequate protein intake, as well as overconsuming phosphorus and potassium, can lead to a number of health complications in Dialysis patients including excessive itching, heart rate abnormalities, severe fatigue, loss of mental alertness, a higher risk of infections, and in some extreme cases even death.
Still, some patients love the grain. The following are a sample of comments from Dialysis patients about Quinoa:
- Peggie Smith: "I love eating tofu as well as Quinoa because they are healthier options."
- Veronica Lo: "Dark leafy greens and Quinoa are great and you don’t have to have a huge amount!"
- Joan Hogan : "Good grains that I like are brown rice, quinoa, and barley. Hope this helps."
- Ben Reily: "I’ve just learned to love Quinoa and now use it in many of my recipes."
Dialysis patients may consider substituting Quinoa for other options which better match the Renal Diet such as "White or wild rice, white or whole wheat pasta or macaroni, grits, couscous, bulgur or pearled barley," according to DaVita. If you still would like to eat Quinoa, then make sure that you discuss the idea with your Dietitian to determine if it fits your personal diet.
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