What are some of the healthy fruits for kidney? The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs located below the ribcage on either side of your back. They perform several important functions, such as filtering waste from the blood and regulating levels of certain nutrients (like sodium, potassium and calcium) in the body. Healthy diets can maintain healthy kidney function by ensuring that you get plenty of essential nutrients.
20 Best Foods For A Healthy Kidney That Everyone Should Eat
Include these in your diet and switch to a healthy lifestyle to keep kidney issues at bay.
The kidneys perform a crucial role in our bodies by removing toxins and excess fluids. Also, they control blood pressure and stimulate RBC production. Therefore, incorporating foods for a healthy kidney in your diet can promote kidney health and protect the organs from the negative effects of an unhealthy lifestyle.
As per the National Kidney Foundation, millions of people will be affected by kidney disease. Hence, it’s time to think about these vital organs and start protecting them. Learn more about the foods that positively affect kidneys and start including them in your diet today.
20 Foods For Healthy Kidneys
Cal – 0 Protein – 0 g Fat – 0 g Carbs – 0g
Water is a miracle potion. It has the power to bring you back to health. But do not go overboard. The recommended amount of water to be consumed every day is 8 glasses for women and 13 for men. It is best to consult your doctor to understand how many glasses of water you should drink per day depending on the condition of your kidneys and daily activity.
Cal – 22 Protein – 1 g Fat – 0 g Carbs – 5 g
Cabbage is a leafy vegetable that is packed with phytochemicals. The antioxidants present in it help scavenge the harmful free radicals in the body, thereby reducing the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and renal dysfunction. Cabbage is a rich source of vitamins and minerals, but not the ones that are potentially harmful to the kidneys.
3. Red Bell Pepper
Cal – 46.2 Protein – 1 g Fat – 0 g Carbs – 9 g
Red bell peppers are good for kidney health as they are low in potassium. They also add color and taste to the dish, along with vitamins C, B6, A, folic acid, and fiber. Red bell peppers contain the antioxidant lycopene that offers protection against some types of cancer. You can add red bell peppers to tuna, chicken salad or just have them raw.
Cal – 64 Protein – 2 g Fat – 0 g Carbs – 15 g
Onion breath might be a turn-off, but onions help keep your kidneys properly functioning. They contain flavonoids and quercetin that prevent the deposition of fatty material in the blood vessels. Quercetin is an antioxidant that can reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. Onions are kidney-friendly and low in potassium. They also contain chromium that helps metabolize fats, proteins, and carbohydrates.
Cal – 27 Protein – 3 g Fat – 0 g Carbs – 5 g
Asparagus is low-cal and loaded with vitamins A, K, and C. In hypertensive rats, asparagus had shown to preserve renal function. But it is a little on the higher side in minerals like potassium, calcium, and phosphorus. So, you must talk to your doctor before consuming asparagus. You can grill it or blanch with other kidney-friendly foods for dinner or lunch.
Cal – 203 Protein – 9 g Fat – 1 g Carbs – 45 g
Like onions, garlic has a pungent smell. However, it is one of the most potent herbal medicines. Plus, it helps enhance the flavor of foods to which it is added. Researchers have found significant evidence that garlic juice, along with metformin (a drug prescribed for diabetes type 2 patients), showed renoprotective effects.
Cal – 25 Protein – 2 g Fat – 0 g Carbs – 5 g
Cauliflower is a kidney-friendly cruciferous superfood that is a rich source of vitamin C, folate, and fiber. It also contains compounds that are important for the liver and neutralize toxic substances in the body. Cauliflower can be consumed boiled, blanched, raw, as a dip, or in salads.
Cal – 65 Protein – 0 g Fat – 0 g Carbs – 17 g
Apple is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help reduce bad cholesterol, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Since diabetes is closely related to renal failure, consuming apples can help protect you from kidney problems. Apples can be eaten raw or cooked. You can also make a tasty beverage.
