Some foods may be good for the kidneys. Examples include dark leafy greens, oily fish, and berries. A dietitian can help a person create a kidney-healthy eating plan.
The kidneys filter waste products from the blood and send them out of the body in the urine. They are also responsible for balancing fluid and electrolyte levels.
The kidneys perform these tasks with no outside help. Several conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, may affect their ability to function.
Ultimately, kidney damage may lead to chronic kidney disease (CKD). As the authors of a
Following a kidney-healthy diet plan may help the kidneys function properly and prevent damage to these organs. However, although some foods generally help support a healthy kidney, not all of them are suitable for people who have CKD.
This article discusses 6 foods that are generally good for the kidneys and 8 foods that are best for CKD.
The kidneys then use water to filter these toxins and create the urine that transports them out of the body. Inadequate water intake can also increase the risk of developing kidney stones.
A person can support these functions by drinking whenever they feel thirsty. People can also get part of their daily water intake from various foods, such as fruits and vegetables.
The body cannot make omega-3 fatty acids, meaning they have to come from a person’s diet. Fatty fish are a natural source of these healthful fats.
Sweet potatoes are similar to white potatoes, but their excess fiber may cause them to break down more slowly, resulting in less of a spike in blood sugar levels. Sweet potatoes also contain vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, that may help balance the levels of sodium in the body and reduce its effect on the kidneys.
However, as sweet potato is a high-potassium food, people who have CKD or are on dialysis may wish to limit their intake of this vegetable in order to reduce their potassium intake based on the instructions of their healthcare professional.
However, these foods also tend to be high in potassium, so they may not be suitable for people on a restricted diet.
Dark berries, which include strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, are a great source of many helpful nutrients and antioxidant compounds. These may help protect the cells in the body from damage.
Berries are likely to be a better option than other sugary foods for satisfying a sweet craving.
Apples can also often satisfy a craving for sweets.
While the above foods may support a healthy kidney in general, they are not always the best choices for people with CKD.
Healthcare professionals typically recommend that people with CKD limit or avoid minerals that the kidneys process, such as sodium, potassium, and phosphorous.
As CKD progresses, people may also need to limit their phosphorous intake, as this mineral can build up in the blood of people with this condition.
Choosing the right amount of potassium is also important for people with CKD, as problems may occur when potassium levels get too high or low.
People with CKD may need to aim to eat healthful foods that fit within their daily targes for these minerals but still provide the body with other nutrients.
It may also be important for people with CKD to reduce their protein intake and only include small amounts of protein in their meals. When the body uses protein, it turns into waste, which the kidneys must then filter out.
For this an various other reasons, people with CKD should work directly with a dietitian to create a suitable diet plan that meets their needs.
Cabbage is a leafy vegetable that may be beneficial for people with CKD. It is relatively low in potassium and very low in sodium, yet it also contains many helpful compounds and vitamins.
2. Red bell peppers
In addition to being very low in minerals such as sodium and potassium, red bell peppers contain helpful antioxidant compounds, which may protect the cells from damage.
Garlic is an excellent seasoning choice for people with CKD. It can give other foods a more satisfying, full flavor, which may reduce the need for extra salt. Garlic also offers a range of health benefits.
Cauliflower is a versatile vegetable for people with CKD. With the right preparation, it makes a good replacement for foods such as rice, mashed potatoes, and even pizza crust.
Cauliflower also contains a range of nutrients without providing too much sodium, potassium, or phosphorous.
People with CKD may have to avoid many greens, but arugula can be a good replacement. Arugula is generally lower in potassium than other greens, but it still contains fiber and other beneficial nutrients.
The fruits below can be a healthful sweet snack for people with CKD:
It is important to limit these fruits to no more than a 1/2 cup serving. Eating larger portions can make it so they are no longer low potassium options.
7. Olive oil
Olive oil may be the best cooking oil because of the type of fat that it contains. Olive oil is high in oleic acid, which is a monounsaturated fatty acid that may help reduce inflammation in the body.
8. Egg whites
Eggs are a simple protein, but the yolks are very high in phosphorous. People with CKD can make omelets or scrambled eggs using just the egg whites.
Foods for people with CKD to avoid or limit
For people with CKD, some foods may be difficult for the body to process and might place more stress on the kidneys. These include:
There are several foods that people may wish to limit or avoid if they want to improve their kidney health or prevent damage to these organs.
These include the following:
Too much phosphorus can put stress on the kidneys. Animal
However, there is not enough evidence to prove that phosphorous causes this damage, so more research into this topic is necessary.
For people looking to reduce their phosphorous intake, try limiting foods that contain phosphorous as a preservative.
- fast foods
- ready to eat foods
- canned and bottled drinks
- enhanced meats
- and most processed foods
However, not everyone will need to limit their phosphorus intake. They should speak with a dietician if they have any questions or concerns.
Some types of protein may be harder for the kidneys, or the body in general, to process. These include red meat.
Here are some frequently asked questions about kidneys and diet.
What can you eat with kidney failure?
Consuming fresh foods
What should you not eat if you have kidney failure?
It is best to avoid foods high in sodium if a person has kidney failure. Processed, prepackaged, and canned foods are often high in sodium. Reading nutrition labels can help a person monitor their sodium intake.
A person may also need to reduce their phosphorus intake. Foods lower in phosphorus include fresh fruits and vegetables, breads, rice, pasta, rice and corn cereals, and rice milk that is not enriched.
What fruit helps kidneys?
According to the National Kidney Foundation, fruits that may be beneficial for kidney health include pomegranates, avocados, strawberries, blueberries, cherries, apples, and citrus fruits.
What can I eat to boost my kidneys?
Foods that may help boost kidney health include low-phosphorus cheese, fish, root vegetables, broccoli, beans, seeds, nuts, leafy greens, whole grains, herbs, eggs, and shellfish.
What foods can you eat to repair your kidneys?
No single food can repair kidney damage. However, consuming a kidney-healthy diet can help reduce the risk of further damage. This includes consuming fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and fish. A person can also read nutrition labels to choose foods that are low in sodium and phosphorus.
The kidneys play an important role in filtering the blood and eliminating waste products in the urine. Many foods may help support an already healthy kidney and prevent damage to this organ.
However, people with chronic kidney disease mayneed to follow a different set of dietary rules to protect their kidneys from further damage.
It is always a good idea to talk with a licensed dietitian before moving forward with any dietary changes.