A DaVita Dietitian’s Top 15 Healthy Foods for People with Kidney Disease
Kidney diseases or disorders can be critical and even turn life-threatening if you are not careful and take timely action. Diet can work as a natural remedy, strengthen your kidneys and improve their functions. Consult experienced and board-certified nephrologists at the Century Medical and Dental Center to learn how changing your diet and making positive changes can help your kidneys and ensure long-term wellness. The top-rated nephrology doctors guide you to making the right choices and incorporate the best foods that provide the required amount of nutrients, prevent inflammation and reduce the risk of other health concerns to ensure a better quality of life.
Researchers are working hard to discover the links between chronic diseases, inflammation, and superfoods that play a crucial role in preventing or protecting from serious health issues. Fatty acid oxidation is a condition that occurs when the oxygen in your body reacts with fats in your blood and cells. Oxidation is a normal process for energy production and many other chemical reactions in the body, but excessive oxidation of fats and cholesterol creates molecules called free radicals that can damage your protein, cell membranes, and genes.
Making lifestyle changes, turning to healthy eating, and working with a renal dietitian are the best ways for people with chronic kidney problems to take good care of themselves. Taking a renal diet that consists of kidney-friendly foods can keep away inflammation and reduce the risk for cardiovascular diseases in the long run.
Here are some top healthy foods for people with kidney disease that can boost their kidney functions and help them enjoy better wellbeing.
1. Red Bell Peppers
1/2 cup serving of red bell peppers = 1 mg sodium, 88 mg potassium, 10 mg phosphorus
Red bell peppers are the perfect food for kidneys as they are low in potassium and high in flavor. Not only this, but they are also an excellent course of vitamin C, A and vitamin B6, folic acid, and fiber. They contain all the essential nutrients for a healthy life and renal function. Red bell peppers also contain lycopene, an antioxidant that protects you from various types of cancers.
How to enjoy the nutritional value of red bell peppers
You can enjoy the great taste and nutritional value of bell peppers in many ways. They include:
- You can add them in foods like mixed vegetable stir fry, or use in casseroles
- You can enjoy them raw with dips as a snack or appetizer
- They can be mixed into tuna or chicken salad
- They can be roasted and used as topping on sandwiches or lettuce salads
- They can be added to omelets or kebobs
- They can be grilled or stuffed with ground turkey or beef
You can retain the nutritional value of these power-packed vegetables by using them right and look forward to optimally functioning kidneys.
1/2 cup serving green cabbage = 6 mg sodium, 60 mg potassium, 9 mg phosphorus
Cabbage is full of phytochemicals, chemical compounds in fruit or vegetables that help to break up free radicals before they can do any damage. Many phytochemicals protect and fight against cancer, as well as, support cardiovascular health.
It is rich in vitamin K, C, and fiber and contains vitamin B6 and folic acid. With low potassium content, it is a great way to keep the kidneys in good shape. It’s low cost adds to its benefits and makes it easy to include in your diet.
Cabbage can be used in different ways that enhance its flavor, keeping its nutritional value intact. They include:
- Raw cabbage can be used in coleslaw or as a topping for tacos
- It can be steamed or boiled, or used with other condiments as a side dish
- Cabbage rolls are a great appetizer
- It can also be stuffed with ground meat and baked for a tasty yet nourishing meal
With so many different ways to add cabbage to your diet, you can look forward to making the most of this effective kidney food that ensures long-term renal health.
1/2 cup serving boiled cauliflower = 9 mg sodium, 88 mg potassium, 20 mg phosphorus
With its high vitamin C, folate, and fiber content, cabbage is the right thing to eat for healthy kidneys. It is full of compounds such as indoles, glucosinolates, and thiocyanates that help the liver neutralize toxic substances that damage cell membranes and DNA.
There are many ways to use cabbage while retaining its goodness. They include:
- It can be served raw crudités with dip
- It can be added to salads
- It can be steamed, boiled, and seasoned with spices such as turmeric, curry powder, pepper, and herb seasonings for enhanced flavors
- Cauliflower makes a perfect combination with pasta
- It can be mashed and used as mashed potatoes for dialysis patients
- Cabbage casseroles or bakes also taste wonderful with non-dairy sauces for people on a dialysis diet
Using this power-packed vegetable can help you take good care of your kidneys.
