The best fruits for CKD patients Fruit is necessary for a healthy diet and many fruits are healthy. The most important varieties are listed here of course, with explanations when applicable of each one as to why it is important: some fruits are rich in antioxidants which can effectively treat kidney problems brought about by diabetes mellitus. The following fruits are good for people suffering from CKD stage 5:
Top 10 Healthy Foods for People with Kidney Disease
Researchers are discovering more and more links between chronic diseases, inflammation and certain whole foods that may prevent or protect against undesirable fatty acid oxidation, a condition that occurs when the oxygen in your body reacts with fats in your blood and your cells. Oxidation is a normal process for energy production and many chemical reactions in the body, but excessive oxidation of fats and cholesterol creates molecules known as “free radicals” that can damage your proteins, cell membranes and genes. Heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and other chronic and degenerative conditions have been linked to oxidative damage.
Foods that contain antioxidants can help neutralize free radicals and protect the body. Many of the foods that protect against oxidation are included in the kidney diet and make excellent choices for people on dialysis or people with chronic kidney disease (CKD). Eating foods rich in antioxidants as part of your kidney diet and working with a kidney dietitian are important for people with kidney disease because they experience more inflammation and have a higher risk for cardiovascular disease.
Top 10 Healthy Foods for People with Kidney Disease
1. Red bell peppers
1/2 cup serving red bell pepper = 1 mg sodium, 88 mg potassium, 10 mg phosphorus
Red bell peppers are low in potassium and high in flavor, but that’s not the only reason they’re perfect for the kidney diet. These tasty vegetables are also an excellent source of vitamins C and A, as well as vitamin B6, folic acid and fiber. Red bell peppers are good for you because they contain lycopene, an antioxidant that helps protects against certain cancers.
Eat red bell peppers raw with dip as a snack or appetizer, or mix them into tuna or chicken salad. You can also roast peppers and use them as a topping on sandwiches or lettuce salads, chop them for an omelet, add them to kabobs on the grill or stuff peppers with ground turkey or beef and bake them for a main dish.
1/2 cup serving green cabbage = 6 mg sodium, 60 mg potassium, 9 mg phosphorus
A cruciferous vegetable, cabbage is packed full of phytochemicals, chemical compounds in fruit or vegetables that break up free radicals before they can do damage. Many phytochemicals are also known to help protect cells from damage that could lead to cancer, as well as foster cardiovascular health.
High in vitamin K, vitamin C and fiber, cabbage is also a good source of vitamin B6 and folic acid. Low in potassium and low in cost, it’s an affordable addition to the kidney diet.
Raw cabbage makes a great addition to the dialysis diet as coleslaw or a topping for fish tacos. You can steam, microwave or boil it, add butter or cream cheese plus pepper or caraway seeds and serve it as a side dish. Cabbage Rolls Made with Turkey are a great appetizer, and if you’re feeling fancy, you can stuff a cabbage with ground meat and bake it for a flavorful meal bursting with nutrients.
1/2 cup serving boiled cauliflower = 9 mg sodium, 88 mg potassium, 20 mg phosphorus
Another cruciferous vegetable, cauliflower is high in vitamin C and a good source of folate and fiber. It’s also packed full of indoles, glucosinolates and thiocyanates—compounds that help the liver neutralize toxic substances that could damage cell membranes and DNA.
Serve it raw as crudités with dip, add it to a salad, or steam or boil it and season with spices such as turmeric, curry powder, pepper and herb seasonings. You can also make a nondairy white sauce, pour it over the cauliflower and bake until tender. You can pair cauliflower with pasta or even mash cauliflower as a dialysis diet replacement for mashed potatoes.
1 clove garlic = 1 mg sodium, 12 mg potassium, 4 mg phosphorus
Garlic has antimicrobial properties that help prevent plaque from forming on your teeth, lowers cholesterol and reduces inflammation.
Buy it fresh, bottled, minced or powdered, and add it to meat, vegetable or pasta dishes. You can also roast a head of garlic and spread it on bread. Garlic provides a delicious flavor and garlic powder is a great substitute for garlic salt in the dialysis diet.
1/2 cup serving onion = 3 mg sodium, 116 mg potassium, 3 mg phosphorus
Onion, a member of the Allium family and a basic flavoring in many cooked dishes, contains sulfur compounds which give it its pungent smell. But in addition to making some people cry, onions are also rich in flavonoids, especially quercetin, a powerful antioxidant that may reduce heart disease and protect against many cancers. Onions are low in potassium and a good source of chromium, a mineral that helps with carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism.
Try using a variety of onions including white, brown, red and others. Eat onions raw on burgers, sandwiches and in salads, or cook them and use as a caramelized topping. If you have an air fryer, you can also try making homemade onion rings. Include onions in recipes such as Italian Beef with Peppers and Onions.
