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Kidney Disease Diet: 8 Foods That May Be Beneficial

kidney disease diet

One of the most crucial things you should do if you have chronic kidney disease (CKD), which is defined as the inability of the kidneys to filter blood owing to damage, is to consult with a renal nutritionist, or nutritionist who specializes in kidney function, as soon as possible.

Chronic Kidney Disease Diet

“My patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) may find a kidney-friendly diet overwhelming at first, but with time, it becomes much more manageable,” renal dietitian Melissa Ann Prest, DCN, RDN, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, stated in Chicago.

When you have renal illness, several foods even fruits and vegetables may need to be avoided or limited severely.

Depending on your renal illness stage, your food limitations may vary, according to Prest. “In the early stages, it’s all about following an overall healthy low-sodium diet, especially if you have other conditions like type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure,” Prest said. “But as the disease progresses, you’ll find that you also need to start restricting protein, as well as foods high in the minerals potassium and phosphorus.”

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Regardless of your stage of CKD, you should include these eight items into your normal diet.


Every CKD patient has to limit their consumption of salt. “Your blood pressure may increase if your kidneys are damaged because they are unable to regulate the amount of sodium in your body,” said Staci Leisman, MD, a kidney expert at Mount Sinai Hospital. According to the CDC, this increases your risk of heart disease and exacerbates renal impairment.

It is crucial that you abide by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and take no more than 2,300 milligrams per day if you have renal disease. Dr. Leisman said, “People with advanced kidney disease may need to go even lower.”

Reaching for your spice rack rather of the salt shaker is a fantastic approach to cut sodium from your kidney disease diet, according to Cleveland Clinic renal disease dietician Erin Rossi, RD.

Herbs such as basil, curry, dill, ginger, and rosemary may enhance the taste of any food, whether it vegetarian or meat-based. Spices lose flavour with time, thus the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) advises buying them in moderate quantities.

Additionally, the NKF advises adding whole spices to cuisine at least an hour in advance and ground spices around 15 minutes before you complete cooking. When using fresh herbs, mix them with butter or oil, let rest for half an hour, and then brush the mixture over the meat or vegetables while they cook.


Undoubtedly, berries of all kinds are nutrient-dense superfoods. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states that berries are an excellent source of heart-healthy antioxidants, such as vitamin C. However, they also have the advantage of having little potassium. “When people get into very late-stage kidney disease diet, certain foods, even nutritious ones like fruits and vegetables, can increase the potassium in your blood to a dangerous level,” said Prest. According to the NKF, this may result in symptoms including tingling, weakness, and numbness or even heart palpitations.

The Harvard School of Public Health lists bananas, avocados, melons, oranges, spinach, and raisins as fruits that are richer in potassium. However, Prest advised always seeing a dietitian before eliminating certain items. “If your potassium levels are normal, then there’s no reason why you can’t safely eat these fruits, which are all good for you.”

According to the NFK, low-potassium fruits include pears, apples, cherries, peaches, plums, and grapes.

“We’re more concerned about patients avoiding processed foods that have phosphorous added to them to make them shelf stable, like pancake mixes, chicken patties, and macaroni and cheese,” said Prest. So what should you search for at a store? The NKF advised looking for additives that include “phos,” such as:

  • Dicalcium phosphate
  • Disodium phosphate
  • Monosodium phosphate
  • Phosphoric acid


It is necessary for those with renal illness to consume less protein. “Having too much protein can cause waste to build up in your blood, and your kidneys may not be able to remove all the extra waste,” Rossi said. To preserve muscle mass and support your body’s ability to fight off infections, you still need a sufficient amount of protein.

“When it comes to protein, it’s also not just about how much you eat it’s about eating higher quality proteins,” Rossi said.

Because they are low in phosphorus, another element you should restrict if you have chronic renal disease, eggs are an especially beneficial source of protein, according to Rossi.