1 clove garlic = 1 mg sodium, 12 mg potassium, 4 mg phosphorus
Garlic has numerous health benefits. Not only it helps to prevent plaque from forming on your teeth, but it also keeps the cholesterol levels down and reduces inflammation in the body. Garlic has its unique, delicious flavor, and garlic salt is an easy substitute for people on a low potassium diet during their dialysis.
You can buy fresh, bottled or minced, or powdered garlic and add it to meats, vegetables, and pasta dishes to enhance flavors and its many advantages. Other ways to use garlic include roasting a head of garlic and enjoying it as a spread on bread.
1/2 cup serving onion = 3 mg sodium, 116 mg potassium, 3 mg phosphorus
Onion is a basic flavoring in many cooked dishes in almost all parts of the world. It contains sulfur compounds that give it its pungent smell. Onions are rich in flavonoids, particularly quercetin, a powerful antioxidant that is good for preventing heart problems. It also protects against many cancers. With the low potassium content and high levels of chromium, a mineral that helps with carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism, onion is good for overall health.
It is available in a variety of colors that include white, brown, red, and others, each with its distinctive flavor and benefits. Onions can be used raw on burgers, sandwiches, and salads to add more flavors to your food. They can also be cooked and used as a caramelized topping or fried into onion rings. Many recipes include cooking onion with meats and vegetables for a healthy dish.
1 medium apple with skin = 0 sodium, 158 mg potassium, 10 mg phosphorus
Apples are good for reducing cholesterol, preventing constipation, and offering protection from heart disease. They also reduce the risk of cancer. High in fiber and anti-inflammatory compounds, an apple a day is the right way to keep the doctor away. It is also beneficial for people with kidney diseases and helps them enjoy better health.
Apples can be used in several ways combined with other kidney-good foods to provide maximum benefits. You can eat them raw, make baked apples, stew them, make apple causes or even take them in the form of apple juice and apple cider to avail their goodness.
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
Cranberries not only taste good but also protect you from bladder infection by preventing bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall. They also safeguard the stomach from ulcer-causing bacteria and protect the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, promoting GI health. Cranberries are beneficial for preventing cancer and heart disease.
Cranberry juice and sauce are the most frequently consumed products that are easily available in the market. Adding dried cranberries to salads or enjoying them as a snack gives you a chance to avail their goodness.
1/2 cup serving fresh blueberries = 4 mg sodium, 65 mg potassium, 7 mg phosphorus
Blueberries contain high levels of antioxidant phytonutrients called anthocyanidins, which give them their blue color. Along with this, they are also bursting with natural compounds that reduce inflammation. Blueberries are rich in vitamin C and manganese, a compound, that keeps the bones healthy and strong as well as fiber.
Research shows blueberries protect the brain from some effects of aging too. The antioxidants in blueberries and other berries slow down bone-breaking which results from low levels of estrogen.
You can buy fresh, dried, or frozen blueberries and use them in cereals, top in salads or make fruit smoothies. Drinking fresh blueberry juice is also a great way to enjoy its goodness and flavor.
1/2 cup serving raspberries = 0 mg sodium, 93 mg potassium, 7 mg phosphorus
Raspberries contain a phytonutrient called ellagic acid that aids in neutralizing free radicals in the body and prevents cell damage. They are also rich in flavonoids called anthocyanins, antioxidants that give them their red color.
Raspberries are high in manganese, vitamin C, fiber and folate, and contain properties that can kill cancer cell growth and tumor formation in the body. Adding this fruit to your cereals, making purees, and using them as a dessert sauce for vinaigrette dressing will help incorporate it into your diet and enjoy its benefits for your kidney.
1/2 cup serving (5 medium) fresh strawberries = 1 mg sodium, 120 mg potassium, 13 mg phosphorus
Strawberries are powerful antioxidants that protect the body’s cell structures and prevent oxidative damage. They are rich in two types of phenols, anthocyanins and ellagitannins. Anthocyananins give strawberries their red color and help with cell growth.