1 medium apple with skin = 0 sodium, 158 mg potassium, 10 mg phosphorus
Apples may help reduce cholesterol, prevent constipation, protect against heart disease and reduce the risk of cancer. High in fiber and anti-inflammatory compounds, an apple a day may really help keep the doctor away—good news for people with kidney disease who already have their share of doctor visits.
This kidney diet winner can be paired with the previous good-for-you food, onions, to make a unique Apple Onion Omelet. Apples are versatile. You can eat them raw, make baked apples, stew apples, make them into apple sauce, or drink them as apple juice or apple cider.
1/2 cup serving cranberry juice cocktail = 3 mg sodium, 22 mg potassium, 3 mg phosphorus
1/4 cup serving cranberry sauce = 35 mg sodium, 17 mg potassium, 6 mg phosphorus
1/2 cup serving dried cranberries = 2 mg sodium, 24 mg potassium and 5 mg phosphorus
These tangy, tasty berries may protect against bladder infections by preventing bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall. In a similar way, cranberries may also protect the stomach from ulcer-causing bacteria and improve overall healthy gut bacteria, promoting GI health. Cranberries have also been shown to help protect against cancer and heart disease.
Cranberry juice and cranberry sauce are the most frequently consumed cranberry products. You can also add dried cranberries to salads or have them as a snack.
1/2 cup serving fresh blueberries = 4 mg sodium, 65 mg potassium, 7 mg phosphorus
Blueberries are high in antioxidant phytonutrients called “anthocyanidins,” which give them their blue color, and they are bursting with natural compounds that help reduce inflammation. Blueberries are a good source of vitamin C, manganese (a compound that keeps your bones healthy) and fiber. They may also help protect the brain from some of the effects of aging. Antioxidants in blueberries and other berries may help slow down bone loss.
Buy blueberries fresh, frozen or dried, and try them in cereal, or topped with whipped topping in a fruit smoothie. You can also drink blueberry juice.
1/2 cup serving raspberries = 0 mg sodium, 93 mg potassium, 7 mg phosphorus
Raspberries contain a phytonutrient called “ellagic acid” which helps neutralize free radicals in the body to prevent cell damage. They also contain flavonoids called “anthocyanins,” antioxidants which give them their red color. An excellent source of manganese, vitamin C, fiber and folate, a B vitamin, raspberries may have properties that inhibit cancer cell growth and tumor formation.
1/2 cup serving (5 medium) fresh strawberries = 1 mg sodium, 120 mg potassium, 13 mg phosphorus
Strawberries are rich in two types of phenols: anthocyanins and ellagitannins. Anthocyananins are what give strawberries their red color and are powerful antioxidants that help protect body cell structures and prevent oxidative damage. Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese, and a very good source of fiber. They may provide heart protection, as well as anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory components.
Eat strawberries with cereal, smoothies and salads, or slice and serve them fresh or top them with whipped topping. If you’d like a more elaborate dessert, you can make strawberry pudding or sorbet, or puree and sweeten them to serve as a dessert.
.Top 10 Dialysis Diet Tips
If you have chronic kidney disease, good nutrition and diet are critical components of the treatment plan. The recommended diet, including amounts of protein, calories and nutrients, changes depending on how much kidney function you have. For those beginning dialysis treatment, monitoring your diet is essential to staying healthy. Here are some tips to keep you on track:
- Eat a high protein food at every meal. This includes meat, fish, poultry, fresh pork or eggs.
- Cut out potassium and phosphorus.
- Avoid peanut butter, nut, seeds, dried beans and lentils. Even though these are high in protein, they are also high in potassium and phosphorous.
- Use less salt and eat fewer salty foods. This may help to control blood pressure and reduce weight gains between dialysis sessions.
- Use herbs, spices and low-salt flavor enhancers in place of salt
- Avoid salt substitutes made with potassium.
- Avoid whole grain and high fiber foods such as whole wheat bread, bran cereal and brown rice to help limit your intake of phosphorous.
- Limit your intake of milk, yogurt and cheese. These are very high in phosphorus. Limiting dairy-based foods protects your bones and blood vessels.
- All fruits have some potassium. Limiting potassium protects your heart. Choose apples and berries over oranges and bananas.
- All vegetables have some potassium. Choose broccoli and cabbage over potatoes and asparagus.
Diet & Nutrition for Adults with Advanced Chronic Kidney Disease
Why are diet and nutrition important for adults with advanced chronic kidney disease?
Healthy kidneys balance salts and minerals in the blood. When you have chronic kidney disease (CKD), the kidneys can’t filter your blood the way they should. What you eat and drink can help your kidneys maintain a healthy balance of salts and minerals in your body and help you feel better.
