Healing Foods for Chronic Kidney Disease

Maintaining a well-balanced diet of fresh whole foods is important for everybody, but when suffering with chronic conditions like kidney disease, it can become necessary. Kidney disease develops when the kidneys have been attacked, which often effects the filtering units of the kidneys. Attacks on the kidneys can result in damage which can reduce their ability to eliminate waste and excess fluids. With chronic kidney disease the kidneys are damaged and there is a decreased level of function for periods of time which can range from months to years.

Kidney disease is thought to occur when another disease or condition has impaired its functions and damaged the kidneys. Disease and conditions that are thought to cause chronic kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic inflammation, kidney infection or a kidney obstruction. Symptoms can range from mild to severe depending on the development and severity of the disease.

With chronic kidney disease, diets are designed to keep electrolytes, fluids and minerals balanced. The goal of the diet is to keep waste and fluid from building up in the blood, so the kidneys do not have to work so hard removing the extra waste themselves. This diet may also help prevent and maintain other health problems like high blood pressure and diabetes. Consequently, easing other health problems also helps to ease kidney disease.

Eating the right amount of protein, carbohydrates, sodium, phosphorus, calcium and potassium will be less taxing on the kidneys, easing conditions of the disease. Reducing sodium intake can also help reduce fluid buildup, swelling and higher blood pressure.

Protein is needed to build muscle, repair tissue and fight infection; yet too much protein can cause waste to build up in the blood. Eating the right amount of protein for your body weight and condition, as well choosing a healthy source of protein is essential. Healthy protein sources include lean white meats like chicken, turkey or rabbit, wild Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout, sardines, clams, crab, scallops, eggs, tofu, yogurt, raw spinach, green peas, legumes like beans and lentils, oats, nuts and seeds.

Carbohydrates are a good source of energy if they are being acquired from healthy sources. Bad carbs include sugary and highly refined processed foods like sugary drinks, fruit juices, white breads and pastas, pastries, cakes, ice cream, candy, French fries and potato chips. With low-protein diets, healthy carbohydrates can be used to replace calories. Healthy carbohydrate sources include all whole fruits and vegetables, legumes, potatoes, nuts and seeds, whole-grain breads and pastas, brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, steel-cut oats or rolled oats and bran.

Phosphorus can build up in the blood as kidney function lowers, which pulls calcium from the bones causing them to become weaker; therefore limiting phosphorus may be needed. Foods that are good sources in calcium are often also high in phosphorus, so limiting these foods is also required. If these foods are being reduced in your diet, taking a coral calcium supplement may be recommended. Non- dairy food sources for calcium that are also low in phosphorus include steamed spinach, kale, arugula, amaranth, figs, rhubarb, oranges, broccoli, sweet potatoes and whey protein.

The right amount of potassium helps muscle and heart function, but too much or too little can cause the body great stress, thus regulating potassium in your diet is important. Good sources of potassium include legumes, dark leafy greens, spinach, sweet potatoes, white potatoes with skin, acorn squash, plain yogurt, tomatoes, avocados, papaya, mango, cantaloupe, bananas, prunes, dried apricots, artichoke, bok choy, beets and brussels sprouts.

With advanced kidney disease, iron levels can be depleted risking anemia, thus taking iron supplements or adding foods to your diet high in Iron may be recommended. Iron levels can be checked through a blood test requested by a doctor. Foods high in iron include squash and pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, apricots, oysters, mussels, clams, nuts, beans and lentils, whole grains, bran, oatmeal, green peas, potatoes with skin, swiss chard, parsley, spinach, kale and dark leafy greens.

Developing strict diet plans is highly recommended by the Kidney Foundation of Canada. Adhering strictly to a well-balanced diet can treat hypertension, heart disease and kidney disease by slowing the progression of the diseases. Meal plans for kidney disease often strictly calculate an individual’s calorie, protein, mineral and fibre intake. A nutritionist or natural-path can help develop such a meal plan best suited for your needs.

Written by: J. Marshall

Try my Spinach Frittata recipe! Spinach and eggs are excellent healing foods for kidney disease.

Try my Honey Garlic Chicken recipe! Lean white meat is an excellent healing source for kidney disease.


•    The Kidney Foundation of Canada / What is Kidney Disease?: https://www.kidney.ca/kidney-disease
•    Mayo Clinic / Chronic Kidney Disease: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chronic-kidney-disease/symptoms-causes/dxc-20207466
•    wikipedia / Chronic Kidney Disease: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronic_kidney_disease
•    National Kidney Foundation: https://www.kidney.org/kidneydisease
•    National Kidney Foundation / About Chronic Kidney Disease: https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/about-chronic-kidney-disease
•    Ontario Renal Network / Kidney Disease: http://www.renalnetwork.on.ca/info_for_patients/kidney_disease/#.WO-TLI5Jm9Y
•    American Kidney Fund / Kidney-Friendly diet for CKD: http://www.kidneyfund.org/kidney-disease/chronic-kidney-disease-ckd/kidney-friendly-diet-for-ckd.html
•    MedilinePlus: Trusted Health Information for You / Diet – chronic kidney disease: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002442.htm
•    Mayo Clinic / Low-Phosphorus Diet: Best for Kidney Disease?: http://www.mayoclinic.org/food-and-nutrition/expert-answers/faq-20058408
•    Eat Right: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics / Kidney Disease and Diet: http://www.eatright.org/resource/health/diseases-and-conditions/kidney-disease/kidney-disease-and-diet
•    Kidney.Org / Iron and Chronic Kidney Disease: https://www.kidney.org/sites/default/files/docs/11-10-0284_patbro_irondeficiency.pdf

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