The kidneys filter waste from the blood and maintain the right balance of fluid in the body. They also play an important role in regulating blood pressure. In general, people with impaired kidney function are advised to eat a diet that supports healthy blood pressure and good blood sugar control. This means avoiding foods high in salt, sugar and trans fats. It may also be important to avoid excessive protein consumption and foods high in potassium and phosphorus. Specific dietary restrictions should be discussed with your nephrologist since individual requirements vary.
If you have any kidney problem or at high risk of developing renal dysfunction, there are lists of foods that you need to avoid or at least limit to reduce kidney’s burden and protect residual kidney functions.
There is a list of foods that kidney disease patients should avoid.
Generally, fresh vegetables and fruits are good for kidney disease patients because most vegetables and fruits are low-protein, high-vitamin and high-fibre. However if patients have hyperkalaemia, they need to limit those that are high in potassium or it will cause arrhythmia or even heart failure and threaten their life.
High-potassium vegetables: tomato, potato, beets, spinach, avocados, etc.
High-potassium fruits: banana, orange, kiwi, nectarines, prunes and dried fruits, etc.
Kidney problems usually will cause excessive building up of phosphorus in the blood and this is very dangerous for the bones and will easily cause osteoporosis and bone fracture. Therefore high-phosphorus foods should be avoided or at least limited.
High-phosphorus foods: chocolate, nuts, carbonated drinks and dairies like milk, soy cheese, soy yogurt, hard cheese, etc.
Fast foods, restaurant foods, canned foods and highly processed foods should all be avoided if you have any kidney disease or kidney problems because these foods are usually high in sodium which can worsen edema and high blood pressure.
Besides these diet restrictions, there are a lot of beneficial foods for nourishing and protecting the kidneys for both healthy people and kidney disease patients.
Low-potassium fruits and vegetables: apple, berry, plum, grapes, watermelon, lettuce, cucumber, onion, garlic, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, etc. Low-phosphorus foods: Sherbet, lemon-lime soda, pasta rice, popcorn, green beans, etc.
Other beneficial foods for kidney problems include fish oil, egg white, cranberry juice, etc.
When your kidneys are not functioning normally, your blood might become too acidic or your potassium levels might rise to abnormal levels - which can be influenced by your diet. Symptoms of these chemical imbalances include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, numbness, tingling, skipped heartbeats, dizziness when standing and weakness. Contact your nephrologist right away if you experience any of these symptoms.