Cal – 51 Protein – 0 g Fat – 0 g Carbs – 13 g
Cranberry juice is a popular home remedy for urinary tract infection (UTI). Due to its antioxidant properties, it is a great natural antibiotic that prevents any bacterial growth in the digestive tract or the kidneys. A research study showed that cranberries had the potential to treat calcium oxalate kidney stone. Always consume fresh cranberries or use fresh ones to make juice. However, do not drink too much of it to prevent overworking the kidneys.
10. Fatty Fish
Cal – 175 Protein – 19 g Fat – 10 g Carbs – 0 g
Fish is a high-quality source of protein and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). Among the components of PUFA are omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for reducing inflammation, scavenging free oxygen radicals, preventing heart disease, lowering LDL cholesterol, and protecting the kidneys. Scientists have found that consuming fish PUFAs can slow down the progression of kidney disease . Research also suggests to avoid consuming blue bobo, parrot sand bass, and yellowedge, and instead consume yellowtail snapper, broomtail grouper, and southern flounder.
Diabetes and Kidney Disease: What to Eat?
One meal plan for diabetes, another for chronic kidney disease (CKD). Find out how you can eat well for both.
If you have diabetes and CKD, you’re definitely not alone—about 1 in 3 American adults with diabetes also has CKD. The right diet helps your body function at its best, but figuring out what to eat can be a major challenge. What’s good for you on one meal plan may not be good on the other.
Your first step: meet with a registered dietitianexternal icon who’s trained in both diabetes and CKD nutrition. Together you’ll create a diet plan to keep blood sugar levels steady and reduce how much waste and fluid your kidneys have to handle.
Medicare and many private insurance plans may pay for your appointment. Ask if your policy covers medical nutrition therapy (MNT). MNT includes a nutrition plan designed just for you, which the dietitian will help you learn to follow.
Diabetes and CKD diets share a lot of the same foods, but there are some important differences. Read on for the basics.
A healthy diabetes diet looks pretty much like a healthy diet for anyone: lots of fruits, veggies, healthy fats, and lean protein; less salt, sugar, and foods high in refined carbsexternal icon (cookies, crackers, and soda, just to name a few). Your individual carb goal is based on your age, activity level, and any medicines you take. Following your meal plan will help keep your blood sugar levels in your target range, which will also prevent more damage to your kidneys.
Say No to Herbal Supplements
Herbal supplements aren’t safe if you have kidney disease. Some can hurt your kidneys and even make kidney disease worse. Some vitamins can cause kidney problems too and should also be avoided. Always talk to your doctor before taking any supplements or vitamins.
With a CKD diet, you’ll avoid or limit certain foods to protect your kidneys, and you’ll include other foods to give you energy and keep you nourished. Your specific diet will depend on whether you’re in early-stage or late-stage CKD or if you’re on dialysis.
Foods to Limit
Eat less salt/sodium. That’s a good move for diabetes and really important for CKD. Over time, your kidneys lose the ability to control your sodium-water balance. Less sodium in your diet will help lower blood pressure and decrease fluid buildup in your body, which is common in kidney disease.
Focus on fresh, homemade food and eat only small amounts of restaurant food and packaged food, which usually have lots of sodium. Look for low sodium (5% or less) on food labels.
In a week or two, you’ll get used to less salt in your food, especially if you dial up the flavor with herbs, spices, mustard, and flavored vinegars. But don’t use salt substitutes unless your doctor or dietitian says you can. Many are very high in potassium, which you may need to limit.
Depending on your stage of kidney disease, you may also need to reduce the potassium, phosphorus, and protein in your diet. Many foods that are part of a typical healthy diet may not be right for a CKD diet.
Phosphorus is a mineral that keeps your bones strong and other parts of your body healthy. Your kidneys can’t remove extra phosphorus from your blood very well. Too much weakens bones and can damage your blood vessels, eyes, and heart. Meat, dairy, beans, nuts, whole-grain bread, and dark-colored sodas are high in phosphorus. Phosphorus is also added to lots of packaged foods.
The right level of potassium keeps your nerves and muscles working well. With CKD, too much potassium can build up in your blood and cause serious heart problems. Oranges, potatoes, tomatoes, whole-grain bread, and many other foods are high in potassium. Apples, carrots, and white bread are lower in potassium. Your doctor may prescribe a potassium binder, a medicine that helps your body get rid of extra potassium.
