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What To Eat When You Have Kidney Failure

Why Is Diet Important In The Early Stages

What Should You Eat If You Have Kidney Disease?

Your kidneys are bean-shaped, fist in size. Most human beings have two kidneys that are located on each side of the spine below the rib cage. The kidneys primary functions are to:

  • Regulate water within the body
  • Flush out waste from the body
  • Maintain a balance between minerals such as calcium
  • Make hormones, which include those that control blood pressure and red blood cell production

CKD consists of five stages. In early stages one and two, your kidneys may go properly and you do not have any symptoms.

In case your kidneys continue to lose their function, your health care expert may suggest you make necessary changes to your diet. There are different diet plans for people suffering from kidney disease. These diet plans are important for the treatment of stage 1 and stage 2 CKD.

In early kidney disorder, the primary aim is to help your kidneys function better for longer. Eating a variety of foods together with vegetables and fruits, whole grains and protein ingredients can assist. If youve high blood pressure or diabetes, try to control those conditions through lifestyle changes and diet modifications and taking any medication prescribed through your medical doctor. A dietitian can help you plan a weight loss plan that is appropriate for all your fitness conditions.

Diet Tips For Kidney Problems

Note that the following diet tips are not for people who are on dialysis or had kidney transplantation. For those who went either of the treatments, following the special instructions as provided by the doctor is essential.

  • People already diagnosed with kidney problems will have to limit the amount of salt, fluids, and protein intake. In some cases, it is also essential to limit phosphorus and potassium contents.
  • There is no single diet plan that suits all kidney problems. The diet procedure changes according to the person, health conditions, age, gender, and other factors. The doctor will consider all these before providing an appropriate diet plan for your kidney problems.
  • It will be hard for many, as the change in the diet requires sacrificing many of the foods that you love. But, remember that the move will help you in keeping healthy and stay away from kidney problems or kidney failure.
  • It is crucial to have the needed calories for the body to keep it up and to run all the day. If the diet is not providing sufficient calories, talk to your dietician.
  • Potatoes And Sweet Potatoes

    Potatoes and sweet potatoes are potassium-rich vegetables.

    Just one medium-sized baked potato contains 610 mg of potassium, whereas one average-sized baked sweet potato contains 541 mg of potassium .

    Fortunately, some high potassium foods, including potatoes and sweet potatoes, can be soaked or leached to reduce their potassium contents.

    Cutting potatoes into small, thin pieces and boiling them for at least 10 minutes can reduce the potassium content by about 50% .

    Potatoes that are soaked in water for at least 4 hours before cooking are proven to have an even lower potassium content than those not soaked before cooking .

    This method is known as potassium leaching or the double-cook method.

    Although double cooking potatoes lowers the potassium content, its important to remember that their potassium content isnt eliminated by this method.

    Considerable amounts of potassium can still be present in double-cooked potatoes, so its best to practice portion control to keep potassium levels in check.


    Potatoes and sweet potatoes are high potassium vegetables. Boiling or double cooking potatoes can decrease their potassium content by about 50%.

    Tomatoes are another high potassium fruit that may not fit the guidelines of a renal diet.

    They can be served raw or stewed and are often used to make sauces.

    Just 1 cup of tomato sauce can contain upwards of 900 mg of potassium .

    Unfortunately for those on a renal diet, tomatoes are commonly used in many dishes.


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    Foods To Avoid For Kidney Disease Potato & Sweet Potato

    Both potatoes and sweet potatoes are rich in potassium. Therefore, kidney disease patients, especially those in the late stages, have to be very aware of them.

    A medium baked potato can contain up to 610 mg of potassium. In comparison, a standard baked sweet potato contains 541 mg of potassium.

    We have a tip for you: It is best to soak potatoes or sweet potatoes before cooking. This way, you can reduce its potassium contents. A study shows that boiling small, thin pieces of potatoes for at least 10 minutes can reduce potassium content by 50%. Another research implies that soaking a potato before cooking can reduce its potassium content by 70%.

