Best Foods for People with Kidney Disease

Dietary restrictions tend to vary based on the level of kidney damage. For instance, the ones at the early stage of kidney disease have separate dietary restrictions compared to those with end-stage renal disease or kidney failure. However, people with kidney diseases generally need to limit the intake of sodium, phosphorus, and potassium. With that in mind, here are the best foods for people with kidney disease. 


Cauliflower is one of the nutritious vegetables that is a good source of B vitamin folate, vitamin K, and vitamin C. Also, it is full of anti-inflammatory compounds that are excellent sources of fiber. Additionally, mashed cauliflower can be used instead of potatoes for low potassium dishes. 

A cup (i.e., 124 grams) of cooked cauliflower has: 

  • sodium: 19 mg 
  • phosphorus: 40 mg 
  • potassium: 176 mg 


Blueberries are great for a hemodialysis diet because they are good sources of antioxidants. They have an antioxidant known as anthocyanins that might protect against certain cancers, heart disease, diabetes, and cognitive decline. Since blueberries are low in potassium, phosphorus, and sodium, they are a great addition to the diet. 

A cup (i.e., 148 grams) of fresh blueberries has: 

  • sodium: 1.5 mg 
  • phosphorus: 18 mg 
  • potassium: 114 mg 

Sea bass 

Sea bass is a high-quality protein having healthy Omega-3 fats.Omega-3s reduce inflammation and help in reducing the risk of anxiety, depression, and cognitive decline. Though fishes are high in phosphorus content, it’s in lower amounts in sea bass than other fishes. But it is still necessary to have sea bass in smaller portions to manage your daily phosphorus intake for a hemodialysis diet

Three ounces (i.e., 85 grams) of cooked sea bass has: 

  • sodium: 74 mg 
  • phosphorus: 211 mg 
  • potassium: 279 mg 

Red grapes 

As a part of a hemodialysis diet, red grapes are delicious and deliver loads of nutrition in that small package. They have high vitamin C content and antioxidants known as flavonoids that can reduce inflammation. In addition to that, red grapes have high resveratrol, a flavonoid that benefits the heart and protects against cognitive and diabetes. 

Half a cup (i.e., 75 grams) of red grapes have: 

  • sodium: 1.5 mg 
  • phosphorus: 15 mg 
  • potassium: 144 mg 

Egg whites 

Though egg yolks are highly nutritious, they have a high amount of phosphorus, making them a good choice for those following a kidney-friendly diet. Egg whites are a high-quality protein source. In addition to that, they are a great choice for people going through dialysis, i.e., the ones with a higher protein need but lower phosphorus need. 

Two large egg whites (i.e., 66 grams) have: 

  • sodium: 110 mg 
  • phosphorus: 10 mg 
  • potassium: 108 mg 


People with kidney problems need to limit the sodium content in the diet, including the salt addition. Garlic can be a good alternative to salt. It adds flavor to the dishes and offers nutritional benefits. Garlic is a great source of sulfur compounds that reduce inflammation, and it also has vitamin B6, vitamin C, and manganese. 

Three cloves (i.e., 9 grams) of garlic have: 

  • sodium: 1.5 mg 
  • phosphorus: 14 mg 
  • potassium: 36 mg 


Most whole grains are high in phosphorus, though buckwheat is an exception. Buckwheat is nutritious, providing an ample amount of vitamin B, fiber, iron, and magnesium. Moreover, it is a gluten-free grain, which means even people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease can have buckwheat. 

Half a cup (i.e., 84 grams) of cooked buckwheat has: 

  • sodium: 3.5 mg 
  • phosphorus: 59 mg 
  • potassium: 74 mg 

Olive oil 

Olive oil is phosphorous-free and a healthy source of fat, a good option for those with kidney diseases. In most cases, advanced kidney diseases make it difficult for people to maintain body weight. Thus, high-calorie, healthy food like olive oil is crucial. It mainly has mono-saturated fat known as oleic acid with anti-inflammatory qualities. Mono-saturated fats tend to be stable at higher temperatures, which make olive oil a good choice for cooking. 

One tablespoon (i.e., 13.5 grams) of olive oil has: 

  • sodium: 0.3 mg 
  • phosphorus: 0 mg 
  • potassium: 0.1 mg 


Bulgur happens to be a whole grain wheat product that is a great kidney-friendly alternative to the other whole grains that are rich in potassium and phosphorus. The nutrition-rich grain is a good source of manganese, iron, magnesium, and B vitamins. It is an amazing source of plant-based protein full of dietary fiber that helps boost digestive health

A half-cup (i.e., 91 grams) serving of bulgur has: 

  • sodium: 4.5 mg 
  • phosphorus: 36 mg 
  • potassium: 62 mg 

The endnote 

It is important to talk to your doctor regarding dietary restrictions based on your present condition. Consider the facts shared here as a general guideline.

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