Eating the right foods—and avoiding foods high in sodium, potassium, and phosphorus—may prevent or delay some health problems from CKD. What you eat and drink may also affect how well your kidney disease treatments work. Understanding how calories, fats, protein, and liquids affect the body is important for people with advanced CKD.
As CKD advances, nutritional needs change. Your health care professional may recommend you choose foods more carefully and may suggest you work with a registered dietitian to create an eating plan for your individual needs.
What is medical nutrition therapy?
Medical nutrition therapy (MNT) is nutrition counseling from a registered dietitian to help meet your medical or health goals. MNT can help delay CKD progression, prevent or treat complications, and improve your quality of life.
Dietitians who specialize in the nutritional needs of people with CKD are called renal dietitians. You can find a registered dietitian External link who specializes in kidney disease through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics online or through your health care professional.
Work with a renal dietitian to create a healthy meal plan that’s right for you.
Medicare and Insurance Coverage for MNT
If you are enrolled in Medicare and have CKD, Medicare will cover MNT services External link. You need a written referral from a doctor, and the MNT must be provided by a registered dietitian or nutrition professional. If you have insurance other than Medicare, ask your insurance provider if your insurance covers MNT for people with kidney disease.
Why is knowing about calories important?
The foods and beverages you eat and drink give your body energy. The energy is measured in calories. If you consume fewer calories than your body uses, you may lose weight. Losing too much weight can make you sicker.
People with CKD may avoid eating because they don’t feel hungry or because foods or beverages don’t taste the same. If you find that you don’t feel like eating, talk with a dietitian or health care professional to make sure you are getting enough calories and that the calories are from nutritious sources. Your dietitian or health care professional can help you find healthy ways to get the right number of calories in your diet.
Why is knowing about protein important?
Protein helps build and maintain muscle, bone, skin, connective tissue, internal organs, and blood. Protein also helps fight disease and heal wounds. As your body uses protein, the protein breaks down into waste that your kidneys must remove from the blood.
Health care professionals recommend that people with CKD consume moderate amounts of protein. However, too little protein may lead to malnutrition, a condition that occurs when your body doesn’t get enough nutrients. A dietitian can help you learn about and adjust the amount and sources of protein in your diet.
Sources of protein
The typical American diet contains more than enough protein. Protein is found in both animal and plant-based foods. Animal protein contains more essential nutrients a body needs. However, with careful meal planning, a well-balanced vegetarian diet NIH external link can also provide these nutrients.
Talk with a dietitian or health care professional about how much protein is in your eating plan and where the protein comes from. Your protein needs may change over time. A dietitian or health care professional can suggest dietary changes to help you meet your protein needs.
Protein is in many foods you eat, including foods from plants and animals. Ask your dietitian or health care professional which sources of protein are right for you.
People on dialysis
People with CKD who are on dialysis may need to eat more protein because the dialysis treatment removes protein from the blood. The amount of protein removed from the blood depends on the type of dialysis treatment.
Why is knowing about fat important?
Fat gives your body energy, helps control your cholesterol and blood pressure levels, and helps your body absorb vitamins. Fat also provides essential nutrients and is an important part of a healthy eating plan.
Everyone needs some fat in their diet, but too much fat or the wrong kinds of fat may cause buildup in your blood vessels, heart, and kidneys. People with CKD are at higher risk of heart disease and should limit the amount of fat they consume. Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats—found in foods such as canola oil, corn oil, peanut oil, and safflower oil—are healthy alternatives to saturated fats and trans fats. Saturated fats and trans fats can raise cholesterol levels and clog blood vessels. Saturated fats, which are found in animal products such as red meat, poultry, and butter, are usually solid at room temperature. Trans fats are often found in baked goods and fried foods, as well as in hydrogenated vegetable oils such as margarine and vegetable shortening.
You may protect your heart health and reduce your chance of getting heart disease by replacing saturated fats and trans fats in your diet with healthier monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Talk with a dietitian or health care professional about healthy ways you can include fat in your diet.
Sources of fat
Eat these foods less often
- saturated fats
- red meat
- whole milk
- trans fats
- commercially baked goods, such as cookies and cakes
- french fries
- hydrogenated vegetable oils
Eat these foods more often
- monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats
- canola oil
- olive oil
- sesame oil
Why is knowing about sodium important?
Sodium is a mineral found in salt that helps control the amount of fluids in your body. Too much sodium causes your blood to retain—or hold on to—fluids, which can cause high blood pressure NIH external link and swelling, putting stress on your kidneys and heart.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends that adults limit their sodium intake to no more than 2,300 mg per day. However, your health care professional or dietitian can help you determine how much sodium is right for you, based on your stage of kidney disease and your health status. They can also help you find ways to reduce the amount of sodium in your diet.