    While it is possible to get rid of excess potassium in potatoes and sweet potatoes, they are still high in carbs. Therefore, if you have kidney disease and diabetes or are at risk of diabetes, it is best to eat them in moderation.

    Renal Diet Protocol And Eating Plan

    17 Foods to Avoid If You Have Bad Kidneys

    Here is an overview of the renal diet guidelines:

    Here is an example of a renal diet menu:

    • Breakfasts: whole grain pancakes topped with ¼ cup walnuts and 1 cup fruit, plus 8 ounces of milk or plain yogurt 2 eggs with cooked greens and 1 piece of toast or 1 cup homemade hash brown potatoes smoothie made with collagen protein, berries, spinach and yogurt/milk 8 ounces plain yogurt, ½ cup blueberries, 2 tablespoons sliced almonds, ¼ cup granola.
    • Lunches: Salad with fish/chicken and dressed with olive oil and vinegar 4 ounces tuna or salmon salad served with sweet potato and veggies.
    • Dinners: 4 ounces of fish or chicken salad with cooked veggies and 1/2 cup rice or quinoa stew/soup made with meat and veggies and a side salad.
    • Snacks: fruit, yogurt, handful of nuts, protein smoothie or yogurt.

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    Easy To Add To Your Diet

    Both fresh and dried apricots make for a quick, delicious snack or an easy addition to your favorite meal. You can add them to your diet in a variety of ways, including:

    • stirred into trail mix or granola
    • eaten fresh as a snack
    • sliced and added to yogurt or salad
    • used in jams, preserves, and salsas
    • stewed in a slow-cooker with meat, such as chicken or beef
    • added to desserts like pies, cakes, and pastries

    As theyre sweet and tart, apricots can be used as a replacement for peaches or plums in most recipes.

    Summary Both fresh and dried apricots are widely available. You can eat them on their own or add them to your favorite dishes, sides, or desserts.

    Slow Down On Calcium Carbs And Fluids

    Mayo Clinic includes calcium-fortified foods among those you may need to skip if your calcium levels are elevated, while AKF suggests keeping tabs on fluid intake, cutting back on not only on what you drink, but also foods packed with water .

    And because carbs can be high in both potassium and phosphorus, AKF says you may ultimately need to cut back on such unhealthy sources as:

    • Sugar.
    • Hardcandies.
    • Sweeteneddrinks.

    Your kidney health diet can feel restrictive, acknowledges Mayo Clinic, but, ultimately, choosing the advised foods and limiting those suggested to avoid can help reduce the waste accumulation in your blood, improve the function of your kidneys and even prevent further damage.

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    Choose And Prepare Foods With Less Salt And Sodium

    Why? To help control your blood pressure. Your diet should contain less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium each day.

    • Buy fresh food often. Sodium is added to many prepared or packaged foods you buy at the supermarket or at restaurants.
    • Cook foods from scratch instead of eating prepared foods, fast foods, frozen dinners, and canned foods that are higher in sodium. When you prepare your own food, you control what goes into it.
    • Use spices, herbs, and sodium-free seasonings in place of salt.
    • Check for sodium on the Nutrition Facts label of food packages. A Daily Value of 20 percent or more means the food is high in sodium.
    • Try lower-sodium versions of frozen dinners and other convenience foods.
    • Rinse canned vegetables, beans, meats, and fish with water before eating.

    Look for food labels with words like sodium free or salt free or low, reduced, or no salt or sodium or unsalted or lightly salted.

    What Kinds Of Changes Will I Need To Make To My Diet

    17 Foods To Avoid If You Have Kidney Disease

    There is not one eating plan that is right for everyone with kidney disease. What you can or cannot eat may change over time, depending on how much kidney function you have and other factors. Also, if you are following a special diet for diabetes or heart conditions, you will need to continue to follow it as well.

