Kidney Disease Diet: 8 Foods That May Be Beneficial, According to Experts

Kidney Disease Diet: 8 Foods That May Be Beneficial, According to Experts

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The food you eat and the drinks you drink can be a huge impact.

If you suffer from an ongoing kidney disease one of the first things you’ll need to do is to consult with a renal nutritionist, also known as an expert in nutrition who is specialized in kidney health. Certain foods, including beneficial foods, such as vegetables and fruits may require a restriction or are completely off-limits if you suffer from kidney disease.

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“At first, a kidney-friendly diet can seem overwhelming to my patients with CKD, but over time, it becomes something that’s much more manageable,” says Melissa Ann Prest, DCN, RDN, a renal nutritionist from Chicago and representative on behalf of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.


What should I eat when I suffer from a chronic kidney condition?

Your diet restrictions are based on the level of renal disease that you’re in 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,” she says to health. “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.”

Here are eight items that you should consider including in your daily diet, regardless of the level of CKD.



Patients with CKD have to be mindful of the amount of consumption of salt. “When your kidneys are damaged, they can’t control how much sodium is in your body, which can cause your blood pressure to rise,” says Staci Leisman MD an expert in kidneys at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. This, in turn, increases kidney damage and increases your risk of developing heart disease.


If you suffer from kidney problems it is crucial to adhere to the guidelines of organizations like those of the American Heart Association and the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) and consume less than 2300 milligrams per day. Patients in the latter stage of kidney disease could require a lower intake as suggested by Dr. Leisman.


One way to reduce sodium intake is to use your spice rack rather than using the shaker for salt, advises Erin Rossi, RD, an expert in nutrition who specializes in kidney diseases at the Cleveland Clinic.


Spices such as curry, basil, and ginger. Dill, ginger, and rosemary can bring flavor to your food including meat or vegetables. The kidney foundation recommends that you buy the spices in small quantities as they lose their flavor with time. Sprinkle ground spices on food within 15 minutes of when the food is cooked, and then add whole spices to your food at least an hour prior to the food being cooked, as the kidney foundation suggests. If you’re using fresh herbs blend them with butter or oil allow them to sit for 30 minutes and then apply them to meats or other vegetables while they cook.


Although you might be enticed to substitute salt for it, Rossi doesn’t recommend it. “They often contain potassium, which many patients, particularly those with late-stage disease, need to limit,” she says.


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The fact is that every kind of fruit is a nutritional powerhouse. They’re high in antioxidants that are heart-healthy such as vitamin C, says the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. But they also possess a second benefit: they’re very low in potassium. “When people get into very late-stage kidney disease, certain foods, even nutritious ones like fruits and vegetables, can increase the potassium in your blood to a dangerous level,” states Prest. It can trigger symptoms like the feeling of numbness, weakness, or the sensation of tingling. Sometimes, it can trigger heart palpitations or an attack of the heart.


The benefits of berries are not just that obvious in that they reduce the risk of high blood pressure. This is a risk aspect of kidney diseases. A study that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition discovered that those who had the most intakes of the antioxidant anthocyanin, which is mostly found in blueberries and strawberries – had an 8 percent decrease in the chance of developing high blood pressure compared to those who consumed the least. Other fruits that are low in potassium are cherries, apple fruit, plums, peaches grapes, and pears.


Some of the most potassium-rich fruits are melons, avocados, bananas as well as oranges, prunes, and raisins. However, always consult your nutritionist before removing the foods that contain potassium, advises Prest. “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,” states Prest.


“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,” says Prest. What should you be looking for when shopping? NKFsuggests looking at the labels for ingredients that have “phos”–for instance, dicalcium phosphate disodium monosodium phosphate, an acid called phosphoric.



The kidney-related patients must restrict how much protein they consume. “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 says. Rossi. You still require protein to keep your muscle mass and aid in fighting against infection.


“When it comes to protein, it’s also not just about how much you eat–it’s about eating higher quality proteins,” she says. Animal proteins such as chicken, meat, fish eggs, and fish are the most simple protein sources for your body to digest and utilize in comparison to plant-based proteins. However, eggs are an excellent source of protein due to the fact that they’re also low in phosphorus which is a mineral you must limit if you suffer from an ongoing kidney condition, Rossi notes.