Strawberries are rich in vitamin C and manganese and contain fiber. They promote heart health, are anti-cancerous and anti-inflammatory.
There are many ways to eat strawberries and enjoy their good taste and benefits. You can eat them with cereals, make smoothies or add to salads or even use them for topping. You can also make strawberry pudding or sorbet and even puree them and use them for desserts.
1/2 cup serving fresh sweet cherries = 0 mg sodium, 160 mg potassium, 15 mg phosphorus
When eaten daily, cherries can reduce inflammation. They are full of antioxidants and phytochemicals that protect the heart.
Eating fresh cherries as a snack or making a cherry sauce to serve with lamb, pork, or turkey is a great way to add this delicious fruit to your foods. Drinking cherry juice is equally beneficial for the kidneys.
12. Red Grapes
1/2 cup serving red grapes = 1 mg sodium, 88 mg potassium, 4 mg phosphorus
Red grapes contain several flavonoids that give them their reddish color. These flavonoids protect the heart from various diseases by preventing oxidation and reducing the formation of blood clots. Resveratrol, a flavonoid found in grapes, has been found to stimulate the production of nitric oxide, which helps to relax muscle cells in the blood vessels that increases blood flow. These flavonoids also reduce the risk of cancer and keep inflammation at bay.
It is best to buy grapes with red or purple skin as they contain the highest levels of anthocyanin. They can be frozen to eat as a snack, or they can be used in juice form by people on a fluid-restricted diet for dialysis. Adding grapes to a fruit salad or chicken salad enhances their goodness and flavors. Grape juice is a popular drink in many parts of the world.
13. Egg whites
2 egg whites = 7 grams protein, 110 mg sodium, 108 mg potassium, 10 mg phosphorus
Egg whites are the best source of protein and provide the highest quality protein with all the essential amino acids. For people with kidney problems, egg whites offer protein with less phosphorus than other protein sources, such as egg yolk or meats.
You can buy powdered, fresh, and pasteurized egg whites as you like. They can be made into omelet or egg white sandwiches. Pasteurized egg whites can also be added to smoothies or shakes or made into deviled egg snacks. Whites of hard-boiled eggs can be added to tuna salad or green salads for additional protein.
3 ounces wild salmon = 50 mg sodium, 368 mg potassium, 274 mg phosphorus
Fish is a good source of protein and contains anti-inflammatory fats called omega-3. The healthy fats in fish can help fight heart disease and reduce the risk of cancer. Omega-3 also lowers the low-density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol which is the bad cholesterol and raises high-density lipoprotein or HDL, which is good quality cholesterol.
Healthcare experts recommend eating fish at least twice a week. Albacore tuna, herring, mackerel, rainbow trout, and salmon contain the highest levels of omega-3.
15. Olive Oil
1 tablespoon olive oil = less than 1 mg sodium, less than 1 mg potassium, 0 mg phosphorus
Olive oil is a good source of oleic acid, an inflammatory fatty acid. The monounsaturated fat in olive oil protects against oxidation. Olive oil is rich in polyphenols and antioxidant compounds that prevent inflammation and oxidation.
Research shows that the population that uses olive oil, as compared to other oils, has lower rates of heart disease and cancer. Virgin or extra virgin olive oil is higher in antioxidants and offers better health benefits. Olive oil can be used in salad dressing, cooking, and dipping bread, and marinating vegetables.
Consult your renal dietitian on how you can incorporate these top 15 foods in your diet for optimally performing kidneys. These foods are not only good for kidneys or people with renal problems, but they are healthy for every member of the family, including kids. Stocking your kitchen with these delicious and kidney-friendly foods is the first step towards a healthy and happy life.
If you suffer from kidney disease, eating well can play a significant role in managing disease and avoiding the overuse of medication that can lead to side effects. The top nephrologists at Century Medical and Dental Center understand your need to watch what you eat and recommend the best kidney foods and nutrient intake to strengthen your kidneys and support their normal functioning. The nephrology doctors NY work with you every step of the way to figure out the causes behind your renal condition. They come up with a kidney-friendly diet, specific to the individual needs that help you stay fit and manage your life successfully.