“When your kidneys are not working well, phosphorus builds up in your blood, which can leach calcium from your bones and raise your risk of developing osteoporosis,” Rossi said. Although foods rich in phosphorus, such as nuts, seeds, peanut butter, and beans, are heart-healthy and excellent sources of protein, they should also be avoided. Find out from your nutritionist how much of these items you can consume without risk.

Olive Oil

According to Rossi, a diet low in saturated fat is better for your kidneys since it lowers your risk of heart disease. According to Rossi, this makes healthy fats like olive oil the ideal option for baking and cooking. You can also use it in lieu of salad dressings that are rich in fat.

A research published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology found a 50% lower chance of developing chronic kidney disease diet in those following a Mediterranean-style diet, which is high in fruits, vegetables, seafood, and heart-healthy fats like olive oil. It’s also devoid of phosphate, potassium, and sodium, which makes it a great option for those who have renal illness.

Cruciferous Vegetables

Have a hankering for potatoes high in potassium? Eat some mashed cauliflower in its instead. Prest noted that since it is low in phosphorus and potassium and rich in fibre, it is a good option for those who have renal illness.

Some delicious ways to consume it include pickled for a low-calorie, salty, crunchy, and satisfying snack, mashed into a pizza crust, pureed as a cream sauce, or grated as a rice alternative. Other cruciferous vegetables, such as kale or cabbage, are also excellent options. Broccoli is also OK, although it’s best consumed raw since, according to the NKF, cooked broccoli has more potassium.

According to the NKF, you may leach vegetables that are rich in potassium, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, and winter squash, to extract part of the potassium. Cut them into 1/8-inch slices, give them a quick washing, and then soak them in warm water with a 10-to-1 water-to-vegetable ratio for at least two hours. After that, simmer them in five times as much water as there are veggies.


According to the NKF, while you may have heard that people with kidney disease diet need to limit their fluid consumption, this is really only true in the latter stages of the illness when dialysis is necessary. “If you’re not at that point, and you don’t have swelling in your legs, feet, or ankles, or around your eyes, it’s usually not necessary,” said Prest.

According to the NKF, water itself aids in the kidneys’ removal of waste products from your blood and keeps blood arteries open, allowing blood to reach your kidneys. This administration mechanism is less effective and may possibly worsen kidney damage if you’re dehydrated. Additionally, it lessens your risk of kidney stones and urinary tract infections, which harm the kidneys.

Your doctor could advise you to drink less water if you have renal disease that is advanced. Reducing consumption of items high in water, such as soup, ice, gelatin, and certain fruits and vegetables, is the first step, according to Prest. Most dialysis patients would have to limit their daily fluid intake to around 32 ounces, according to the NKF.

Refined Grains

Rice, spaghetti, white bread, and other refined grains are not off limits. In fact, the NKF suggests that these foods could be helpful for those with severely advanced CKD who need to restrict their intake of potassium and/or phosphorus. It turns out that bread’s phosphorus and potassium levels increase with the amount of bran and whole grains it contains.

“Whole grain products are higher in phosphorus and potassium, so they need to be limited if you have kidney disease,” Rossi said. Just watch how much starchy food you eat the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) states that starchy foods may make you gain weight and increase your risk of type 2 diabetes, which is the primary cause of kidney damage.

Garlic and Onions

According to Prest, if you have chronic renal illness, garlic and onions are excellent choices for flavouring meals since they have a strong, savoury flavour that will keep you from going for the salt shaker or spices containing extra phosphorus.

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A person with chronic renal disease has several alternatives when it comes to eating a balanced diet. You may flavour your cuisine by adding spices, onions, and garlic if you cut down on salt. You are allowed to consume eggs, cruciferous vegetables, refined grains, and certain fruits. Additionally, you should maintain your fluid intake, unless you have advanced renal disease.

It might be challenging to keep up a kidney-healthy diet. To ensure that any big dietary adjustments you make are healthy for you, speak with a dietitian before making any.