You’ve heard it before and I’ve even written a post discussing its benefits see link here (Water). So for obvious reasons, water is the best tool for maintaining water balance in your body. Aim for 6-8 glass or 2 litres a day and up to 3 if you are an active person. Water helps flush out toxins that can lead to bacterial infection or kidney stones, along with harmful particles in the blood.
It’s true that an apple a day can help keep the doctor away! They contain pectin, a soluble fibre that can help reduce cholesterol & glucose levels, as well as assist in preventing constipation. Antioxidants like quercetin help protect cells and the anti-inflammatory properties in apples help to protect against heart disease, while potentially decreasing the risk of some cancers. Cooked or raw you can reap the benefits of this delicious fruit! 1 medium apple contains (40): Sodium 1.3 mg Potassium 134 mg Phosphorus 13.8 mg
**Strawberries are also a great source of vitamins, antioxidants & fibre which all contribute to heart health & reduced inflammation. Enjoy ½ - 1 cup daily**
Oatmeal (not the sugary kind) can be a good source of Iron and B6, both of which play an important role in preventing kidney stones. Be sure to read the ingredients & know that what you are purchasing includes whole oats & is not overly processed. Buy organic oats where possible for even more health benefits.
1 cup (234 grams) of cooked oatmeal contains: Sodium 115 mg Potassium 143 mg Phosphorus 180 mg
Is a good source of Vitamins A & C to prevent inflammation & protect the immune system. It gets notable mention for being a great source of carotenoids & flavonoids (plant based antioxidants) both of which can support eye health, while also having anti-cancer benefits. Kale is lower in potassium than other greens & contains large amounts of calcium & iron (39, 42). It is high in vitamin K so those on warfarin or other blood thinners should consult with a health professional before adding it to their regular diet.
1 cup (67 grams) chopped raw kale contains: Sodium 28.8 mg Potassium 299 mg Phosphorus 37.5 mg **Kale is considered a medium potassium food & should be avoid by those on dialysis or with dietary restrictions**
Is packed with vitamin C, folate & fibre, while containing compounds that help your liver neutralize toxic substances (39). Raw, mashed, as rice or any form, it’s also full of anti-inflammatory compounds like indoles, an excellent source of fibre (1).
1 cup (124 grams) of cooked cauliflower contains: Sodium: 19 mg Potassium: 176 mg Phosphorus: 40 mg
Are packed with nutrients & one of the best sources of antioxidants you can eat (2). They contain antioxidants called anthocyanins, which may protect against heart disease, certain cancers, cognitive decline & diabetes (3). Ideal in any diet but especially a kidney-friendly diet, as they are low in sodium, phosphorus & potassium.
1 cup (148 grams) of fresh blueberries contains: Sodium: 1.5 mg Potassium: 114 mg Phosphorus: 18 mg
Is a high-quality protein that contains a form of healthy fat called omega-3, which helps reduce inflammation & as multiple studies now suggest may help decrease the risk of cognitive decline, depression & anxiety (4, 5, 6). Sea bass contains lower amounts of phosphorus than other seafood but even at that it is still important to keep portions small to maintain recommended levels.
3 oz (85 grams) of cooked sea bass contains: Sodium: 74 mg Potassium: 279 mg Phosphorus: 211 mg
**You can also consider mackerel, herring & sardines for kidney friendly sources of Omega-3s**
Nutritious & delicious, high in vitamin C & antioxidants called flavonoids, which have been shown to reduce inflammation (7). Particularly high in resveratrol, a type of flavonoid beneficial for heart health, while also being protective against diabetes & cognitive decline (8, 9).
½ cup (75 grams) contains: Sodium: 1.5 mg Potassium: 144 mg Phosphorus: 15 mg (10).
The yolk of the egg has its nutrition benefits but is high in phosphorus & choline, both of which would not be advisable for renal patients (40). Egg whites on the other hand provide a high-quality, kidney-friendly source of protein.