    People with kidney disease may need to control the amount of protein, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, and calcium in their diet. If your kidney disease gets worse, you may need to limit other nutrients as well. Your dietitian or healthcare provider will tell you if you need to do this based on your blood test results.

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    Stay Away From Sodium

    Because salt boosts fluid retention and blood pressure, the Mayo Clinic also suggests restricting sodium intake to less than 600 milligrams per meal. And AKF advises you skip adding salt to your food altogether. Instead, try flavoring your food in more creative ways with herbs, lemon juice and spices.

    To keep sodium intake to a minimum, AKF also recommends you:

    • Choosefresh or frozen vegetables.
    • Avoidcanned soups and frozen meals high in sodium.
    • Skipprocessed meats .
    • Snackon fruits and veggies rather than salty crackers.
    • Steerclear of pickles and olives.
    • Swapout high-sodium condiments like soy sauce, BBQ sauce and ketchup.

    What Foods Can I Include

    Your dietitian will tell you how many servings you can have from each of the food groups below. The approximate amount of these nutrients is listed next to each food group. Read the food label to find the exact amount.

    • Bread, cereal, and grains: These foods contain about 80 calories, 2 grams of protein, 150 mg of sodium, 50 mg of potassium, and 30 mg of phosphorus.
    • 1 slice of bread , small dinner roll, or 6-inch tortilla
    • ½ of a hamburger bun, hot dog bun, or English muffin or ¼ of a bagel
    • 1 cup of unsweetened cereal or ½ cup of cooked cereal, such as cream of wheat
    • cup of cooked pasta or rice
    • 4 unsalted crackers or 3 squares of graham crackers
    • 3 cups of air-popped, unsalted popcorn
    • ¾ ounce of unsalted pretzels
  • Vegetables: A serving of these foods contains about 30 calories, 2 g of protein, 50 mg of sodium, and 50 mg of phosphorus.
  • Low potassium :
  • ½ cup cooked green beans, cabbage, cauliflower, beets, or corn
  • 1 cup raw cucumber, endive, alfalfa sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, or watercress
  • 1 cup of all types of lettuce
  • ¼ cup cooked or ½ cup raw mushrooms or onions
  • 1 cup cooked eggplant
  • Medium potassium :
  • 1 cup raw broccoli, celery, or zucchini
  • ½ cup cooked broccoli, celery, green peas, summer squash, zucchini, or peppers
  • 1 cup cooked kale or turnips
  • Fruits: A serving of these foods contains about 60 calories, 0 g protein, 0 mg sodium, and 150 mg of phosphorus. Each serving is ½ cup, unless another amount is given.
  • Low potassium :
  • Apple juice, applesauce, or 1 small apple
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    Foods To Avoid In Renal Diet

    Kidney failure patients should avoid foods that are high in phosphorus or sodium. Some examples include biscuits, muffins, pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, cookies, pretzels, deli-style meat, processed cheese, canned fish, artichokes, spinach, potatoes, fresh beets, dates, oranges, frozen dinners, seasoned salts, soy sauce, and other condiments and sauces.

    Here is a list of items you should avoid on a renal diet divided by food group category.


    • 1 small biscuit or muffin
    • 2 x 2-inch square of cake
    • 1 pancake or waffle
    • ½ cup of oatmeal
    • ½ cup of whole-wheat cereal or bran cereal
    • 1 piece of cornbread
    • ¾ ounce of salted pretzel sticks or rings
    • 4 sandwich cookies
    • Artichoke or ¼ of a whole avocado
    • Brussels sprouts or okra
    • Sweet potato
    • Tomatoes, regular and low-sodium tomato juice, or ¼ cup of tomato sauce
    • Winter squash
    • 1 cup of canned or fresh apricots, or 5 dried apricots
    • 1 small nectarine
    • 1 small orange or ½ cup of orange juice
    • ¼ cup of dates
    • of a small honeydew melon
    • 1 small banana
    • 1 ounce of deli-style meat, such as roast beef, ham, or turkey
    • 1 ounce of canned salmon or sardines
    • ¼ cup of cottage cheese
    • Processed cheese, such as American cheese and cheese spreads
    • Smoked or cured meat, such as corned beef, bacon, ham, hot dogs, and sausage