“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,” she says. Although foods such as nuts seeds, peanut butter, seeds, and beans are excellent sources of protein and are a part of a heart-healthy eating plan, they’re very high in mineral phosphorus. Consult your dietitian regarding the quantity of these items you’re able to safely consume.


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Olive oil

A diet that is healthy for kidneys is one that is low in saturated fats, which can increase the risk of developing heart disease, according to Rossi. Healthy fats like olive oil are the most suitable option for cooking and baking as well as make use of it instead of dressings for salads that are high in fat Rossi says.


A Mediterranean-type diet, which is with a high proportion of fruits, vegetables fish, and heart-healthy fats such as olive oil–is connected to a 50% reduction in the chance of developing chronic kidney diseases, and an increase of 42% in the risk of suffering from rapid declines in kidney function according to a study from 2014 released in the journal Clinical Journal published by the American Society of Nephrology. It’s also sodium-potassium-, as well as phosphate-free which makes it an ideal option for those suffering from kidney disease.


Cauliflower, along with other cruciferous vegetables

Are you craving potassium-rich potatoes? Try mashed cauliflower instead. It’s high in fiber and low in potassium and phosphorus, which makes it a nutritious choice for people suffering from kidney diseases, according to Prest.


A few delicious ways to enjoy it are to puree it into cream sauce, then mash it to make pie dough or use it as an alternative to rice, or make it into a pickle for a low-calorie, salty, and tasty snack. Other cruciferous vegetables, like cabbage and kale, are great choices as well. (Broccoli is equally good however, you should eat it raw since cooked broccoli has more potassium, as the NKF notes.)


It is also possible to leach high-potassium vegetables such as sweet potatoes, potatoes, beets, and carrots as well as winter squash to get some potassium, NKF explains. Slice them to 1/8-inch thickness then wash them and then soak for at least 2 days in water that is warm, using the ratio of 10:1 water to vegetable. Cook them using more than five times the quantity of water and the number of vegetables.



It’s likely that you’ve been told to limit your intake of fluids if you suffer from kidney disease, however, this is only applicable in the last stages of kidney disease when you need dialysis. “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,” Dr. Prest.


Water helps your kidneys get rid of bloodborne wastes and keeps those blood vessels open to ensure that your kidneys can receive blood according to the NKF. If you’re dehydrated and dehydrated, it becomes more difficult for the delivery system to function and may cause more damage to your kidneys. This also lowers the risk of developing kidney stones and urinary tract infections Both of which can affect the kidneys. The tea and coffee drinks are good for you and could protect you from harm: a research study that was published in the Journal of Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation discovered that the more caffeine that people suffering from chronic kidney disease consumed the less chance they have of dying due to many causes. Make sure to drink it in black or drink it with an as little cream or milk as you can, as dairy is a major source of phosphorus.


If you’re in the later stages of kidney disease your doctor may advise that you should limit your intake of all fluids, which includes water. First, cut down on foods that have lots of water like soup or ice, gelatin, and in addition to certain vegetables and fruits as suggested by Prest. NKFsays most dialysis patients need to limit their fluid intake to around 32 ounces daily.)


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Refined grains

It’s surprising that you don’t need to avoid all white pasta, white bread, rice, or other refined grain products. Actually, these foods can be beneficial to those suffering from advanced CKD who must limit the amount of potassium and phosphorus in their diets as per the NKF. It’s because these minerals are found in the blood of kidney patients who aren’t functioning properly and cause havoc to their bones and their heart according to The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).


The greater the amount of bran as well as a whole grain in bread, the greater their potassium and phosphorus content.


“Whole grain products are higher in phosphorus and potassium, so they need to be limited if you have kidney disease,” Rossi says. Rossi. Be careful not to overdo the starchy foods, since they could cause you to gain weight and increase your chances to develop type 2 diabetes. It is the leading cause of kidney diseases according to the NIDDK.


Garlic and onions

Garlic as well as onions which include shallots and chives as well as leeks are all part of the one family, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Health. They’re also a good choice to season food items when you suffer from chronic kidney disease because they impart a richly sweet, savory flavor that can keep you from using the salt shaker, or seasonings that contain phosphorus added, according to Prest.


They may also protect against CKD. Why? They contain allicin, which is a substance that is believed to lower blood pressure and enhance kidney function. A study from 2017 released in the International Journal of Molecular Science found that allicin in high doses was as efficient as the blood pressure medication and kidney disease drug losartan. 2016 study published in another journal found that allicin could reduce blood pressure in those with CKD.

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