2 large egg whites (66 grams) contains (11): Sodium: 110 mg Potassium: 108 mg Phosphorus: 10 mg
Garlic provides a host of health benefits from boosting immunity & cardiovascular health to being an anti-inflammatory. It can also be a delicious alternative to salt, beneficial for those having to mind their intake. A good source of manganese, vitamin C & vitamin B6, along with a wide range of anti-cancer properties (43)
3 cloves (9 grams) contains (12): Sodium: 1.5 mg Potassium: 36 mg Phosphorus: 14 mg
**Cooking can reduce the anti-inflammatory effects of garlic, see post here for foods better eaten hot or cold**
Buckwheat appears to be lower in phosphorus than many whole grains making it a healthy alternative. It can provide a good amount of B vitamins, magnesium, iron & fibre while being a gluten-free grain as well. A win win for renal patients, celiac’s, & those with gluten intolerance.
½ cup (84 grams) of cooked buckwheat contains: Sodium: 3.5 mg Potassium: 74 mg Phosphorus: 59 mg
A healthy source of fat & phosphorus-free, making it a great option for people with kidney disease. Olive oil can be a good choice for a high calorie food if keeping weight on is a concern. Which can be the case in advanced stages of renal disease. The majority of fat in olive oil is a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid, which has anti-inflammatory properties (14). Olive oil is monounsaturated fat which are stable at high temperatures, making it a healthy choice for cooking.
1 oz (28 grams) contains (15): Sodium: 0.6 mg Potassium: 0.3 mg Phosphorus: 0 mg
A kidney-friendly alternative to other whole grains that are high in phosphorus & potassium, while being a good source of B vitamins, magnesium, iron & manganese. It’s also an excellent source of plant-based protein & full of dietary fibre, which is important for digestive health.
½ cup (91-gram) serving contains (16): Sodium: 4.5 mg Potassium: 62 mg Phosphorus: 36 mg
Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable loaded with vitamins, minerals, powerful plant compounds & is a great source of vitamin K, C & many B vitamins. Also a good source of insoluble fibre, the type that keeps your digestive system healthy by promoting regular bowel movements & adding bulk to stools (17). It is also low in potassium, phosphorus & sodium.
1 cup (70 grams) of shredded cabbage contains: Sodium: 13 mg Potassium: 119 mg Phosphorus: 18 mg
While people with kidney issues should aim for lower protein intake, a certain amount of protein is still essential in all areas of the body. Skinless chicken breast contains less phosphorus, potassium & sodium than skin-on chicken. Aim for plain, skinless chicken, organic if possible with no ingredients bar chicken.
3 oz (84 grams) contains (41): Sodium: 63 mg Potassium: 216 mg Phosphorus: 192 mg
Bell peppers while rich in vitamins A & C both great for immune function, while being low in potassium. They are an overall beneficial fruit to include in the diet for the additional vitamins they contain such as B6, B9 (folate), K1, & vitamin E.
1 small red pepper (74 grams) contains (18): Sodium: 3 mg Potassium: 156 mg Phosphorus: 19 mg plus 158% of the recommended intake of vitamin C.
Like with garlic, onions can help to add flavour to meals in place of salt, while also being a beneficial prebiotic food that can support good gut health (19). They are high in vitamin C, manganese, B vitamins & anti-cancer properties due to sulfur containing compounds (45, 46). Sautéing onions with garlic & olive oil add flavour to dishes without compromising your kidney health.
1 small onion (70 grams) contains (20): Sodium: 3 mg Potassium: 102 mg Phosphorus: 20 mg
Arugula is lower in potassium than it’s equally nutrient dense cousin’s spinach & kale which are higher in potassium & may be cautioned in large amounts on a renal diet. Arugula is a good source of vitamin K & the minerals manganese & calcium, all of which are important for bone health. This nutritious green also contains nitrates, which have been shown to lower blood pressure, an important benefit for those with kidney disease (21).