    Why Should I Keep Track Of What I Eat And Drink

    Kidney Disease Diet

    The choices you make about what to eat and drink can help you feel better and can make your kidney failure treatments work better. Eating the right foods may give you more energy and strength.

    Healthy kidneys balance the salts and mineralssuch as calcium, phosphorus, sodium, and potassiumthat circulate in your blood. When you have kidney failure, what you eat and drink may help you maintain a healthy balance of salts and minerals in your body.

    The kind of kidney failure treatment youve chosen will affect your eating plan. If you have a kidney transplant, youll have fewer limits to your diet.

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    Will I Need To Take Medicines Or Follow A Special Diet

    Most likely. Your healthcare team will work with you to develop a treatment plan that’s right for you. Your treatment plan may include taking medicines, restricting salt, limiting certain foods, getting exercise, and more. You will also need treatment for any other health problems you may have, including high blood pressure or diabetes.

    Why Is An Eating Plan Important

    What you eat and drink affects your health. Staying at a healthy weight and eating a balanced diet that is low in salt and fat can help you control your blood pressure. If you have diabetes, you can help control your blood sugar by carefully choosing what you eat and drink. Controlling high blood pressure and diabetes may help prevent kidney disease from getting worse.

    A kidney-friendly diet may also help protect your kidneys from further damage. A kidney-friendly diet limits certain foods to prevent the minerals in those foods from building up in your body.

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    Learn About Eating For Kidney Health

    Healthy eating can be difficult and confusing. There are so many different diets and each one claims to lead you on your path to better health, and possibly weight loss. Should you eat low carb? High protein? High fat?

    Navigating what is healthy can seem like a full-time job! And what is healthy for one person could be the opposite of what is healthy for another, especially with kidney disease.

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    How Is A Kidney

    When your kidneys are not working as well as they should, waste and fluid build up in your body. Over time, the waste and extra fluid can cause heart, bone and other health problems. A kidney-friendly meal plan limits how much of certain minerals and fluid you eat and drink. This can help keep the waste and fluid from building up and causing problems.

    How strict your meal plan should be depends on your stage of kidney disease. In the early stages of kidney disease, you may have little or no limits on what you eat and drink. As your kidney disease gets worse, your doctor may recommend that you limit:

    • Potassium
    • Fluids

    Other Foods To Avoid For Healthy Kidneys

    You should also avoid soda, processed deli meats, butter, mayonnaise, and frozen meals when on a renal diet. These foods do not provide nutritional benefits and tend to be high in calories, sugar, and salt, which are all hazardous to the kidneys.

    Here are also some prevention tips to keep in mind:

    • Pay attention to over-the-counter medications and follow the directions. Taking too many medications can increase the risk of kidney failure.
    • Work closely with your doctor to manage kidney problems.
    • Try to adhere to a healthy lifestyle as much as possible.

    Natural remedies to manage kidney failure include eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, reducing stress, and reducing your intake of alcohol.

    Essentially, living a healthy lifestyle can benefit your overall health kidneys included.

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    Special Steps For People With Diabetes

    If you have diabetes, work with your dietitian to make a diet plan that allows you to avoid the nutrients you need to limit, while also controlling your blood sugar. If you do PD, keep in mind that PD solution has dextrose in it. Dextrose is a type of sugar. When you do PD, some of the dextrose is taken in by your body. If you have diabetes, it is very important to count the dextrose in your PD solution as extra sugar in your diet. Talk to your health care provider or dietitian if you have questions about managing your blood sugar if you do PD.


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