Eat the right amount of protein. More protein than you need makes your kidneys work harder and may make CKD worse. But too little isn’t healthy either. Both animal and plant foods have protein. Your dietitian can help you figure out the right combination and amount of protein to eat.
Diabetes & CKD Foods
Your dietitian can give you lots of tasty ideas for healthy meals.
Below are just a few examples of foods a person with both diabetes and CKD can eat. Your dietitian can give you lots more suggestions and help you find recipes for tasty meals:
- Fruits: berries, grapes, cherries, apples, plums
- Veggies: cauliflower, onions, eggplant, turnips
- Proteins: lean meats (poultry, fish), eggs, unsalted seafood
- Carbs: white bread, bagels, sandwich buns, unsalted crackers, pasta
- Drinks: water, clear diet sodas, unsweetened tea
Here’s one way your CKD diet and diabetes diet can work together: If you drink orange juice to treat low blood sugar, switch to kidney-friendly apple or grape juice. You’ll get the same blood-sugar boost with a lot less potassium.
Your nutrition needs will change with late-stage CKD. If you’re on dialysis, you may need to eat more, especially more protein. Your appetite can change because food tastes different.
Dialysis filters your blood like kidneys do, but it doesn’t work as well as healthy kidneys. Fluid can build up in your body between treatments. You may need to limit how much fluid you drink, and watch for swelling around your eyes or in your legs, arms, or belly.
Your blood sugar levels can actually get better with late-stage CKD, possibly because of changes in how your body uses insulin. But when you’re on dialysis, your blood sugar can increase because the fluid used to filter your blood is high in glucose (sugar). Your need for insulin and other diabetes medicines will be hard to predict, so your doctor will monitor you closely.
You may have heard that superfoods are super important for people with kidney disease. While the idea of completely managing kidney disease by eating certain foods is appealing – the reality is not quite that simple.
Many people think superfoods are foods that have special, almost magical, qualities. While some foods are certainly more nutritious than others, no food is the magic answer for good health.
Eating a well-balanced diet of nutritious foods — low-sodium foods packed with vitamins and the right minerals — is one of the best things you can do to help stop or slow the progression of kidney disease.
The nutritious foods we are spotlighting in this section were selected because they are super healthy choices, especially for people living with kidney disease. We are eager to introduce you to some foods and recipes that may be new to you. Also, we are excited to share some different ways to prepare some of your old favorites so you can make kidney-healthy food choices for your family and yourself.
When you have kidney disease, a well-balanced diet is your superfood – and can help to make any meal you prepare super!
Fish is considered a superfood because it is a good source of protein without having a lot of saturated fat. They are also loaded with vitamins, calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, iron, magnesium, and potassium.
Spices enhance the flavor and smell of food without adding salt. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Strawberries are a delicious fruit that can be found fresh, frozen, freeze-dried, or in jellies and jams. Strawberries are also a good source of vitamin C, manganese, folate, potassium, and antioxidants.
Many root vegetables contain antioxidants that can help to fight inflammation. They also provide many nutrients including vitamin C, vitamin A, many B vitamins, vitamin K, vitamin E, calcium, iron, potassium, and manganese.
Broccoli is a great source of antioxidants that may enhance your health by reducing inflammation, improving blood sugar control, boosting immunity, and promoting heart health.
Beans are low in fat and have no saturated fat, trans fat, or cholesterol helping protect your heart from heart disease.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds contain many beneficial elements such as heart-healthy fats, fiber, plant protein, vitamin E, antioxidants, and more.
Whole grains are a great source of dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Squash is a good source of essential nutrients for health like fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin C and B6.
Leafy greens are packed with many vitamins, mineral, and antioxidants, low in calories and high in fiber.
Herbs give flavor to food without the addition of salt.
Tomatoes are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, low in calories and high in fiber.
Blueberries are rich in vitamins and antioxidants, low in calories and high in fiber.
Apples are rich in antioxidants and a good source of fiber and vitamin C.