1 cup (20 grams) of raw arugula contains (22): Sodium: 6 mg Potassium: 74 mg Phosphorus: 10 mg
A great choice for those with kidney disease as they are rich in healthy fats, magnesium, iron, copper, manganese & B vitamins, while being low in phosphorus, something no other type of nut can claim. Since your kidney’s remove phosphorus when they are not working correctly the excess phosphorus causes changes in the body that results in calcium being pulled from the bones making them weak. *Phosphorus is beneficial when balanced but this is often not the case with renal patients*
1 oz (28 grams) contains (42): Sodium: 1.4 mg Potassium: 103 mg Phosphorus: 53 mg
½ cup (58 grams) of sliced radishes contains (24): Sodium: 23 mg Potassium: 135 mg Phosphorus: 12 mg
Are kidney-friendly & make an excellent replacement for vegetables that are higher in potassium like potatoes & winter squash. Loaded with fibre & nutrients like vitamin C, B6, manganese & calcium. They can be cooked a variety of ways & work well for a renal diet.
½ cup (78 grams) of cooked turnips contains: Sodium: 12.5 mg Potassium: 138 mg Phosphorus: 20 mg
Many tropical fruits like oranges, bananas & kiwis are very high in potassium. Luckily, pineapple makes a sweet, low-potassium alternative for those with kidneys problems. It is rich in fibre, B vitamins, manganese & bromelain, an enzyme that helps reduce inflammation.
1 cup (165 grams) contains (25): Sodium: 2 mg Potassium: 180 mg Phosphorus: 13 mg
Beneficial for both the urinary tract & kidneys due to phytonutrients called A-type proanthocyanidins, which prevent bacteria from sticking to the lining of the urinary tract & bladder, preventing infection (26, 27). This is helpful for those with kidney disease as they have an increased risk of urinary tract infections (28). Being low in potassium, phosphorus & sodium they can be eaten or drank but be mindful of sugar content in dried or commercial juices, natural is always best.
1 cup (100 grams) of fresh cranberries contains (29): Sodium: 2 mg Potassium: 85 mg Phosphorus: 13 mg
Shiitake mushrooms are a meaty mushroom & good plant based protein source, ideal for those needing to limit protein in their diet. An excellent source of B vitamins, copper, manganese, selenium & dietary fibre. Shiitake mushrooms are lower in potassium than Portobello and white button mushrooms, making them a smart choice for those following a renal diet (30, 31). Mushrooms in any form, if you have chronic kidney disease, are beneficial due to the high vitamin D content which is extremely important since it helps regulate kidney function.
1 cup (145 grams) of cooked shiitake mushroom contains (32): Sodium: 6 mg Potassium: 170 mg Phosphorus: 42 mg
While dietary restrictions vary, it is commonly recommended that all people with kidney disease restrict the following nutrients:
Sodium: Sodium is a component of table salt and in many of our food sources, often ones we wouldn’t even consider. Damaged kidneys can’t filter out excess sodium, causing its blood levels to rise. It’s often recommended to limit sodium to less than 2,000 mg per day (33, 34, 43).
Potassium: Potassium plays many critical roles in the body like fluid balance, muscle contractions and nerve signalling, but needs to be limited in kidney disease to prevent excessive levels which can be dangerous, and is recommended to limit potassium to less than 2,000 mg daily (35, 36, 44).
Phosphorus: Damaged kidneys can’t remove excess phosphorus, a mineral in many foods. High levels can cause damage to the body, so dietary phosphorus is restricted to less than 800–1,000 mg per day in most patients (37, 38).
Protein is another nutrient that people with kidney disease may need to limit, as waste products from protein metabolism can’t be cleared out by damaged kidneys.
**Remember healthy doesn’t have to be hard and small changes can lead to big results!
For more information on eating right for your body please contact me for a free 30 min discovery call or an initial consultation.