RenalTracker Team
September 15, 2022

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post. It has been written and vetted by RenalTracker's team of kidney experts and researchers. The same team was awarded the KidneyX Prize organized by the American Society of Nephrology and HHS for pre-dialysis solution in Washington DC in 2019.   

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Have you ever made a checklist for any occasion that will help you remember all of the things you need to buy, or to bring, or to oversee tasks to ensure that nothing important is forgotten?

Jill, one of our newly diagnosed CKD patients, told us a story of when she used to go on family trips all the time when she was young. However, there was one story she couldn’t forget and it was a weekend at Lake Tahoe.

The night before the trip, she made a checklist. The checklist consisted of basic necessities, clothes, first-aid kit, and more personal things. When she started packing, she made sure that she’d cross out the things that were already prepared. And within 30 minutes, she was done.

The next day, their family woke up at 5AM just so they would arrive at Lake Tahoe earlier than expected. But that got her thinking...

“Have I got everything I need inside my bag?

It’s common to ask ourselves that question even with the checklist on hand. That being said, we start to overthink and feel unsure of ourselves if you have really prepared everything.

Same goes for my patients who approached me about their kidney diet.

Jill was in such an emotional turmoil when she found out that she was diagnosed with CKD and did not know exactly what to do from there. Fortunately with all the time she spent looking for answers online, she found one of our RenalTracker Blogs about kidney disease diet. 

From there, we communicated back and forth via email, until we eventually hopped on a call, wherein we discussed her problems or concerns with her kidney condition and her goals to improve her kidney condition to avoid dialysis.

I was able to tell her the truth that kidney dieting can be difficult but not impossible, and even showed her the steps on how to reach her goals from there…all she needed to do was to be active towards the changes in her lifestyle and remain consistent with changes.

But even after I inform my patients about kidney dieting, their first question is always, “So, what am I supposed to eat?”

When starting a kidney disease diet, you have to know that most of the foods, recipes, or ingredients that you’re currently using will only put your kidneys at more risk.

So, let me ask you this…

Are You Eating The Right Foods For Your Kidney Condition?

Now, if you know the answer to this question, then good! But if you don’t, then that’s why I’m here.

I am here to enlighten you with the right information that will steer you towards a better and healthier lifestyle for you and for your kidneys.

So, I suggest you take down notes because these are all very important.

15 Foods to Eat If You Have Kidney Disease

Before I reveal to you this list, I shall first explain oxidation in the body.

Oxidation is a process for energy production and other chemical reactions in the body, but excessive oxidation of cholesterol and fats creates molecules also known as free radicals. These free radicals can damage proteins, cell membranes, and genes. CKD is actually linked to oxidative damage.

BUT of course this is where antioxidants come into the picture, they help neutralize those free radicals and protect the body.

Let’s say the energy production is like a car engine. 

If you drive too fast, it will probably overheat. The overheating of the engine is the free radicals. Now, when it does happen, you start driving recklessly and crash into something. Which then damages your car. The only thing that protects you from any injury is the air bag that comes out of the driver’s wheel. The airbag represents the antioxidants.

Some foods actually contain antioxidants which is why kidney patients are recommended to get those in order to be protected against oxidation. Also, it can help them make excellent choices when eating healthy.

So, without further ado, here it is!

1. Red Bell Peppers

red bell peppers kidney disease

Red bell peppers are good for kidney disease patients because with the antioxidants, it can protect you against various cancers.

Better eat them raw as a snack or appetizer. If you want, you can mix them with tuna or chicken salad.

2. Cabbage

cabbage and ckd

Cabbage is packed with phytochemicals, they’re chemical compounds that fights free radicals before they can do the damage. These chemicals also protect you against cancer and nurture cardiovascular health.

You can slice thin layers of cabbage and make it into coleslaw; it makes a great addition to your diet.

3. Cauliflower

cauliflower and kidney disease

Cauliflower is high in Vitamin C and is packed with compounds that help the liver counteract toxic substances that could possibly damage the cell membranes and DNA.

If you eat mashed potatoes with your meals, you can replace it with cauliflower. It’s healthier that way!

4. Garlic

garlic and ckd

This helps avoid plaques from ever forming on your teeth. It can also lower your cholesterol and reduce the chances of inflammation.

You have to make sure that when you buy garlic, it has to be fresh, minced, powdered or bottled. Afterwards, you can add it to dishes like vegetables or even pasta.

5. Onions

onion for ckd patients

They carry a powerful antioxidant that works hard to reduce heart diseases and again, fights against cancer.

If you like sandwiches or salads, you can add raw onions. Another thing you can do is to fry them into onion rings.

6. Apples

apple good for kidney disease

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away”

Indeed. An apple carries a lot of functions like reducing your cholesterol, prevents constipation, protects you against heart disease and reduces the risk of cancer.

7. Cranberries

cranberries kidney disease

They’re known to fight against bladder infections, protect the stomach from any ulcer-causing bacteria, and protect the lining of the gastrointestinal tract (GI). The gastrointestinal tract (GI) is actually responsible for the transporting and digesting of food, absorbing nutrients, and ejecting wastes from the body. So, with cranberries, you can bet your bottom dollar that it can promote GI health better.

If you like dried cranberries, you can definitely add them in salad or have them as a snack.

8. Blueberries

blueberry for kidney disease

They’re a good source of Vitamin C and contain manganese that can keep your bones healthy. It also protects the brain from some of the effects when you age.

You have to buy the blueberries fresh, dried, or even frozen. But you could always drink blueberry juice.

9. Raspberries

raspberries and kidney disease

Raspberries can help neutralize the free radicals in order to prevent cell damage in the body.

10. Strawberries

strawberries and kidney disease

Strawberries can provide heart protection and are anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory components. Furthermore, they protect body cells which can prevent oxidative damage to the body.

If you’re like most people who love strawberries, you can add them in smoothies and salads.

11. Cherries

cherries and kidney disease

If you eat cherries daily, it can reduce inflammation and can protect the heart.

12. Red grapes

red grapes kidney disease

Red grapes contain flavonoids. These flavonoids help protect against heart diseases because it prevents the oxidation from going overboard and it reduces the formation of blood clots in the body.

13. Egg Whites

egg whites kidney disease

They provide the highest quality of protein that you will ever need. For your kidney diet, it gives you less phosphorus than other protein sources like meat or egg yolks.

14. Fish

fish for ckd patients

Just like egg whites, fish also provides high quality protein that carries anti-inflammatory fast called Omega 3s. The fats that fish have are in fact healthy and can prevent cancer and heart diseases. 

The American Heart Association and American Diabetes Association recommended that a person should eat fish at least two times in a week so that you can achieve good cholesterol from the Omega 3s.

15. Olive Oil

olive oil and ckd

According to a study that was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, "Consuming more than 7 grams (>1/2 tablespoon) of olive oil per day is associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease mortality, cancer mortality, neurodegenerative disease mortality and respiratory disease mortality."

Now, what they all have in common is that most of them combat heart diseases and cancer.

When you want to eat any of these, it’s better to eat them raw and put them in salad. You have to make sure that you can only take a ½ serving of each because it has less sodium, potassium, and phosphorus. 

Now, if you’re still uncomfortable starting this all by yourself, you can consult your dietitian on how to integrate this list into your kidney diet. If you stock up your fridge and start eating healthy, this is one big step to helping you achieve a healthier kidney diet.

Here’s your next step: 

If you want to know more about kidney dieting and how to integrate it, you can click here to get started.