Eating Right for Chronic Kidney Disease
You may need to change what you eat to manage your chronic kidney disease (CKD). Work with a registered dietitian to develop a meal plan that includes foods that you enjoy eating while maintaining your kidney health.
The steps below will help you eat right as you manage your kidney disease. The first three steps are important for all people with kidney disease. The last two steps may become important as your kidney function goes down.
The first steps to eating right
Step 1: 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 (a part of salt) 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.
Step 2: Eat the right amount and the right types of protein
Why? To help protect your kidneys. When your body uses protein, it produces waste. Your kidneys remove this waste. Eating more protein than you need may make your kidneys work harder.
- Eat small portions of protein foods.
- Protein is found in foods from plants and animals. Most people eat both types of protein. Talk to your dietitian about how to choose the right combination of protein foods for you.
A cooked portion of chicken, fish, or meat is about 2 to 3 ounces or about the size of a deck of cards. A portion of dairy foods is ½ cup of milk or yogurt, or one slice of cheese.
A portion of cooked beans is about ½ cup, and a portion of nuts is ¼ cup. A portion of bread is a single slice, and a portion of cooked rice or cooked noodles is ½ cup.
Step 3: Choose foods that are healthy for your heart
Why? To help keep fat from building up in your blood vessels, heart, and kidneys.
- Grill, broil, bake, roast, or stir-fry foods, instead of deep frying.
- Cook with nonstick cooking spray or a small amount of olive oil instead of butter.
- Trim fat from meat and remove skin from poultry before eating.
- Try to limit saturated and trans fats. Read the food label.
- Lean cuts of meat, such as loin or round
- Poultry without the skin
- Low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt, and cheese
Drink alcohol only in moderation: no more than one drink per day if you are a woman, and no more than two if you are a man. Drinking too much alcohol can damage the liver, heart, and brain and cause serious health problems. Ask your health care provider how much alcohol you can drink safely.
The next steps to eating right
As your kidney function goes down, you may need to eat foods with less phosphorus and potassium. Your health care provider will use lab tests to check phosphorus and potassium levels in your blood, and you can work with your dietitian to adjust your meal plan. More information is provided in the NIDDK health topic, Nutrition for Advanced Chronic Kidney Disease.
Step 4: Choose foods and drinks with less phosphorus
Why? To help protect your bones and blood vessels. When you have CKD, phosphorus can build up in your blood. Too much phosphorus in your blood pulls calcium from your bones, making your bones thin, weak, and more likely to break. High levels of phosphorus in your blood can also cause itchy skin, and bone and joint pain.
- Many packaged foods have added phosphorus. Look for phosphorus—or for words with “PHOS”—on ingredient labels.
- Deli meats and some fresh meat and poultry can have added phosphorus. Ask the butcher to help you pick fresh meats without added phosphorus.
|Foods Lower in PhosphorusFresh fruits and vegetablesBreads, pasta, riceRice milk (not enriched)Corn and rice cerealsLight-colored sodas/pop, such as lemon-lime or homemade iced tea||Foods Higher in PhosphorusMeat, poultry, fishBran cereals and oatmealDairy foodsBeans, lentils, nutsDark-colored sodas/pop, fruit punch, some bottled or canned iced teas that have added phosphorus|
Your health care provider may talk to you about taking 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.
Step 5: Choose foods with the right amount of potassium
Why? To help your nerves and muscles work the right way. Problems can occur when blood potassium levels are too high or too low. Damaged kidneys allow potassium to build up in your blood, which can cause serious heart problems. Your food and drink choices can help you lower your potassium level, if needed.
- Salt substitutes can be very high in potassium. Read the ingredient label. Check with your provider about using salt substitutes.
- Drain canned fruits and vegetables before eating.
|Foods Lower in PotassiumApples, peachesCarrots, green beansWhite bread and pastaWhite riceRice milk (not enriched)Cooked rice and wheat cereals, gritsApple, grape, or cranberry juice||Foods Higher in PotassiumOranges, bananas, and orange juicePotatoes, tomatoesBrown and wild riceBran cerealsDairy foodsWhole-wheat bread and pastaBeans and nuts|
Some medicines also can raise your potassium level. Your health care provider may adjust the medicines you take.