Much of the sodium that Americans consume comes from processed foods. The amount of sodium in foods and beverages can be found on the product’s Nutrition Facts label External link. Canned foods, some frozen foods, and most processed meats contain large amounts of salt. Snack foods such as chips and crackers are also high in salt. Table salt, some seasonings, and certain sauces such as soy sauce and teriyaki are high in sodium.
You can lower the amount of sodium in your diet by
- eating fresh, frozen (without sauce or seasoning), or canned (low sodium or no salt added) fruits and vegetables
- choosing unprocessed meats instead of processed meats
- cooking from scratch
- using spices, herbs, and salt-free seasonings instead of salt
- using alternative seasonings, such as lemon juice and hot pepper sauce
- looking for products labeled “sodium free” or “low sodium”
- draining and rinsing canned foods to remove extra salt
- limiting the amount of packaged, processed, and fast foods you eat
People with CKD should avoid using salt substitutes that contain potassium, because kidney disease makes it harder for the body to remove potassium from the blood. Learn more about which foods are high and low in sodium and about sodium alternatives in Sodium: Tips for People with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)
You can lower the amount of sodium in your diet by cooking meals from scratch and limiting the amount of packaged, processed, and fast foods you eat.
Why is knowing about potassium important?
CKD can make it harder for the kidneys to remove potassium from the blood, and the levels of potassium in the blood can become very high. Too little or too much potassium can cause heart and muscle problems. People with CKD should have their blood checked regularly to make sure their potassium levels are normal.
Your food and drink choices can affect your potassium levels. Talk with a dietitian or health care professional about how much potassium you should have for your stage of kidney disease.
You can lower the amount of potassium in your diet by
- selecting fruits and vegetables that are lower in potassium
- draining canned fruits and vegetables and throwing out the liquid, which is often high in potassium
- using spices and herbs instead of salt substitutes, which can be very high in potassium
- talking with a dietitian or health care professional about food preparation and cooking methods that can lower the amount of potassium in potatoes and certain vegetables
Why is knowing about phosphorus important?
Damaged kidneys aren’t able to remove phosphorus from the blood as well as healthy kidneys. Phosphorus can build up in the blood in people with CKD. Too much phosphorus can weaken your bones.
Phosphorus is found naturally in foods rich in protein. Phosphorus is also added to many processed foods, flavored drinks, and some meats. Phosphorus additives are a primary source of phosphorus for many people with CKD. Foods that have added phosphorus may cause your blood phosphorus levels to go up more than foods that have phosphorus naturally. A dietitian or health care professional can help you find ways to get enough protein without getting too much phosphorus.
As kidney disease gets worse, you may need to take a phosphate binder with meals to lower the amount of phosphorus in your blood. A phosphate binder is a medicine that acts like a sponge to soak up, or bind, phosphorus while it is in the stomach. Because it is bound, the phosphorus does not get into your blood. Instead, your body removes the phosphorus through your stool.
Why is keeping track of how much liquid I consume important?
Your body needs liquids to function properly. However, people with advanced CKD may need to limit how much liquid they consume because damaged kidneys can’t remove extra fluid. Taking in too much liquid can cause swelling, raise your blood pressure, and make your heart work harder. Consuming too much liquid may be a sign that you are taking in too much sodium.
A dietitian or health care professional can work with you to determine how much liquid is right for you. Contact your health care professional if you notice any swelling in your face, arms, legs, or abdomen.
How can understanding and keeping track of lab reports help me make healthy food choices?
Your health care professional will order regular blood tests to track your health. You may need to make changes to what you eat and drink based on the blood test results. You may find that keeping track of test results (PDF, 526.91 KB) helps you see how well you are doing. You can ask your health care professional for copies of your lab reports and to explain them to you. Learning how to read your lab reports will help you see how the foods you eat and beverages you drink can affect your health.
Clinical Trials for Adults with Advanced CKD
The NIDDK conducts and supports clinical trials in many diseases and conditions, including kidney disease. The trials look to find new ways to prevent, detect, or treat disease and improve quality of life.
What are clinical trials for adults with advanced CKD?
Clinical trials—and other types of clinical studies NIH external link—are part of medical research and involve people like you. When you volunteer to take part in a clinical study, you help health care professionals and researchers learn more about disease and improve health care for people in the future.
Researchers are studying many aspects of advanced CKD, such as
- adjustments to the CKD diet to improve clinical management of the disease
- treatments to reduce the loss of muscle mass and function in CKD patients
- the effect of nutritional coaching on kidney disease progression